3 Church in Historic Antioch Affected by Turkey Earthquake, Hopes to Rebuild | The Christian Mail
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Church in Historic Antioch Affected by Turkey Earthquake, Hopes to Rebuild

In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that struck Turkey on February 6, one of the hardest hit areas was the historic city of Antioch. The city, which has a rich religious history dating back to biblical times, suffered significant damage to its churches and places of worship.

In a report by the CBN, who happened to have visited the destroyed house of a pastor and his wife in Antioch, the pastor shared that they lost several members to the devastating earthquake. The Turkish pastor, Elmas narrated in a conversation with CBN. “I just can’t find the words to describe it and I don’t think you can really understand what happened at that time,” she said. There was a deep noise from the ground and it wasn’t ending and it was a long time. Both my husband and I just looked at each other and hugged each other and we started praying.” Thinking they were going to die. 

Elmas explained, “And then we discussed with my husband later and we realized we both thought the same thing so we thought maybe that’s is Lord, we’re coming, so is this our last day.  Are we coming to meet you?” Then they rushed outside.

“And then when we came out and completely outside and I looked and I realized that all these buildings were collapsed and that was so painful because this has been our ministry to our neighbors,” Elmas said.

“They know me as their Aunt Elmas, sometimes Mother Elmas, because we’ve been having them at church and playing games, sharing the Gospel for many, many years.  They grew up in our own hands, so to speak,” she recalled.

She cried as she said, “And now they are all gone now.  I’ve lost all of them. Some of them died and some of them are just spread around the country or medical help or they can’t live here anymore or they have moved to other cities and I’ve lost them all.” 

“Nothing is left,” Elmas said.  “And this has been our church for 23 years. All those years of love and for caring for everyone. Everything is gone completely.”

Still, Pastor Elmas has a positive outlook. 

“But my hope is great. Because we have been renting the old church building and we were asking the Lord to give our own church building and a year ago we spotted land and we started to build.  So this has already started, the new church building’s construction,” she explained.

Although the old church was destroyed by the earthquake, a new building they were preparing has not been destroyed, and it’s already open for ministry.

“There’s no more Antioch left but there will be a new Antioch. There will be a new church. And God has already give us that building for that. So that will be the new church and there’s no damage on that church,” Elmas said.

Despite the challenges that lie ahead, the people of Antioch remain determined to rebuild their city and restore their historic places of worship. 

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