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Turkey Shelter Response: Situation Report #2 March 14, 2023

In the midst of great loss, our Hope Force Interntational teams have witnessed times of joy as well.  In the city, and as they enter into devastated villages, a sense of hope and excitement seems to follow. People gather to watch and chat amongst themselves — trying to understand what is happening.  Within the hour, they watch while a sturdy 3m x 5m emergency shelter is erected and immediately, their cautiousness melts away.  Observing team members interacting with the children as they hand out M&Ms and suckers — a smile crosses the face…a smile that crosses cultural and linguistic barriers.

One afternoon as the team was completing a shelter, a family warmly invited them for lunch. As they sat on the ground, the beauty of the green winter wheat could be seen for miles. However, the scene directly behind was of a small village deeply devastated and rocked by the recent earthquake. Many homes, including the local school, were destroyed.  As the team ate lunch with their hosts, the translator enabled them to communicate with the family. For a brief moment, in the midst of great devastation and sorrow, there was joy and laughter… a mix of Turkish, Kurdish and English.

Accepting such hospitality from those who have lost and suffered so much can be difficult. Yet, humbly embracing their kindness is the honorable thing to do. Sitting and eating together communicates to them that they are loved — not alone, and that somebody cares…that God cares. This beautifully conveys, “The Ministry of Presence” — something that is a strong value of Hope Force International. As our team was departing, the grandfather and the grandmother came with a twinkle in their eyes, giving hugs and kisses — recognizing that in spite of their loss, a deep connection had been made, a connection that overcomes any perceived obstacles.

Hope Force currently has a second emergency shelter team in Türkiye. Over the course of the first team's deployment, Hope Force Reservists built over 40 shelters in three villages and in the devastated city center — both for Turks and refugees from neighboring countries. Hope Force will be sending team three and four in the coming month.  Our focus will continue to be erecting emergency shelters — making a world of difference for those whose homes have been destroyed.

Our partnership enables us to respond quickly and effectively to people all over the world. 

Would you please consider helping us provide shelter for these earthquake survivors?