The W Family in Turkey
We are a family of four. Our daughter is 15 years old, and our son is 13 years old. We moved overseas 16 months ago to a Muslim country that hosts about three mi
llion Syrian and Iraqi refugees. It has been a very busy and stretching year as we moved to a new place, have been learning a new language and culture and making new friends. We spend 16 hours a week learning language from a tutor. We have come a long way and are now able to have simple conversations with people. We help run a church plant and do refugee work every week as well as building relationships with people in our community. It has not been easy to leave everything that is familiar and comfortable to us but we know that God has called us to this place, and that, is what makes it all worthwhile. Knowing that we are where God wants us to be is very fulfilling. There is nowhere else we would rather be!
Knowing that we are where God wants us to be is very fulfilling. There is nowhere else we would rather be.
We are blessed to be able to visit five refugee camps every week and assist in helping anywhere from 3,000 to 4,000 refugees. It is difficult to understand the living conditions that a lot of the people are enduring. They live in tents or abandoned buildings. They sleep on a thin mattress or the ground and struggle to keep warm the cold temperatures and dry in the rain. Many new babies are being born which creates challenges to keep them warm and healthy. We have had the privilege to supply families with diapers and formula. This has helped parents not have to use garbage bags for diapers and enabled children to receive proper nourishment. When we first arrived, babies were so skinny and malnourished. It is beautiful to see their cheeks filling in.
God has given us a deep love for refugees. We can feel His compassion and love as we visit each week. Even though it is hard to communicate with them because of the language barrier, it is incredible to see how God can work despite this obstacle. Giving the people hugs and kisses and smiles as we distribute supplies, share a tea or play games with the kids have been ways that we have been able to be the hands and feet of Jesus to people who don't know God’s real love.
We have been helping the people in these camps for about ten months now. About a month ago a few of the refugee families surprised us with a beautiful meal that they had prepared for us. I was moved to tears as I sat down to partake of this sacrifice that they made for us to honour us. From people who have so little and yet, wanted to show us their gratitude. That was a turning point in our relationship with them. We felt like we were now not just outsiders but friends!
That was a turning point in our relationship with them. We felt like we were now not just outsiders but friends!
We have been blessed to have Arabic/Kurdish interpreters help us from time to time, and when we do, they help us to share the gospel message and distribute Bibles to people who have never seen one in their lives. God is turning the terrible things that the enemy intended for evil into something good. We as Christians have the greatest opportunity at this time to share the Good News and love of Jesus to people who are coming to us, in our nations. People who would never have had the chance to hear the Gospel message in their nations are coming to us in Europe and in North America. The enemy wants us to reject them and respond to them in fear. We must not become deceived by the enemy, rather, we need to respond as Jesus said we must. We need to ask the Lord to give us His heart for the refugees. We need to ask the Lord how we can do something to help those who so desperately need Jesus. Especially now as these people know what it is like to lose their homes and countries and have nowhere to live, no one to talk to and no one to help them.
If you have the privilege to have a refugee move into your area, then consider how you can be their friend. Perhaps you could take them a meal, teach them some English, and help them learn how to shop and do simple things that you take for granted because life in your home country is so routine to you. Our family now knows what it is like to move to a new place where you don't know anyone; you can't speak the language, and you have a hard time doing simple things like buying groceries because you cannot understand the labels on the food. These things can be very frustrating, but having someone who cares and come alongside you to help you do some of this stuff is so valuable and can make people feel welcomed and loved. It can break down walls of fear and prejudice. I pray that the body of Christ would make these incredible people feel loved, accepted and cared for. Especially since they have experienced so much loss and hardship. Almost everyone we have met has lost family members in bombings and the war. Let's learn to love radically like Jesus. We need to push fear aside because "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear." (1 John 4:18a) We need to put ourselves in their shoes. Imagine that you were the one who had to leave everything you know and move to a place you do not know, with no money and everyone rejecting you. Let us learn to love unconditionally. "We love because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19).
Please join us in praying for the W family. We invite you to connect with them by email/mail and social media too. Here’s how you can stay connected: