Christians help in earthquake ravaged Iran

By December 30, 2003

Iran (MNN) — 25,000 bodies have already been recovered. Even more are expected to be found. That’s the word from Christian relief and development groups who are already helping in earthquake ravaged Iran.

The quake struck the city of Bam in the southeastern part of the country. The quake registered 6.7 on the Richter scale. According to reports the quake and damaged 80-percent of the homes. 70-percent of the population is dead, missing, injured or displaced.

“(The quake) reminds me quite a bit of the one that happened a few years ago in Turkey,” says Andrew Ryskamp. He’s the Executive Director of the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee based in Grand Rapids, Mich. Ryskamp says, “There too (Turkey) a lot of the buildings were not earthquake proof” and destroyed.

CRWRC is raising money to help rebuild the city of 100,000. Ryskamp says food, health care, housing, etc is needed now. He says it’s not just limited to the city limits. He says, “A number of communities in the hill side have been affected. It gets quite cold there at night. It’s probably about 40-degrees at night so shelter is really needed.”

While evangelical churches are rare in Iran, the CRWRC is working with them to help. Ryskamp says, ” We’re familiar with the Middle East organizations that are into the house church network to really respond in a way that’s coming along side those communities to show them what Christian care really is. This is an opportunity to witness to them in a powerful way.”

This could be a great open door for sharing Christ in Iran. He says many people ask, “You’re here? Your so different from other people from the west. What is that? And, that’s an opportunity to begin a dialogue about what it means to be in Christ…that’s a real place for testimony to happen.”

The CRWRC needs your help. To donate, you can give on-line at CRWRC.org, or in the United States you can call 800-55-CRWRC.

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