Sometimes, caffeine can make it difficult to sit still. Other times, it’s just too hard to keep quiet about Jesus.
Pastor Enver and rotating teams of volunteers from his church have been driving 700 miles each way a few times each month to bring relief to survivors of February’s devastating earthquakes in Türkiye. They deliver food and drinking water, clothing and hygiene items, coordinate social programs, and pray with people. In the southern city of Iskenderun, the church’s crews are replacing the emergency tent shelters with hard-frame construction of tiny homes. Rubble of collapsed buildings still line all roads except primary highways, and local authorities believe it will take several more months to clear the debris before they can even begin the years-long task of rebuilding the city. Pastor Enver’s teams have been given permission to build the tiny homes, complete with AC units, a two-burner stove, and a small refrigerator, on the level fields of the city’s fairgrounds.
It’s not just homes that are being constructed; lives are being rebuilt.
Over the months, women from Enver’s church have made significant relationships with the women living at the fairgrounds. “Recently, as our women walked around the fairgrounds, Elnara invited them into her new quarters to drink Turkish coffee with her,” he recalls. Like 97% of the population in Türkiye, Elnara was raised in a Muslim family. Widowed now, with her three adult children all living in other cities, she highly values her new friendships with these women, even though they are Christian. Enver says he and his teams have had many opportunities to share the gospel with Elnara and other survivors.
Gladly sipping the thick brew with Elnara, Gülşen and the other Christian women find an opening to speak about Jesus again. “I’ve been very impressed by what you have told me,” Elnara said, “It’s very different from what I knew about Jesus before.” She invited the Christians to return the next day for some more coffee and to tell her more about Jesus. When they met again, Elnara told them, “I want to repent. Will Jesus save me too?” Gülşen enthusiastically replied, “Of course!” and the women prayed together as Elnara confessed her dependence on Jesus Christ. Elnara was excited, but also nervous. “Please don’t tell anyone for now,” she said. “I’m afraid of what it will mean to be known as a Christian in Türkiye.” Her new sisters in the faith gently assured her, “Whenever you feel ready.”
Just three minutes later, another earthquake survivor greeted the cluster of women. Elnara shouted back in greeting, “I’ve become a Christian! Jesus is my savior!” Elnara and all the women started laughing together. Sometimes, it’s just too hard to keep quiet about Jesus. To keep stories like this coming and support our partners in bringing Christ to these areas, click HERE.