Where did you sleep last night? That would be a weird question to my colleagues at the start of a new day. Today, after the major earthquakes in Syria and Turkey, this wasn’t a strange thing to ask at all. The answers I got, this morning were different from what I would have heard on any other Tuesday morning.
“I slept with my husband and two children in our car”, one of my female colleagues said. “I slept on a thin mattress on the floor of our church”, another female colleague answered. “I slept together with my wife in our car,” was my manager’s answer.
Another colleague I couldn’t even ask this question, as he fled the city with his family to a safer place in Syria. He was lucky, he got out, whereas another colleague who wanted to do the same, didn’t manage to find transportation.
I choose our church, with seven other families. This night my ‘bed’ was on the floor in one of the classrooms where we usually have our Sunday school classes. None of us had the courage last night to sleep at home. When I look at the cracks in my own apartment or the cracks in those of my colleagues, I do understand why we all spent the night like this. One of my colleagues told me that her house is uninhabitable now. She and her parents must find another place to live. Our house has cracks, and it’s on the 6th floor, so I don’t feel comfortable to sleeping there. My parents now sleep at my grandmother’s house, which looks in better shape than our own, but I don’t feel secure there too.
I didn’t really get the sleep I needed. I think I slept an hour or so, not more. The fear of the next aftershocks, the fear that the church would collapse too, also the noise of all those other people who did their utmost to sleep, but also didn’t find their way to the land of dreams.
But I also didn’t sleep, because I don’t like to sit down and do nothing, I kept myself busy last night. Getting the cushions down to the rooms we were all going to sleep, pointing the families to the room that would serve as their sleeping room. I went out to get food and hot drinks for us.
Please continue to pray for us as a team. We’re all affected by the earthquakes ourselves. We’re tired, very tired, and worried about our families, our friends and ourselves.
Based on what we heard from the staff of our partner organisation in Syria, thousands of persons slept in church buildings last night in Syria. Many houses and apartments aren’t safe anymore to live in or people don’t feel comfortable sleeping there because of all the aftershocks of the earthquake that hit Syria.
Open Doors is supporting our partner organisation to offer shelter to people in churches. We provided people with food, blankets and mattresses in some places. We are still assessing the needs of the churches and the Christian communities to decide on possible next steps. We already call for people to donate for relief items for Syria and for our Centers of Hope in Syria.
Of course, we also call for prayer for the situation in Syria and Turkey. Pray that the Lord will guide the staff in what to do, and how to help. But also pray to God for the staff themselves, as they are victims of the earthquake too, as they are as tired as all the other people after this disaster.
Pray that the Lord will guide the staff in what to do, and how to help. But also pray to God for the staff themselves, as they are victims of the earthquake too, as they are as tired as all the other people after this disaster.