Turkey quake update
More today from our partners in Turkey. You’ll appreciate there is still lots to pray for. Thank you.
‘I am having a really difficult time processing all of what I have seen and experienced here over the last eight days.
‘Overwhelming is the first word that comes to mind. I am overwhelmed by the devastation and destruction, the buildings and the lives lost. I am overwhelmed by the hopelessness of those trying to move forward without knowing the hope of Jesus Christ. I am overwhelmed by the necessary recovery efforts that will undoubtedly take years. Overwhelming.
‘Inadequacy is another word that comes to mind. We feel so inadequate to meet the needs here. It feels like an impossible task to get enough water filters or install enough of them to provide clean water for everyone who needs and requests it. We cannot have enough conversations and pray for enough people to make a spiritual dent in the darkness. We are completely inadequate for the task at hand. Inadequacy.
‘Discouraging is another unfortunate word that hurts my heart. I am discouraged by the buildings which still lie in ruins with bodies buried underneath. I am discouraged by a local organisation that promised to provide water for a tent community after we installed a filter in their building but then refused to share the water as they had promised. I am discouraged by the overwhelming inadequacy of our relief efforts. Discouraging.
‘Despite all I have said though, hopeful is the most important word that comes to mind. I am hopeful because of the local church here that is stepping up in amazing ways to serve their community. I am hopeful because I see people serving others even though they themselves have experienced tragedy. I am hopeful because the Lord is still in control, even in the midst of unspeakable brokenness and heartache.
‘He is infinitely bigger than anything which overwhelms, infinitely stronger than my inadequacy is weak, infinitely more comforting than any discouragement is disheartening. Praise the Lord!’
Turkey quake update
One of the biggest problems in Turkey is the clean up. There are an estimated 116 million tonnes of rubble to shift which will then allow for fresh supplies of food, water and the restoration of normal social and economic activities.
Reuters suggest 51,000+ lost their life, including 6,000 in Syria. 1.5 million have been left homeless, requiring 500,000 new housing units to be built. Clearly there is plenty to do for the foreseeable future and we will continue to send funds as they become available to our partners who will be involved for the long term.
Thank you for praying.
Turkey quake update
Our thanks once again for your generous, and humbling response to events in Turkey.
This week we have had the privilege of speaking with church leaders from Turkish churches. They are flat-out busy as you can imagine but extremely grateful for your interest and prayers. Thank you.
As a safety measure, local authorities have been checking vehicles and monitoring traffic in and out of the destruction zones. Supply deliveries from non-registered charities are slowing down, but thankfully, the local believers, churches and our partners are able to continue to serve.
As they have been helping those sleeping on the streets and in their cars, they have found that, while survivors are grateful for the blankets and bags of sandwiches, many have told volunteers, ‘Thank you, but we will only take a few. There are other people around here who are in greater need than us.’
We have been supporting efforts by several experienced disaster and rescue partners. One wrote to say ‘This is the most difficult rescue I have ever encountered. Sometimes I want to save a few more people, but in the face of harsh conditions, I can’t. Sometimes it is obvious that signs of life have been detected, but there is no way to effectively rescue them. Some search and rescue personnel cried in the rubble.’
Pray this week that our partners. They are busy setting up tent housing, providing food, clean water, and hygiene supplies in affected communities, distributing urgently needed blankets and basic survival items, starting children’s centres to provide a sense of normalcy, schedule, and care, and providing care centres for the elderly.
Pray too that they could keep their eyes on Christ and be protected from the overwhelming feelings and secondhand trauma that often come with this kind of work.
Turkey quake update
Huge thanks for your generous response to the challenges this week in Turkey. Local partners have already began distributing blankets, water bottles, food and other emergency supplies in impacted neighbourhoods. The needs are enormous. Some are serving in the southern city of Antakya, formerly known as Antioch. It's where the disciples were first called Christians (Acts 11). We can very much pray that the fame and influence of the gospel would be restored to that region.
