Turkey (MNN) — Over four million Syrian refugees have been driven from their country with little more than the clothes on their back. They live in tent cities with thousands of other refugees, and many of their basic needs remain unmet.
But they aren’t forgotten. International Needs (IN) is one organization that has come to the rescue of refugees in Turkey by providing immediate relief items.
“We are interfacing with the evangelical churches in Turkey and with some of the other Orthodox Protestant churches in the country…who are relating to many of the refugees out of Syria,” says IN’s Rody Rodeheaver says.
“But we’re providing things like foodstuffs [and] mattresses because these people are relegated to tent cities and they have nothing but the hard ground. We’re also working with these churches in supplying some small refrigeration units because now they’re in the middle of the summer and they can’t keep food. It spoils–creates food poisoning.”
But physical aid is only half the goal. As International Needs assists the suffering, they ensure Christ’s love is evident.
“The Gospel is part of who we are. And the Gospel comes as we are building relationships with these people in these camps,” Rodeheaver says. “The government is very leery of us going in and doing anything organized in terms of a religious quote unquote outreach, but they are very open for us to help people with their needs.
“One of the couples that we worked with told our staff director, ‘We knew that the Christians wouldn’t let us down.’ And sure enough, we’ve been there. As we share with a cup of cold water, we’re sure that they know that we come in the name of Jesus.”
One characteristic of International Needs is that it is an indigenous organization–a key component to successful ministry. IN workers deeply understand the people’s cultural needs, and thus more effectively share God’s love.
“[Our director] was sharing the fact that they were working with a group of 10 doctors who were coming in to do a medical outreach there,” Rodeheaver says.” The way we serviced them was to connect them with translators, because none of these doctors speak the language.
“Having people who are Turkish…is a tremendous advantage of making right decisions, culturally-sensitive decisions, and decisions that will translate the Gospel in a way that is understandable and that is more acceptable to the folks who are hearing it.”
International Needs workers know how to best reach refugees, but they still need the tools. Can you come alongside them? There are multiple ways you can do so, whether prayerfully or financially.
“Pray for our staff and for the evangelical churches that exist in the areas where these camps are…in Turkey,” Rodeheaver says.