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Field kitchens show God’s love Field kitchens show God’s love

ISTANBUL, Turkey (BP)–Southern Baptists have set up two field kitchens to minister to survivors of an Aug. 17 earthquake that killed at least 14,000 people and left 600,000 people homeless.
Two five-man teams staffed by volunteers from Texas Baptist Men are supervising the operation of the kitchens in tent cities in Adapazari and Golcuk. Approval also has been received to set up feeding operations in Izmit and Yalova.
The kitchens can serve up to 5,000 meals twice a day to residents of the tent cities. Evangelicals in Turkey hope to set up community center ministries near the kitchens to offer children’s programs and medical services.
A team of 15 Southern Baptist volunteers from Georgia arrived in Turkey Aug. 29 to join the effort. A five-member team from Ohio arrived the following day. Both teams will be working in the feeding operation, distributing relief supplies and helping with medical and media work, according to coordinators of the Southern Baptist relief effort.
During the last week of August, a team of more than 200 Christian volunteers from nine countries delivered relief supplies — including diapers, toilet paper, antiseptics and toys — to families in Izmit and Adapazari whose homes were destroyed in the earthquake.
In addition, the group hand-manufactured and set up more than 1,000 six-person tents for the homeless. A shoe drive has been launched to collect footwear from Istanbul residents for people in areas struck hardest by the earthquake.
With the help of Southern Baptist relief funds, Hope International Church in Istanbul purchased a water truck to deliver clean drinking water to needy cities. Baptist workers also have made water purification units available to the Turkish government, if the need for those becomes apparent.
Southern Baptist relief officials immediately dispatched $100,000 to workers in the area when news of the catastrophe broke.
When people are suffering so badly, Christians are compelled to follow the example and teachings of Jesus and share the hope of the gospel by ministering to human needs, said one of the Texas Baptist volunteers.
“Jesus always met people’s physical needs, but he also ministered to them,” said Mel Goodwin, who leads the kitchen team in Golcuk. “He showed concern and love. Just showing these people that someone out there still cares about them after they lost so many of their family members and everything they own, it’ll lift them up.”
Contributions designated for Turkey relief efforts may be sent to Southern Baptist World Relief, P.O. Box 6767, Richmond, VA 23230.

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  • Mark Kelly