Hello Great Family,
At the time I am writing this email there are over 22,000 fatalities in the deadly 7.8 magnitude earthquake that happened in Turkey - Syria on Monday, February 6th. That is more people than the capacity of a Pistons game at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.
I pray you are moved with compassion and concern. I pray these events will give you an even deeper sense of Gospel Urgency! People need to hear the life-giving message of Jesus in every part of the world. Blessed are the feet of those who have left everything and went to foreign lands to be bright and salty Christians! May God lead and encourage the sent ones to be effective!
According to the Gospel Coalition, search and rescue efforts are already well underway. Countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic are flying in immediate aid, along with many others. A truly international relief effort is mobilizing. But so is the local church. In a country with a relatively small number of evangelical believers, the church in Turkey will be very active in the days ahead, just as they’ve been after major earthquakes in 1999 and in 2011.
Here are some specific ways we can be praying for those affected by the massive earthquake, and especially for local believers as they share the love and truth of Christ in the critical days ahead.
Many have lost loved ones. Homes and possessions are destroyed. And the repeated aftershocks can have a profound psychological effect. But we believe God is with his people and can provide them with a peace beyond understanding.
Many local churches across the region will be mobilizing to help in various ways. When a major earthquake struck the eastern Turkish city of Van in 2011, churches rallied to provide hot meals and water, blankets and temporary shelters, as well as medical supplies and care.
How do you respond to a natural disaster of this magnitude? How do you counsel the hurting, mobilize volunteers, assemble resources, acquire funding, coordinate with partners, and prioritize needs? The task is daunting, and it requires leaders with calm heads and clear thoughts.
During a crisis like this, good communication and collaboration is critical, but it’s also extremely difficult. People are struggling with emotional and physical needs even as they try to care for others. Unfortunately, it can often lead to confusion and division.
In Muslim countries like Turkey and Syria, local believers and churches are often maligned and mistreated. When churches reach out in love during a disaster, it can lead people to see Christians as those who are compassionate, trustworthy, and truly good people.
During a time of such devastation—and even for years to come—trauma can open people’s hearts to the message of Christ. As horrible as such an event is, it provides believers with the opportunity to give an answer for the hope they have in Jesus.
Natural disasters remind all of us of our desperate need for God’s mercy. We pray this earthquake will lead many to turn to the Lord for salvation. And we pray that he might graciously turn this evil into good and rescue those who are perishing.
Pastor Ben will be preaching out of Romans chapter 10 this Sunday. Read the passage before church and come prepared to receive a blessing from God's Word. Also, please pray for the 350 teens I have the opportunity to speak to at Camp Barakel this weekend. Pray for souls to be saved and lives to be changed. It's going to be a "SUPER" weekend for more reasons than a football game!
P.D. (Psalm 139)