Our Friends in Southwest Asia
For the past ten years, Turkey has become a refuge for over 4 million individuals, families, and children who have been displaced from their homes. About 3.7 million are of Syrian descent and have been migrating to Turkey since the crisis in Syria 10 years ago. As you can imagine, such an influx of people has a tremendous impact on infrastructure, housing, education, and other economic factors which have stirred social unrest among people groups in Turkey.
Tensions have only increased with the potential of a new influx of refugees following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. The UNHCR has projected that there will be more than 420,000 places of resettlement needed for Turkey in 2021. Furthermore, the International Labor Organization (ILO) reports that about one million Syrian refugees have taken under-the-table jobs just so they can have enough money to buy food.
Our long-time friends of Orangewood who serve as ministry partners in Southwest Asia(their names are withheld for their own safety) have confirmed these reports. Our friends shared that they often see children and families sifting through trash to gather recyclable materials(plastic, cardboard, etc.) so they can sell the materials for money.
The COVID-19 pandemic also proved to be devastating to the economy and increased the percentage of unemployment. The church where our ministry partners serve was not immune to this crisis as nearly 15 members of their church have lost their jobs.
In an effort to respond to the crisis, our ministry partners in Southwest Asia have been supporting these members financially until they can find sustainable work and providing food cards that allow people to purchase food items such as rice, flour, and eggs.
Though Turkey is not a closed country when helping those in need from other countries or parts of Turkey where conflict is happening, there are real challenges to sharing the gospel because of broader political issues that have to be navigated. There is a desire and opportunity to help the “least of these” but in ways that do not unnecessarily put them or the church in difficult straits with the authorities. Meeting the tangible needs around them is just one of the ways they do this.
This November Orangewood is raising financial aid that will be allocated to our ministry partners to help care for the refugee children and church families who have been adversely affected by both the pandemic and tensions in the Middle East. This giving opportunity called Thanks:Giving will last from November 14-30, and you can give by clicking on the Thanks:Giving button on the Church Center homepage or by visiting orangewood.org/thanksgiving.