Massive need: Tiny Turkish church responds to earthquake

Massive need: Tiny Turkish church responds to earthquake
Source: Shutterstock
Daphne Swanson
05 April, 2023 5 min read

Just after 4:00 a.m. on 6 February, as over 84 million people slept in their beds, the very earth heaved as in the pangs of childbirth (Romans 8:20), causing devastation and terror not seen in Turkey for over a century. A 90-second earthquake affected an area the size of England and has changed modern Turkey forever.

In Antakya (ancient Antioch), Elmas, a pastor’s wife, reached out via social media at 5:57 a.m.: ‘Please pray. Buildings are destroyed, screams are resounding, it is raining.’ Such was the destruction of her city that it was being said, ‘Antakya is no more’ – a city of 200,000 residents plus many refugees reduced to rubble.


250 miles east, in Diyarbakir (a city of nearly 2 million), the damage was not as great, but the terrified population sought refuge from fear and the cold. Some, Muslim and Christian alike, headed for the Protestant church building still standing strong.

A generator provided light as all the utilities had failed, and the church leaders provided food for their many traumatised visitors. As roads opened, some of the believers found homes in nearby villages, leaving in order to make room for the fifty or so who remained there longer-term to receive practical Christian love.

The church leaders, realising that the situation in Antakya was so much worse than theirs, made the dangerous journey over badly damaged roads to support the church family there, as they too endeavour to care for those around them.

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