Here are some more suggestions for prayer:
More than 5,000 people have been killed and thousands more injured in a devastating earthquake that struck southern Turkey and northern Syria the morning of Monday, February 6.
One of the strongest earthquakes to hit the region in over a century, search and rescue teams are still finding bodies and estimate that thousands of residents will need immediate medical attention for their wounds.
The quake had several aftershocks that continued to shake major city blocks, leaving many neighbourhoods completely flattened. Turkey’s disaster bureau made an appeal for help from the international community as their relief teams continue to conduct emergency retrieval missions.
Our partners are coordinating a response as the initial needs are assessed. You can give today through our Show and Tell Fund. You can also give straight into our bank or by card...simply add the reference 'Quake' if requested.
Please be praying too. Here are some immediate suggestions:
Thank you for your personal involvement this year in making The King known far and wide. Your prayers display both concern and participation in ensuring the fame of our Lord Jesus Christ spreads faster and further in our dark world.
We have been especially thrilled to see so many new people join us this year. Some have committed to regular prayer through our Just Pray each Monday morning. We hope it has helped to begin each week with your hearts drawn to the Saviour. Many thousands now also receive our new Stay Connected emails twice a month which, we hope, keeps you abreast of some ministry somewhere in the world where people are counting on us to uphold and support them. What a blessing you have been in this work of partnership.
Some words from an American preacher some 150 years ago serve to keep our sure hope anchored as we head into another uncertain year.
'In a world of sin, and sick beds, and sepulchres, we must have trouble; but in the darkest night the heavens part with angelic song. You may, like Paul, be shipwrecked, but I exhort you to be of good cheer, for you who are trusting on Christ shall all escape safe to the land.'
Joy in Jesus this new year.
Pakistan floods update
News from Ukraine this week where the Ukrainian Baptist Seminary resorted to meeting in underground bomb shelters during recent heavy attacks on Kiev. Thank you for praying.
We are amazed at the both their resilience under pressure and their focus on the big issues of making God known and strengthening the church irrespective of the work environment. Some 450 new students this term appreciate your prayers!
Still praying for Ukraine?
Great! Thank you for your faithfulness. Here are five issues to bring to the Lord today.
We love to place audio Bibles with those who either can't or don't read. Hundreds have recently been sent to one of Brazil's remotest rainforest tribes following many years of recording work by our partners. There's no electricity either so these are all solar-powered. Thank you for making this possible. You'll be able to read much more in our January 2023 magazine.
Weeks after floods hit parts of Pakistan, October’s wheat planting season is due to begin. Areas affected in the southern lowlands are downstream from the major rivers and large areas remain under water. Failure to plant wheat now leads to flour - and therefore food - shortages next year.
Thank you for your help in providing tents, clothes and food items. We sent more funds last week as a result of your generous giving. These were gratefully received. Let’s continue to pray for our Pakistani partners this week with the complex challenges they face.
Heavy rains in recent weeks have led to catastrophic flooding in Pakistan, more than 1,000 people have already died. Countless other people have become homeless and are left with nothing. The Pakistani government has asked the international community for help, saying that they are overwhelmed by the extent of the disaster.
There is a real fear of landslides and the threat of famine after 45% of the country's agricultural land has been destroyed and nearly one million farm animals dead.
Our trusted Christian partners are already responding. Thanks for your prayers and generous support at this difficult time.
Great news this week from our partners in South East Asia where three ladies have come to faith in Jesus. We know you'll want to pray for them and for household salvation. 'Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.' Ps. 107
Great new books!
We are so looking forward to more great new Spanish language books that will be published over the next nine months. We are partnering with Editorial Peregrino in Spain to help with the costs of translation, revision and printing of commentaries by Sinclair Ferguson and Stuart Olyott plus a brand new book by a Spanish author who is writing short Christian biographies for children. Thanks for your support for this work.
We have been able to support a new water project this month in South Asia. Ceramic filters are being provided to schools and homes in areas lacking clean drinking water and prone to high levels of water-borne disease.
