This first full week of February began here in Europe with news of the massive earthquake afflicting southeastern and northwest Syria. As of this writing, the death toll has exceeded 25,000 as of Sunday evening the 12th, and the number of injured has exceeded 75,000. Both numbers are expected to increase in the next days and weeks. The death and destruction the Turkish people are suffering through is staggering, leaving no family in the country untouched. German media has been full of images of the rescue workers, the devastation and the survivors all week. German aid agencies like I.S.A.R. (International Search and Rescue) and Hanseatic Help sent volunteers as rapidly as was possible. A report from France24 notes in particular that three ancient cities, one of them the modern descendant of the biblical city of Antioch, were all but totally destroyed by the quake and its aftershocks. Scores of humanitarian relief agencies have moved to assist those in need of medical aid and basic humanitarian assistance, but perhaps the most morally significant aspect of the relief efforts is that substantial aid is coming from both Christians and Jews.
The list of Christian international aid organizations that began sending assistance to Turkey and Syria within hours of the first reports includes World Vision , Samaritan´s Purse, Christian Aid, World Relief, and The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. More importantly, local Christian congregations in Turkey, represented by the Turkish Evangelical Alliance , have sent aid and personnel to the affected cities and towns, while mourning losses of their own. The Medical Corps of the Israeli Defense Force has been at work on-site since late Monday, its teams recovering and treating the injured. All of these organizations working to save lives and help survivors in the predominantly Muslim Turkey? They are showing love for the citizens of a nation that persecutes the Christians and has provided aid and comfort to Hamas and Hezbollah in their efforts to wipe out the Jews in the Middle East. Would you eagerly and willingly help someone who, say, drove your father out of his profession because he was not a Muslim? Who kept your mother from being able to walk to the store on her own out of fear that she would be attacked because she was raising you Christian? How about people you knew would likely attack you if you walked outside wearing a yarmulke? You would? Good. If you think, however, this is the default setting for mankind, you are operating on the assumption that biblical, Judeo-Christian moral propositions, e.g. “love your enemy, do good to those who hate you and persecute you”, should be the baseline for humanity. And you are right. It should be. But it has not been since the days of Cain and Abel, those very first enemies, and love of the absolutely everyone won´t be again until Messiah returns. There won´t even be enemies at that point, and loving your neighbour will then be as natural as breathing. Come to think of it, there won´t be any more natural disasters then, either.
So please do pray for the people of Turkey, for the relief workers and emergency medical responders, and contribute financially if you can.
The other major story in Europe is the same it´s been for most of year now: The Russo-Ukrainian War. Continue praying for an end to the war and for the long-term future of both countries. Living here in Germany we are quite aware that it is possible for former enemy nations to become allies and even friends. Yes, there were decades and decades of relationship between the U.S.- Americans and the various Germans (Bavarians, Prussians, Swabians, Hessians) prior to the bloody first half of the 20th century, but there were also centuries of relationship between Ukrainians and Russians before the current armed conflict. A group from the Geistliche Gemeinde Erneuerung (lit. „Spiritual Renewal of the Church“) which includes friends of ours is in the western part of Ukraine right now. Please include them in your prayers.
What are we doing?
Writing, writing, subtitling. The odd thing is that I am writing subtitles in both German and in English for Toward Jerusalem Council II (German) and Johannes Hartl Ministries (English). We have both been writing for Salvo, and you can find the articles here:
And our commitments to the Gebetshaus and Koinonia continue. We are even working with the newly founded group of „Pfadfinder“ lit. „pathfinders“, essentially boy/girl scouts here as of January.
That is all for now. If at all possible I will write again this week. Tbe Lord bless and protect you.
Thank you for your support!
Contributing to the blog enables us to keep the lights on and the water running. We appreciate it.