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God Works in the Middle of Earthquake-stricken Türkiye

by Sigurd Ivar Kristianslund

On 6. February this year, Türkiye and surrounding places were hit by several terrible earthquakes that cost thousands of lives. It is still uncertain how many people have lost their lives, but it is likely to be several hundred thousand. The number is still rising.

Before the earthquake, I was in contact with a leader for RHEMA MENA (“Middle East and North Africa”). They have RHEMA missionaries in Türkiye where the earthquake hit hardest.

Every day I watched the news broadcasts and saw pictures and videos of thousands of people experiencing death and immense suffering.

The word from Isaiah came to me where the Lord says, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" (Isaiah 6:8). At the same time, I was reminded of Jesus who saw the people and felt deep compassion for them, for they were afflicted and perishing like sheep without a shepherd (Matt. 9:36).

On 16 February, I left Norway to help those affected by the earthquakes, as an emissary from RHEMA MENA. My uncle and cousin also travelled with me.

We were prepared for a journey where anything could happen, but we felt God's peace and guidance from start to finish. RHEMA had some good contacts in the area. In addition, we saw how God opened new doors and gave us many precious connections during our time there. RHEMA also contributed financially so that we could be a blessing to as many people as possible during our time there.

We rented a minibus that we packed with boxes full of food in the morning. Then we often spent the rest of the day driving around to the various towns affected by the earthquakes. We repeated this more or less daily during the week we were there. God supernaturally led us every single day. Everywhere we went, we were met with enormous gratitude and joy. Many wondered why we came all the way from Norway to help. Some even thought we were angels sent into their lives.

I remember one evening in particular when two men invited us to an area where their families were living in tents (as their homes were now in ruins). Suddenly we found ourselves with a group of people around a fire. Most of them were Muslims. Despite having lost everything, they served us good Turkish coffee and some biscuits. After we had chatted with them for a while and made heart connections, I shared a story from the Gospels about Jesus. They listened curiously to the message of God's grace and salvation. We experienced an openness and hunger for Jesus among the Türkish people. The harvest is truly ripe! Later that evening we were asked if we could pray for the mother of one of them. She was lying sick in one of the tents. We went into the tent and prayed for her with great boldness in Jesus' Name. Then they asked us if we could also pray for the brother-in-law who was having trouble breathing. He and his family were waiting for us in another tent nearby. After we prayed for him, his breathing improved. We started singing songs of praise and the tent was filled with God's presence. We could see how they were touched by what was happening.

This is just one of many examples of how the Holy Spirit led us. The days were filled with new surprises and unique encounters with different types of people.

The end of the journey was quite dramatic. We witnessed another major earthquake. This happened in the evening on the way to the house where we were staying. Just two minutes before we arrived, our car started shaking violently. At first I thought the wheels were about to come off, but we quickly realized that we were experiencing an earthquake. That night, the walls of the house where we were supposed to spend the night collapsed. Fortunately, we were fine, but we heard people shouting and screaming as houses collapsed in the area around us. Fear spread through the city. That night we had to stay outside while the rain poured down and the aftershocks continued through the night. Fortunately, we had sleeping bags and tents with us, so we suffered no distress.

We thank God for His protection. His faithfulness and kindness to us is so enormous!

It's all about being available to the Lord and taking a step of faith. It gave the Lord the opportunity to start working in and through us. So be bold! The Lord needs you. People are waiting for you. The Lord is with you (Matt. 9:37; Matt. 28:20).



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