These are also tough areas for the gospel so maybe you could pray that our partners could win a hearing for the Good News. Thank you for making this happen.
Last week we sent support to two ministries working in very difficult circumstances. Both face strong opposition to the gospel and so we would love you to be praying for those involved on the ground in making Christ known both in Kashmir and in Indonesia. Thank you for making this possible.
Thank you for praying this week.
Each year around two million Muslims perform the hajj during the 12th month of the lunar calendar. Some very wealthy people stay in five-star hotels; others sleep on the side of the road. Women must be accompanied by husbands or guardians. Everyone prepares for the journey by washing, cutting their hair and nails, and donning the same simple, special clothing.
The ritual starts by circling the Ka’aba seven times and kissing the Black Stone. Then, while reciting prayers along the way, the pilgrim runs between two small hills, meant to symbolize Hagar’s frantic search for water in the desert. Next, after a sermon and prayers in the Great Mosque at Mecca, Muslims travel to Arafat, about 12 miles away. There they stand and pray: “Here I am, O Allah, here I am, here I am. You have no partner. Here I am.” After their vigil at Arafat, they visit Mina, where they throw stones at a pillar symbolizing Satan.
When this is complete, a sacrifice is offered and the Eid al-Adha begins (Festival of Sacrifice, which all Muslims celebrate, not just the pilgrims). Afterward, people return to Mecca for one more pass around the Ka’aba and perhaps even return to Mina or visit the grave of Muhammad at Medina. (Prayercast)
News from our partners distributing audio Bibles in the Quechua language and radios tuned to Radio Mosoj Chaski, Cochabamba's Christian Quechua radio station. They write to say 'Well, just one week ago we returned from Bolivia where our small team had the joy and privilege of taking more Bible/Radios to many isolated families in the Andes. Due to the many interruptions of Covid it had been almost 3 years since we were able to continue our ministry to the Quechua people. Thanks be to God for His help in working through the many details and changes that resulted in the success we had. In all we were able to hand out about 750 Bible/Radios in the 4 locations where we stopped. Please continue to pray that these radios will operate trouble free for years to come so that another generation will hear the Gospel and take the message forward to others that they too might hear.
'Thanks to everyone for your prayers. It was so great to be able to return with a team and to travel into those areas that are white onto harvest. We thank God for His provision and protection throughout our journey into the mountains, believing He is continuing to change peoples lives through His Word as it goes forward.'
Some of our partners are helping Ukrainian refugees, who have been authorised to work, find employment while they are in third countries. It's not straightforward so perhaps you could take a minute to commit this to the Lord today.
We are thrilled to have sent more digital Bibles this week, each unit containing God's Word in both Ukrainian and Russian. Let's be praying that the handheld, solar-powered Bibles will reach the hands of those prepared by God to hear His Word. Remember those in Ukraine - and those who have left. Ask that this week many would cross paths on their travels with people who love Jesus. Thank you for your support that makes the supply and distribution of these Bibles possible.
More help sent. Thank you!
‘Thank you for your continued support for the work across Eastern Europe. We have spent time this week listening to and praying with church leaders serving in difficult places right now. They are nevertheless determined to see increasing numbers discipled and growing strongly in their faith in Jesus. It was a thrill (and humbling) to listen to them. Let's pray on for gospel growth in both Russia and Ukraine. Thank the Lord with us for more digital Bibles delivered to Ukraine this week and pray for hearts prepared to listen and respond.
Broken for Bucha
‘Overcome with emotion, Iaroslav covered his face and the torrent of tears with one of his hands. His other held a piping-hot cup of coffee. At the border of Romania and Ukraine, our partners provided this Ukrainian man from the decimated city of Bucha with a listening ear, a message of love and a prayer for protection.
‘Iaroslav pensively walked down a corridor of humanitarian tents, waiting for a caravan of cars carrying his company’s employees. He stopped for a cup of coffee and a chat with those manning the station offering coffee, snacks, reading glasses, Bibles and QR codes leading to a gospel website where truly great news awaited him.’
