You’ve likely heard about the recent devastation in Turkey and Syria. The two countries endured a severe, 7.8 magnitude earthquake on February 6, 2023. This disaster has displaced millions, and the death toll continues to rise, reaching over 36,000 as of Monday, February 13.

The area impacted by this earthquake is one of the main hosts for refugees, with around 3.6 million Syrian refugees seeking shelter within Turkey’s borders. A large portion of those refugees reside where the earthquake hit hardest. Altogether, causing people who have already endured so much to lose yet another home.

The news of the ever-rising death toll is heartbreaking. The loss that thousands of families are now forced to navigate is incomprehensible. There are so many souls in crisis.

Many of us may be inclined to avoid the News – squeezing our eyes shut when we run across a social media post that breaches the sorrowful subject, changing the channel in a flash when a News report splashes across the screen.

It’s understandable to want to ignore it. Especially because events like this earthquake can often leave us feeling helpless.

When terror strikes across the globe, what are we supposed to do? It’s easy to feel as if the only step we can take is to watch with heavy hearts as more information is provided.

But what if we’re not helpless? Here are three ways that we can bring aid to the hurting souls impacted by this earthquake.

1. Give

“In cases like these, experts say the best way to help people is by sending money to relief groups, instead of sending goods.” One article states, quoting president and CEO of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, Patricia McIlreavy, who says, “‘Cash allows us to not only be faster, but it allows those who are helping these communities, be adaptable to what the community needs.’”

If you are financially able, consider making a donation to a disaster relief organization. Some of the places that we trust are Samaritan’s Purse, American Red Cross, and Convoy of Hope.

Samaritan’s Purse has created a field hospital due to the main hospital in the area of the earthquake becoming severely damaged. They are working tirelessly to provide medical needs to anyone they possibly can in the region. Your gift will enable them to continue this lifesaving work.

The American Red Cross has been a part of the search and rescue efforts throughout the area. Additionally, the Red Crescent team is giving out meals and basic medical aid to the people who need it. Rescue efforts continue to become more and more urgent as time passes. Donations allow them to rescue more people and provide meals and aid to survivors.

Convoy of Hope has numerous connections within the impacted region. They are working closely with those contacts and providing supplies for the survivors. Their aim is to continue to meet the basic needs of those affected by this earthquake. A gift to their Crisis Relief Fund would enable survivors to have some relief while they attempt to piece their lives together after the terrible event.

2. Volunteer

Although you may not be able to travel to Turkey or Syria right now, there are ways that you can volunteer your time to make a difference. This option is wonderful if you don’t have the money for a gift, but still want to be involved. It’s also ideal for those who may prefer a more hands-on approach as you help others.

Do you have a plethora of creative ideas? Consider putting your creativity to use through fundraising. You can pick an organization and brainstorm some great ideas to grab donors. Maybe a hot cocoa stand where the funds go toward the earthquake, or placing boxes and jars in local stores so that you can collect donations. There are many ways to fundraise!

Another way to volunteer, might be to seek out trustworthy organizations and apply for volunteer work. Again, this work does not have to be physically on-site in order to make an impact.

For example, the organization Doctors Without Borders utilizes volunteers for various types of office work. Although it’s not at ground zero, the work is vital and greatly appreciated.

At World Vision, you are able to volunteer in many ways. From making blankets, building survival kits, and going to the warehouse to pack supplies for the journey, there are several options. Although it might not directly impact the survivors of the earthquake, you can also advocate for the legal rights of people in need.

3. Pray

Last but certainly not least, your prayer makes a difference. Please take a moment today and pray for the millions of people who have lost their homes, their loved ones, and even those who lost their lives.

These people need strength right now. They need some peace as we can imagine how they must be reeling from all of this shock. Most importantly, let’s pray that these people are given hope through the Gospel. Both countries are mainly Islamic.

For many years now, Syria has been suffering a civil war. This has caused the country to be shut down, with only one access point for other nations. This point was damaged in the earthquake, and Syria has reportedly decided to open up a couple more access points for crisis relief teams.

Please pray that those who enter within the borders of this tumultuous nation will remain safe and effectively bring aid to the people within. Additionally, this could be a rare opportunity for the Gospel to be spread within this predominantly Islamic country. Please pray that the good news of Jesus reaches the souls in Syria safely. It is a dangerous task to tell the Syrian people about Jesus, so please keep them in your heart.

“…[T]his is a disaster that [Turkey has] never seen before…” says Enif Yavuz Dispar, head of Turkey’s social services. Turkey is a nation which is estimated to be 99% Islamic. Many of us have experienced God’s supernatural work within dire circumstances. We can also lift this nation in prayer that the Gospel will reach the people’s hearts in this unprecedented time.

In addition to prayers for salvation, we can pray for the weather to be clear. With many people out of their homes – either due to collapse or the fear of collapse – they are in need of a warm and safe place to shelter themselves. Unfortunately, it is mid-winter for Turkey and Syria. The bleak conditions that the survivors have lived through are intensified by winter storms, bitter temperatures, and illness.

Prayers for warmth, health, and safety as the survivors pick up the pieces of their lives day by day. In case you would like some guidance or inspiration, World Vision provides prayers that you can utilize as you continue to think about these people.

In the end, whether you donate, volunteer, pray, or more, you may never truly know the power that your support has. This is an absolutely tragic event, and if you’re struggling with the heaviness it bears, please know that we are carrying this burden together.

You can tune in to 107.1 KSLT on the air in Rapid City, or online anywhere for encouraging, hope-filled music. If you are curious about Jesus, or interested in starting a relationship with Him, you can text GOSPEL to 41224 for more information.

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