Please pray for all who have been affected by a huge earthquake that has caused widespread destruction and deaths in Turkey and Syria. We'll keep this page updated with latest news and prayer requests.
Please keep praying for all affected by the devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. Tens of thousands of people have been killed – the full scale of the damage and the number of victims continues to be investigated. Below, you'll find testimonies, prayer requests and updates from Christians you may have met through the Hope for the Middle East campaign.
It is said to be one of the strongest earthquakes to hit the region in over a century. In the video above, an Open Doors partner called Father Fadi shares what he has seen in Latakia. His church buildings suffered material damage, though thankfully nobody was killed there.
"Please we ask you to pray for Syria, for those who are suffering from the earthquake." Father Fadi
“In other buildings in our city, there are dead people and you can hear now the ambulances. There are a lot of casualties,” he shares. “Please we ask you to pray for Latakia, to pray for Syria, for those who are suffering from the earthquake.”
"We're still in the shock phase," says Ibrahim Najjar, a local Open Doors partner in Aleppo whose name has been changed for security reasons. "What we're doing now is providing shelter for the Christians at some churches and providing them with food and warmth - it's very cold now."
People left their homes suddenly, and in many cases can't return - either because their houses have been destroyed, or are unsafe. "We're talking about more than 20,000 Christians now in the streets," says Ibrahim. "I'm now in the street also. No one is at home. No shops, no food. People are really suffering."
"We want the love of Christ to be reflected in what we are doing." Ibrahim
Some of the destruction can be seen in the video above. Emergency workers continue to search the rubble for survivors. Ibrahim sees that this is a vital time to share the hope of Jesus:
"We want the love of Christ to be reflected in what we are doing," he says. "It's a good opportunity to embrace the people - and to bring greater unity between the churches, because all churches are now working together to serve Christians living in Aleppo and helping them to survive."
"The whole city is destroyed," says a church leader who shepherds refugee Christians in Hatay, Turkey (see video, above). "People are in a very difficult and tough situation here."
When asked how we should pray, he says: "Please pray for the people who have lost their loved ones and are in sorrow and despair, that God would comfort them. Please pray for the people who are helping and serving. And please pray that the ways would be opened soon, so we can bring more help to the area. God bless you all."
Ibrahim says: "Our goal is to strengthen what remains. So we need always to help people not only to survive, but also to thrive. So we need to help those Christians, not only with relief support, but also we need to think of the long-term."
"Words cannot describe what we went through this whole day," says Majd George, a teenager in Latakia who is sheltering in a church. "Please pray for those people who are trapped, that they will be rescued. Also pray for those people who lost everything, or lost their loved ones."
In the video below, from Syria, you can see Christians who found refuge in a church and joined together to sing. There's no electricity, so they're using the light of their mobile phones to see the words. We can use the lyrics of the song as a prayer for our brothers and sisters affected by the earthquakes:
"Our land is thirsty, it's filled with wounds, the flood of Your love will heal her, the touch of Your hand will fix and restore it, back to Yourself, this is our hope in You our Lord."
You may remember Ferial in Syria from Open Doors' Hope for the Middle East campaign last year. In this video, she shares her experiences of the earthquake - and how she found shelter in a Centre of Hope church run by Open Doors partners.
You may also remember Jina and little Apo - whose father, Rober, was abducted for being a Christian and hasn't been heard from for years. They are being supported by a Syrian Centre of Hope run by Open Doors local partners and, in this video, share their experiences of the earthquake and their hope for the future.
Please join with the local church in praying for all affected – whether injured, traumatised or grieving. Thank you.
You can give now to support Open Doors partners in Syria and Turkey as they support people impacted by the earthquakes, and for the long-term. Your gift can help provide emergency food, shelter and other relief to those affected, as well as long-term support.
Your support helps persecuted Christians continue to courageously follow Jesus.
Together, we can reach those where persecution hits hardest.