September 2023 update: AMT has been able to pass on gifts for earthquake relief in Turkey totalling AU$217,790 since February 2023.
With images emerging in the news from the disaster unfolding in South-East Turkey and Northern Syria, we are receiving calls from prayer partners asking if/how AMT can help.
We are receiving firsthand information from workers and local churches through the network of like-minded Mission Service Organization (MSO) in other countries. The news is heart-wrenching, and we mourn alongside the people who have suffered such heavy loss of life and injury. Our partners in the closer vicinity of the disaster are busy organizing help, and we are heartened to see that the body of Christ is burdened too. Having read various firsthand reports and ensuring our own due diligence, AMT has decided to participate in the aid and relief as follows:
AMT is setting up a fund to collect gifts and donations which we will pass on to these contacts on the ground. There will be no administrative deduction on these gifts as we seek to demonstrate the Lord’s love tangibly. Furthermore, an immediate support payment of $25,000 is being mustered from funds in the Overseas Disaster Fund and the AMT Legacy Fund.
If you would like to contribute towards this fund, please find donation options on our Donate page. These funds are sent to partners actively engaging in the disaster area:
DPG Worker p28, Australia
“Thank you for your call earlier today to ask how AMT can help with the earthquake crisis in Turkey. Currently one of our local staff in Turkey is involved in the relief effort partnering with an association called "First Hope Association", which was established by the alliance of Turkish Protestant churches. Our local leader is one of this trust's 3 leaders and is currently there with a team of volunteers and supplies to help in the relief effort. Our organisation has set up a fund which specifically funds the earthquake relief effort in Turkey.”
DPG Worker p29, Australia
“My team in that region is all ok, but they are reporting that many buildings around them have collapsed or been damaged. The death toll is predicted to be high. Also, the weather has turned bad, and it is snowing in some cities and raining torrentially in others. Thousands are on the streets until their apartment buildings are given the OK for them to be reinhabited. Please be praying!”
Tim Luibrand, Emmaus, Turkey
“As you all have seen and heard I'm sure, Southern Turkey was severely shaken by a massive 7.7 earthquake before dawn yesterday. Then around 1 pm another quake of 7.5 hit the same area. I don't think words can describe the level of destruction and loss, there are lots of images you can see online. Around 14 million people live in the affected region, and they are reporting almost 6000 buildings destroyed. So far the death toll is over 3500 in Turkey (probably 1600 more in Syria) and I fear it could be far higher in the end. Thousands of people are still trapped or unaccounted for.
One of our follow up co-workers in Antioch province with the BCC, Hakan and his wife, lost their lives yesterday when their building was flattened. Their 10-year-old son was rescued. Pray for their family and other believers who have lost loved ones. One sister in our church here, Nevin, has all but given up hope for her mother and sisters who are buried under their building in Antioch too. Please pray comfort for her too; Aynur is spending time with her this afternoon. Many believers in the region are also living under very difficult circumstances as their cars (where they try sheltering for the night) run out of fuel and electricity, gas, and sometimes water is all cut.
It has proved difficult to communicate. I (Tim) will be travelling to Adana tomorrow with another church leader from Istanbul, with the hopes of meeting with church leaders there assessing the situation and especially making our way to the neighbouring cities of Iskenderun and Antioch. We will try to be with the family of Hakan (his brother Cem is the pastor of the church there) for the burial and see how we (as a larger network of churches in Istanbul) can assist best in the coming weeks. Please pray for safety and open roads and an available vehicle.
For those that have been asking how they might help, CMML has set up a special relief fund already that you can find here. Of course, prayer is of utmost importance! Pray for the believers in the region to have hope and strength to offer aid and comfort to those around them. Pray also for the leaders of the Turkish church to have great wisdom and courage in boldly offering relief to the region, and unity in coordinating that effort in the weeks and months to come. Pray also for the millions across the border in Syria who are likely getting even less help and necessary life support. Thank you for your concern and prayers!”
Leonardo Del Vecchio, OMEFI, Italy
“I am writing to you as president of the OMEFI (Missionary Work of the Italian Brothers). We are in contact with some missionaries who have direct references in Turkey and Syria. One of them has been working personally for years on the border between Turkey and Syria. The need for milk and blankets is confirmed. An important purchase of blankets has already been made and these have been sent to the earthquake victims.
For several years now, the Italian assemblies have had an organization called Salvati per Servire (Saved to Serve) which operates in the emergency sector and is recognized by the Italian State as part of the civil protection, precisely to intervene in emergencies. The brothers of Salvati per Servire (Saved to Serve) in collaboration with OMEFI are organizing a trip to Turkey, precisely to the places of the earthquake, to provide the Italian brothers with direct information on the needs and for the most appropriate management of the gifts. Let us pray for Turkey.”
John Peasland, CMML, USA
“We are in touch with multiple of our contacts sharing information about the situation. We have many co-workers and known believers that have been affected. They are traveling to the area and coordinating with local leadership to see how best to help. We started today sending funds in to help in these efforts. The initial purchases have been bulk orders of blankets to take into the affected areas. Many church buildings have been destroyed, and houses of believers have been as well. We know of a couple of believers that have lost their lives. Challenging circumstances that the believers are facing. May the Lord use this time to soften the hearts of the Turks and may the Gospel flourish!”
Phil Barnes, MSC, Canada
“My wife and I were in Antakya (Hatay) Turkey for three days and left about 12 hours before the earthquake hit. We were visiting MSC workers there, who were able to get in touch a couple of hours after the first earthquake and let us know that they are OK. We have not been able to get in touch with them since.
Once we have re-established contact with our workers, we will be looking to meet the needs of local believers through them, the city of Hatay was particularly hard hit and the runway we took off from was split in two - the only runway. Most of the infrastructure is destroyed. I am not hopeful. We will be able to talk to them anytime soon. They were in the very hardest hit area and survived by the grace of God.”