Entering Suffering: Earthquake & Revival

By 03/20/2024April 2nd, 2024Stories

February 6, 2023

On February 6, 2023, at 4:19 am, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit southern Turkey and northern Syria, killing more than 50,000 people and destroying entire cities.

On February 6, 2023, at 12:30 am, Erkin, an All Nations missionary, was praying and meditating on Jesus in the quiet of his living room in Istanbul. He suddenly sensed God speaking, saying, “I’m going to shake this country.” He was surprised and started asking God questions about where and how. He felt God say, “I’m going to shake this country and it will bring a revival.”

Suffering of many

He had a hard time sleeping that night, but after he eventually woke, he looked at the news and read of the terrible earthquake that had killed so many and destroyed so much in the country. Tears and grief overwhelmed him. It was cold. People were homeless and had lost friends, family, and homes. Their suffering would be great. And so Erkin began praying and seeking how to go and help.

He went to the area with others in March, living in tents, distributing food, and bringing supplies. He saw firsthand that whole cities had been destroyed. Because the Turks in the area are Alewite Muslims, a minority, the majority Sunni government had not given much support. Many Syrian refugees also live in the earthquake zone.

Pushes to God

In May, Erkin and his wife moved to the area, living in a container. Today, in March 2024, over a year after the earthquake, the devastation remains. Many people still live in temporary shelters. And almost every week they have 2-3 aftershocks, sometimes 4.5-5 magnitude. Erkin says, “We get used to it. It also really pushes people to God.”

Shayan, a Syrian refugee, is one of those people. He lost over 35 relatives in the earthquake. His four-story house was destroyed. In that house, he lived on the 3rd floor; his parents on the 2nd floor, one brother on the 1st floor, and another brother’s family on the 4th floor. Most of his remaining extended family still live in tents.

Erkin met him and gave support and help. As part of his work, Erkin built a small house for five from his family. He also started talking to Shayan about Jesus and welcomed him into fellowship, and Shayan decided to follow Jesus with his whole life.

And it didn’t stop with him.

Multiplying faith

Soon his brother, cousins, sisters, and uncles all made the same choice. Erkin shared Jesus with and discipled Shayan in a way that Shayan could then go and share with his family – and then those family members can do the same thing.

There are now two churches that Erkin ignited in different cities in this region. Erkin says, “For many years people have been waiting and praying and working for the first believers in this region. We can now see the fruit. We see God’s faithfulness and grace.”

Accessible to All

Does the suffering continue? Yes. Thousands still live in tents. Many are on a waiting list for houses, but the work moves slowly.

And in the midst of this disaster, God has been made accessible. Erkin was willing to share in others’ suffering, and he knew how to love others and share Jesus in a way that could multiply.

Pray for Erkin and his wife. Pray for teammates who speak Arabic – they speak Turkish, but many of the locals speak Arabic in their homes. Pray for funding for their tiny homes. Pray for strength – the days are long. Pray for multiplication of faith. And pray for God’s words to come to pass – a revival in the country.

Give today! On-The-Road Training: Accessible to All

Would you give today to fund training for near-culture Christians like Erkin to make disciples and ignite movements to Jesus?

Erkin is from a country near to Turkey and has been trained in igniting church planting movements. By giving, you will equip more believers who are from cultures near to the ones they want to reach. These believers are often extremely effective church planters!

These believers are seeking out training to engage their neighbors with Jesus in a way that will lead to whole communities being transformed by His love, but often lack funds to get that training.

Your gift will be used to scholarship more people like Erkin to get trained in igniting church planting movements. It will also be used to assist church planters in accessing language and security training.

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