Four Testimonies of How You Are Still Helping Survivors of the Turkey-Syria Earthquakes

By Send Relief Staff

We are so grateful that your generosity has not disappeared with the dwindling news coverage of families who survived the series of devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria earlier this year.

Your gifts continue to transform lives in the name of a loving God! Here are four recent testimonies from the field:

Soup Kitchen Disaster Averted

In one region heavily impacted by the earthquakes, only 0.01% of the population believe the gospel.

As we partnered with a local church to host a thriving soup kitchen, the pastor made his way through the queues to extend condolences and offer prayer to those struggling with overwhelming grief.

This soup kitchen depends on clean water to prepare the food, but several weeks in, the water source became so muddied that it clogged the plumbing. Without potable water, operations ground to a sudden halt, and the pastor began to worry about those he had promised hot meals to.

That’s when our Send Relief partners swung into action.

After cleaning out and replacing the filters, our team got to work assisting church volunteers in serving the now-desperate families. While maintenance of a filtration system is just one small part of a larger relief plan, seeing the local church become a welcome place of compassion, love and mercy is no small feat in a region so unfamiliar with Jesus and His followers.

Thank you for helping our small hands of love create big results!

Never Thirst Again

In one village on the outskirts of a Turkish city, water sources had quickly become too dirty to use for anything but flushing toilets. Cooking and cleaning were out of the question, so the risk for disease and contamination grew rapidly.

After a Send Relief team installed a new water filtration system in an elementary school’s parking lot, the entire village formed a line to get water back into their homes.

Some well-respected village leaders even came to help and learned how to do maintenance repairs and re-installations so that the next time a source breaks down, they’re well-equipped to fix it themselves.

They hugged our team in gratitude and before our partners left, a young villager invited them to her family’s home for tea.

Her house had incurred severe damage from the earthquake and had no working oven, so the group sat in the front yard under grape vines and waited as a neighbor made them cake—a sign of Turkish hospitality and welcome.

When her family heard the prayers our team had spoken over them—prayers for safety, provision and safe drinking water—they began to cry. Her parents told them, “We have prayed about water for so long and God sent you.”

Before that day, this village had never known the joy of the gospel. In meeting an urgent physical need, we were able to open the door to the spiritual.

The Water Commissioner

After days of problem-solving more efficient ways to distribute water in the makeshift tent cities of Turkey and Syria, Send Relief partners could schedule an appointment with the local government’s water commissioner.

Because of the success of this meeting, our team received permission to travel to nearby villages and remote cities with no previous access to the gospel and to partner with the Turkish counterpart of the Red Cross!

The encounters with local villagers that followed were fruitful and planted seeds of hope that these communities desperately needed.

One team leader shared, “We were able to represent the loving, kind and compassionate Jesus that they do not know, and this has opened doors for us in a way that we trust God will continue to show Himself through once we leave.”

Encouragement Across the Ages in Antioch

In Antioch, our teams had a Sabbath in which they’d planned to view ancient churches in the historic section of the city.

As they ventured toward their destination, a traffic jam began to form as debris removal vehicles entered the roadway—over 340 dump trucks full of earthquake rubble shaking their surroundings as they overtook smaller cars.

Soon, they found themselves at a complete standstill.

Since no one was moving, the team read Acts 11:19-30 about the Antioch church and its significance. A volunteer read verse 29, “Each of the disciples, according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brothers and sisters who lived in Judea.”

A coordinator snapped to attention and asked, “Did that verse just say to send relief?” They reread the section.

“The Word came alive for us that day and a hush fell over the team,” the team leader shared. “The early church here sent relief as an act of obedience, and today, in that same geographical location, believers were still present and willing to do the same.”

Thank you for helping us equip and empower volunteers and local churches to be the hands and feet of Jesus in communities suffering from loss and devastation across the world. You are leaving a lasting legacy of love!

Published April 20, 2023

Send Relief Staff