Thank you for your support for the ongoing Ukrainian work. Our partners are meeting all kinds of people and we find ourselves both grieving at the tragedy of it all while trusting in God’s always wise ways. Let’s keep praying that His ways would be known on earth, His salvation among all nations. Ps. 67
Good news from Ukraine
Here’s the latest report from one of five partners we are helping in and around Ukraine.
There is a new digital lifeline for Ukrainians. Close to six million (!) Ukrainians have seen a Facebook advert developed by our partners. The ads guide Ukrainians to a website providing gospel resources, links to download a digital Ukrainian Bible, and the ability to send a direct message to a Ukrainian or Russian-speaking Christian for help and prayer.
Since its launch, well over half a million have watched right through a gospel video on the website. Our partner writes ‘Whether they are sitting in their car at the border or hunkered down in Kyiv, they have access to the gospel and a lifeline to talk with a Christian, in their own language, about spiritual matters and ask for prayer.’
The website also includes video of Ukrainian lady praying a vulnerable and heart-wrenching prayer for her nation and another featuring the reading of God's Word.
Our partner writes ‘During my time at the Ukrainian border, everyone I saw was glued to their phones, hungry for news of the war and from loved ones who remained in the country. The question then became, ‘How is the gospel going to go back into a country like that? The best way, or most effective way, is going to be through their screens.’
One message the responders received was from a mother begging for prayer for her daughter who had a high fever. They had just crossed the border and had nowhere to go and were clueless about where to go. Her husband had to remain in Ukraine to fight. Another message said, “Help me in prayer, my son and 30 other men are in a basement without communication, water and food. May the Lord help to take them out and protect them and provide them with everything necessary for their lives.’
Our partner adds ‘The impact of this effort has been far beyond what we imagined...literally thousands of gospel conversations have begun.’
Thanks so much for your support. We hope you are encouraged to see the Lord at work. You can click to see the English version of the website - Hope for Ukraine
Lots more digital Bibles being handed out this month among peoples on the move across Europe. Thank you for your support.
Praying for Russia and Ukraine this week? Here are a few ways to keep your prayers informed.
a) We are now helping four different partners in the region, including one that is distributing Ukrainian-language digital Bibles. May God’s Word take firm root in many lives.
b) Pray for the Spirit’s gracious and powerful help as Christians speak of the Good News in Christ. Pray for great care among the traumatised families. Ask too for safe passage of relief.
c) Pray for an end to hostilities. The evil one is at work so ask that the King of heaven would restrain the fruit of depraved hearts and minds. May millions yet find solace and hope in the glory of Christ Himself.
Further reports have arrived this week. Here’s the latest from one of four parters we are helping in the region:
‘The crossing stations were fully stocked with portable toilets, kiosks of hot beverages and snacks, SIM cards for mobiles and transportation waiting for refugees.
You see these people packed into tour buses and you realise there are no men. With few exceptions, the refugees are all women and children who were forced to leave their husbands, brothers and fathers. It was jolting to see flocks of mothers travelling alone with small babies and the elderly with their suitcases register the fact that they left the rhythms of their normal lives to come to an unknown and uncertain future. You could see the raw emotion on their faces.
One of the only encouraging sights in this heart-wrenching scene were the cars that had registration plates from all over the European Union—relatives and friends waiting to volunteer to transport families to their next destination.
The flow of refugees is not stopping. Those that made it out early probably had the financial means to do so, and those left behind or crossing the borders later most likely are families who don’t have much of a plan after making it to a new country or the money to move out of temporary shelters.
The kindness of strangers has been a recurring theme in surrounding countries’ response to the current crisis, and the local church, in particular, has stepped up to serve those fleeing.
