It is hard to believe it has only been four days (at the time this update will post) since the massive earthquakes that devastated Turkey and Syria. The feared number of 20,000 deaths was surpassed some hours ago today, Thursday, February 9. Judging by the extensive devastation among such a large population, the number of dead is sure to climb much higher. 

I spoke with Pastor R this morning and he was broken hearted as he described the unbelievable number of casualties and the horrific conditions the survivors are having to deal with. He said many of the missionaries who had been embedded within the refugee tent cities near Aleppo went to the city to see what they could do to help. Pastor R received some tragic information about the group of 160 HOB missionaries who had gathered their families (500-600 in all) and gone back to the city not long ago. They had apparently packed themselves into three of the large apartment buildings, hoping to be less exposed to the cold winter weather. These buildings, however, were still damaged from bombings in previous years of Syria’s long civil war and were not very stable. When the quakes hit, these three buildings collapsed as did thousands of other buildings—many of them apartment towers. Suleiman, his sons and many HOB missionaries and volunteers have been digging through the rubble with little more than their bare hands, shovels, or other tools they could get their hands on. As of this morning, Pastor R said they had only found three survivors among all those buried in the rubble! So many bodies have been found that they are having to dig graves large enough to hold 10-15 bodies each. News teams are reporting many stories that are very much the same. The loss of this many missionaries and their families all at one time like this is a great tragedy and has brought much grief, but praise God, they have finished their course and are now in the presence of Jesus and will never, ever suffer again!

Considering the amount of time that has now passed since the quakes happened, added to the sub-freezing temperatures and snow, anyone being pulled alive from the rubble now is a miracle. Yet, the rescue teams are still finding a few that have survived. Most of them appear to be children. It is amazing to watch the videos on the internet of children being gently removed from the mountains of debris! 

As I have already stated, the conditions these people are trying to survive are unthinkable. How does a family survive the cold, wet, snowy weather with nothing but the bare sky over their heads? Some find a tree to try and camp under, but there are not enough trees. When they are able to gather a few sticks of wood to light a little fire for some heat, the flames get smothered by the rain or snow. Every hour that passes, more of these people die of exposure. 

Pastor R told me today that Omar, Sami, and Mussa, who had contracted cholera, are still very sick and have high fevers. As sick as they are, however, they still managed to meet with Pastor R and the four men prayed together. The three men have managed to make some contacts to get some desperately needed tents, mattresses, two truckloads of wheat and other supplies. The supplies can then be distributed to at least 20,000 of the refugees. Their contact will make the funds available to get  the supplies ordered and delivered. The funds will of course need to be repaid. 

In conclusion, this is a desperate time for these folks. Your prayers, as God’s people, are very much needed and appreciated and the House of Blessing leadership is very, very grateful for any help they can receive at this time of great need. We serve a great GOD!

Forever in His Service,



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