A first-hand report of the Turkish earthquake through the eyes of Christian relief workers
WARREN – I got a report from Turkey from a friend, a Romanian pastor with Turkish ethnicity. He went there with aid to the Christians and is leaving again in March with a few pastors. He brings tents and small propane tanks. Our church supported some of the expenses. My friend grew up as a Muslim, graduated Muslim High School in Romania, came to know Christ, became a Baptist pastor and founded 3 Turkish churches in Romanian. I think seeing the disaster through the lenses of Christian relief teams is important.
Here is his report as given through Google translate.
“Today, I stayed in Antakya, Antioch. The place where the Lord's disciples received the name Christians for the first time. In Antakya, the first Gentile church was established. This is where the first Christian missionaries who brought the gospel to Europe left from.
The city of Antakya now looks like it was hit by nuclear bombs. Nature took revenge on Antakya and overcame her. Antakya no longer exists as a city. It's almost completely destroyed!
I went to the Turkish evangelical church. There are a few rooms left of the church building, but the brothers there told us that they were asked by the authorities to leave that building because it is going to be demolished. It is shaky, and not safe.
In front of the Turkish church building in Antakya is installed a tent. In the tent live several dozen people who have lost their homes. An elderly woman asked us to pray for her. With tears in her eyes, she told us that five grandchildren and a daughter-in-law had died!
The Turkish pastor looked at me and told me that he did not know how or what to pray. I felt the same. We finally prayed, through the spirit that gave us the right words and shed some more tears in our already empty bellows.
Another 70-year-old man told us how he, his wife and their girl escaped from under the rubble after 21 hours. I asked his permission to take a picture of him because for me he is the symbol of God's miracles in Antioch of another time! My new friend says that behind us 17 people still lie under the rubble.
I could write a lot more about today and it is not even over. But I have no more words. My vocabulary is so poor in the face of this tragedy that I don't even know what else to say.
Tomorrow is Sunday. Pray for the brothers in Turkey, for those in Antakya in particular. Pray that God will bless this place and, “why not?”, make this place a source of blessing for Asia. HE can.
In addition, you can also give through your churches for the afflicted in Turkey. And tomorrow, thank God for Grace and for peace, and for water and bread, and for your loved ones, and for the roof of the house where you live. It's good for you. For the moment”.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Doru Radu is one of the elders at Golgotha Romanian Baptist Church in Warren, Michigan. Radu immigrated from the communist Romania and likes to write stories about the good hand of our Lord who protected us during the 45 years of communist persecution.