Great Tragedy, Great Need, Great God | The Reach October 2023

Dear friends,

It was 6 a.m., and I rolled over to check my alarm before it went off. When I saw 2 missed calls at 5 a.m. from my good friend in the Southeast of Turkey, I knew something wasn’t right.

And that was how it began, our gradual understanding of the devastation caused by the pair of 7.8/7.7 magnitude earthquakes that rocked our country and left over 50,000 people dead and 2.5 million temporarily homeless.

One night a few months later, I was helping move supplies to build temporary homes in the devastated earthquake zone. It was late, and I was tired when my truck and cell phone died within moments of each other. After getting some help from those living in a nearby tent to recharge my phone, which only got to 4%, I finally reached someone who could help. Unfortunately, help was 1.5 hours away, at least, and they couldn’t give me an ETA of when or who exactly would help. I turned my phone off to save the battery, and I began my long wait in the truck.

In that moment, I found myself grumpy and discontent with God’s timetable and His ways. But I think there was a seed of God’s desire in my doubts. I really wanted (and still want) God to be closer to me, my family, and this injured world. I was and am wanting heaven.

That night, I didn’t find a lot of answers, but I was comforted there in the truck, sensing that God was with me. In fact, at one point during that long night Psalm 139 came to mind, “If I make my bed in the depths, you are there.”

I eventually was picked up around midnight, about 3.5 hours after breaking down. We transferred the materials to another truck, and after some sleep, and by God’s grace, we were able to build a home the next day from those materials for a needy family who had been living in a tent since the earthquake. 

This is one of dozens of homes built by believers in that region. Multiple Fellowships outside of Turkey including the EPC contributed to financing these homes. In fact, the EPC International Disaster Relief Fund and the direct contributions from another EPC church financed a total 10 of these homes.

Fast-forward another 4 months, and I received an invitation to a re-opening of a small Fellowship in the earthquake region. This Fellowship had been very small and meeting in an apartment for some time before the earthquake. But now 7 or 8 families have been asking to come, and they have found a home to meet in!

 This is a drop-in-the-bucket compared to the 80 million lost in this country, but even human life starts small, very small, smaller than a mustard seed. So, while we may not understand our personal hardships or the world’s, we can celebrate when God makes his presence known to us in stressful moments—or grows a small Fellowship after a terrible tragedy. And we can hope for God’s Kingdom to fully come! So, let’s trust, hope, and love together.

– R*, World Outreach Worker

*Names removed or changed for security purposes.

Directors note . . .

Thank you for reading the Reach.

If you’ve been a longtime follower, you’ve likely noticed a break in the circulation of our monthly publication this year. We’ve gone through some significant changes in our office operations that led to the hiatus. In this current issue and the coming months we look forward to inspiring you and helping you engage in new and deeper ways with God’s work in and through EPC World Outreach as we seek to help fulfill the Great Commission.

Jesus said to His disciples that they would be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. 

God’s mission – that every tribe, tongue, people, and language fill His throne room in worship for eternity – is the ultimate culmination of the Great Commission. 

In our formation and discipleship as Christ followers, being attentive to the kingdom of God aligns our hearts, minds, and work to what matters most. Being attentive to His kingdom requires intentional efforts to observe, listen, seek, learn, pray, and join in where God is working. We pray that the Reach will play a part in your own formation as you draw closer to the heart of God for the nations and those who have least access to the gospel. 

Partnering with you to fulfill the Great Commission,

Gabriel de Guia

Executive Director 

EPC World Outreach

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