One local church had been transformed into a makeshift shelter. Where a couple of hundred people used to sit, no furniture was left in it. Cots were lining every square inch of available space. Washing machines were moved in and constantly running laundry, and volunteers were cooking hot meals the entire day. They made sure to cook incredibly good food and extend joyous hospitality—not just keeping people alive but letting them know they are wanted and welcomed in Poland.’
At this church, Polish and Ukrainian believers gathered to sing hymns around a piano together—a beautiful picture of the Body of Christ choosing to worship in the face of life-altering tragedy.’
Continue to remember workers serving among Reykjavik's student population. Conversations, friendships, meals and studies are all taking place but pray for firm faith in Jesus to emerge.
Lots happening that needs prayer.
a) Ask the Lord to orchestrate the safe provision of help across among people on the move.
b) Pray for weary pastors and their congregations. Ask Him to strengthen faith in young and old.
c) Commit the vast movement of peoples across Europe to Him. May many be brought into contact with people who know and love the Lord.
Ministry to the Displaced - Russia/Ukraine Update
Thank you for your ongoing generosity. We are working to provide as well-rounded a response as possible - with some support going to individual pastors and their congregations, some helping the distribution of gospel material among Ukrainians on the move, and some addressing the broad humanitarian needs of everything from shelter, food and water, right through to play tents for children while refugee mothers queue for ‘processing’.
One of our partners has just sent these observations:
‘I watch as an older man stands in front of his bombed-out house. All of his memories—the small earthly things that give us comfort, his entire history—is scattered. There’s a confused, bewildered look on his face as he realises that the accomplishment of his many years of labour is no more.
I see a woman who doesn’t want to leave the danger zone because she just witnessed the death of her family by artillery fire. To her, she’s sitting at their grave.
I see people lining up at bordering countries with whatever they can carry and waiting in 15-16 hour lines, exposed to the elements and waiting to be processed. Once they cross the border, their status changes to “refugee,” but regardless of the label, it’s the same person fighting disbelief, exhaustion and desperation as they search for ways to fend for their families.
It doesn’t matter which country is experiencing conflict—Yemen, Ethiopia, Myanmar, Syria, Libya, Georgia, Armenia and now Ukraine—war forces people to become displaced.’
Here’s how to pray this week:
1) For Ukrainian pastors preparing to minister from the Word to others in the middle of a war. Ask that there would be space to think and pray.
2) For God's help in the phenomenal ministry of care and courage wives of pastors are exercising in their homes and into their children’s hearts and minds this week.
3) Pray that faith in Christ would stand firm - ‘…far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.’ Eph. 1:21
4) Ask that as the horror of sin and capacity for evil in the human heart is exposed, that there would be widespread gospel proclamation and room for repentance and faith. May many find the grace and glory of Christ to be a wonderful antidote to the complete devastation people everywhere are witnessing.
5) And ask that lives would be spared, that relief would reach those in need, and that gospel literature distribution would reach hearts and minds prepared by the Lord.
What are our partners doing?
We have several different partners in the region; some help with mass humanitarian needs and do it from a distinctly Christian angle. Other partners provide much more pointed assistance to, for example, specific pastors in Irpin, Lviv and Kyiv. They tend to be responsible for maybe 30 families and are able to identify which families need more help at any given time. Help can include everything from food to petrol, taxis and bus hire to evacuate people.
Thank you for your generous giving. We sent off a second round of financial help this week and God willing will send more next week.
In Poland, eight centres were originally designated to receive refugees by Baptist churches. That number was then increased to 40 camps located across the country.
Funds have been used to outfit the camps with sheets, pillows, food and hygiene items and to help with transportation needs. In the city of Chelm, for example, church members remain on duty 24 hours to receive refugees. Hotels, businesses and individuals have joined the efforts to help the church by providing food, mattresses and bedding.
There are also stringent efforts being made to distribute evangelistic literature and Scriptures in the Ukrainian language.
