Iranian Christians help religious minorities in Türkiye

By February 27, 2023

Türkiye (MNN) — As the world watches Russia and Ukraine, needs mount in Türkiye and Syria. The combined death toll rose above 47,000 this weekend, and last week’s 6.4-magnitude earthquake demolished many remaining health facilities in southern Türkiye, leaving injured victims without care.

Facing an upcoming election, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan promises to rebuild homes within a year. That won’t help earthquake survivors who need shelter today, Heart4Iran’s Amir says.

The “Turkish government gave [earthquake survivors] one month of free [rooms at] hotels, but after one month, they have nothing. They have to sleep in the street,” he explains.

Heart4Iran rose to the challenge by partnering with an international relief organization based in the United States. Teams flew to Turkey and provided basic resources, medical care, and trauma counseling to earthquake victims.

They also reached out to religious minority communities overlooked by government agencies, providing critical supplies like blankets, tents, food, and clean water.

One Shia Muslim man said government rescue teams came through his community hours after the first earthquake. “I begged [the team], ‘Please! I can hear my daughter, son[-in-law], and my grandchild [under the rubble].’ And they (the rescue team) said, ‘no, we cannot help you,’” the man told Amir.

“They wanted to reach the Sunni people [instead of the Shiite community].”

Five days later, a non-government organization or NGO helped the man remove the rubble where his family members were trapped. Rescuers found the man’s daughter and son-in-law holding hands.

“The doctor said, ‘I’m so sorry, they were alive until today; they died just a few hours ago,’” Amir says. The baby died a few days before the team’s arrival.

(Photos courtesy of Heart4Iran)

The Shia Muslim man broke down after Amir greeted him and asked a simple question. “I asked, ‘How are you feeling?’ and he started to [sob],” Amir says.

Several teams had passed through after the man lost his family members, but “nobody asked me in last few days how I am,” he told Amir.

Pray the Turkish government will get the necessary resources to help earthquake victims. Pray that, through this crisis, hearts will become closer to God.

Pray also for endurance as believers offer the comfort of Christ to earthquake survivors. Believers gain Gospel opportunities as they display Christ’s love. “We give them Bibles, but we [also] need to show the love of Christ; they need to see Christ in us,” Amir says.

Help Heart4Iran launch a second Virtual Church service for people throughout Afghanistan, Iran, and Turkey.

“I appreciate my brother, sister in Christ helping Heart for Iran [support] our wonderful people in Turkey,” Amir says.



Header and story images courtesy of Heart4Iran.

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