My heart is broken to see the destruction and devastation after the recent earthquake in Turkey and Syria. The loss of life, homes, and communities has left countless people in need of help and support. As the body of Christ, the Church has a unique opportunity to come together and offer hope and comfort to those who are suffering. I want to explore how the Church can unite to provide a comprehensive response to this crisis, addressing the immediate, mid-term, and long-term needs of the affected communities.
Immediate Response: Boots on the Ground
The first and most obvious priority in the aftermath of a natural disaster is to provide immediate relief to those in physical need. In this situation, a strong emphasis should be placed on the local church and organizations that are on the ground and able to respond quickly to the emergency needs of its people. We at OneHope have partnerships with many of these organizations, as well as our own OneHope teams in neighboring countries, that are in critical need of cash donations during this crisis, as cash allows them to purchase the supplies and resources that are needed right away. Right now, the Church should aim to raise as much as possible to support these organizations and help them provide immediate relief to those who are hurting. If you’d like to support those in Turkey and Syria by donating, you can do so here.
Mid-Term Response: Monitoring the Response
As the immediate crisis begins to subside in the next few months, it’s important to continually monitor the response of NGOs and government agencies to ensure that aid is being distributed effectively. The Church is marginalized in Turkey and Syria, so it’s critical to provide direct support to church leaders and local, vetted, and trusted ministry leaders in these regions. This will allow us to have real-time knowledge and insights into the real needs of the affected communities and to respond in a holistic way that addresses the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the Church and those they serve.
Long-Term Response: Ensure Funding for Rebuilding
Throughout all these steps, funding must be reserved in order for the Church to support the long-term needs of the impacted regions. In many cases, government and international aid agencies will have gone, but the Church will continue to be on the front lines, serving and ministering in the affected communities. We need to help the Church in Turkey and Syria rebuild its infrastructure, physical churches, and other vital components of its ministry. It’s critical that we consider funding to support their ongoing efforts and ensure that their ministry is not hindered by the aftermath of the disaster.
There are also many opportunities found in the fact that we live in a digital age. Now that we can reach those in Turkey and Syria straight through their phones, the Church can use social media, videos, podcasts, and other digital programs to bring hope and encouragement to those who are struggling in the aftermath of the earthquake. By sharing stories of resilience and the hope found in God’s Word, we can help them see the light of Christ shining in the midst of their darkest hour.
Throughout the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, one of our digital programs was a lifesaver for Bogdan, a Ukrainian teenager who could see no hope for the future and was struggling with suicidal thoughts. He had been online, looking for answers to his deepest questions at this tumultuous time—and he found a connection, not just to God’s Word, but also to local believers. Through this digital program, he is now following Jesus as His Savior, growing in God, and now has hope for the future even through the hardships Ukraine is facing. My belief is that we can do the same thing for those in Turkey and Syria, and we shouldn’t waste the opportunity to do so.
We may not always understand why natural disasters happen, but we can trust that God is always with us and is always working for our good. As His Church, we can come together to offer a comprehensive response that addresses the immediate, mid-term, and long-term needs of the affected communities. We can show the love of Christ to those who are suffering and bring hope to a world that is often darkened by tragedy and pain. Please continue joining me in prayer for the affected communities, and let’s do all we can to support them as they recover and rebuild their lives.
If you’d like to join us in supporting those affected by the earthquake, you can give here.