The response is mostly driven by Polish Christians…and that’s what’s been so amazing to see. The body of Christ is a truly remarkable group of people. They have specifically asked for prayer, saying ‘Our prayer is that the churches would be praying for perseverance, because in two weeks, this is still going to be here. This is a new reality, not just for Ukrainian people, but also for the Polish people, and so pray they will handle that new reality well and with grace and patience.’
Another partner writes ‘The church in Ukraine is thriving and doing great, and so through this, I really hope that not only the believers and the churches in Ukraine come out even more strong and on fire, but the Polish churches, that they too would catch that and grow. The Lord can do great things out of destruction.’
Here’s how to pray this week:
Russia/Ukraine - Responding with care
We received this firsthand report this week from Ukraine. It isn’t much different from what we see on the news but the heaviness of the situation certainly comes through. They wrote:
‘Right now, all of my people are hunkering down in bomb shelters or leaving the area. Please pray. There are so many children who will carry these memories with them. From today on, their lives have been changed.
Thank you so much for your support this week. One of the standout features of the last weeks has been to see the body of Christ coming together to make something happen in some remarkable ways. The church really is amazing and nothing created in this world can come close to what Christ does through His body. Let's keep praying for gospel witness to flow widely and for God to be praised even in the midst of war.
Russia/Ukraine - Responding with prayer
There is much to pray for right now with the Russia/Ukraine conflict. Happily, we can call upon the God of all grace. Here are six ways to help you pray.
a) This geopolitical tension can quickly spill over into personal conflict within families living on different sides of the border. Pray for grace and love for one another. Pray for those believers and church leaders who have chosen not to leave. Some churches have been turned into places of refuge and are ministering with extraordinary compassion to those around them amidst the danger. Pray for safe passages out of conflict zones for displaced populations.
b) Be in prayer for gospel workers who are serving in Ukraine, Crimea and Russia. Pray for Bible school teachers, for believers in many churches, and for children who have come to faith at camps in recent years. May this conflict not dampen evangelism. May the gospel advance in the face of war.
c) Pray for Christians in the various armed forces involved. Pray for persevering faith as their convictions and trust in the Lord are tested in new ways. May God's Word be brought afresh to their minds.
d) Pray for widespread gospel-opportunities to emerge from this crisis. May hope rest only in Christ. Ask that these difficult and uncertain times will result in many opportunities to share the Gospel with friends and neighbours.
e) Ask that evil be restrained and perpetrators be brought to justice. May the Lord have mercy on those in the line of fire. Pray for safety and refuge. Ask that truth, justice and peace be on display and be the experience of believers in both countries.
f) Ukrainian banks are shutting down and shops, pharmacies and transportation have been significantly affected. With so many citizens starting to flee, mission workers are anticipating refugees coming westwards to escape the danger. May these be fabulous gospel-filled opportunities!
Printing theological books
We are thrilled to be able to help with the printing of Jose Grau's writings on the reliability and authenticity of the Bible. Grau came to faith after reading merely a fragment of a verse from John's Gospel and then finding a second-hand Bible in a Barcelona market. His Christian life and writings were formed during the difficult Franco era in Spain when restrictions were imposed on his ministry and the propagation of his work.
Our hope is to see Grau's work printed and made available to today's Spanish-speaking Christians, many of whom face trials not dissimilar to those faced by Grau in the 1960s and 70s. It's so good to have authentic Spanish writers with brilliant theological minds and a faithful testimony able to encourage a new generation of Spanish-speaking believers around the world.
Thanks for your support that make this happen.
Thank you for your generous support last year. Some gave regularly through Standing Order while others gave online with one-off gifts or by cheque. However you supported this ministry, we are deeply appreciative.
Special thanks to all who helped with our Christmas Appeal. We are enormously grateful. Thank you on behalf of many who have already benefitted.
Our thanks too to those who have prayed with consistency. We are privileged to partner with many around the world who are extremely grateful for your prayers. Travel or no travel, prayer remains central to effective cross-cultural gospel ministry. We thank the Lord for your part in this. Let's pray big prayers in the year ahead!
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