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Friday, December 2, 2011

Turkey: Christians Minister to Van Earthquake Victims

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

VAN, TURKEY (ANS) -- Christian organisations including Elam Ministries ( are providing relief to the victims of the devastating earthquake which hit the Turkish city of Van on October 23, 2011.

A woman survivor pulled
from the rubble

The city was also hit by a second earthquake on November 9, 2011. Thousands were left homeless, while over 600 people lost their lives.

Van, which is home to a large number of Iranian refugees, contains an Iranian Christian church which was founded by Elam. This church is the first Christian church in Van for 100 years.

Rev. Sam Yeghnazar, Elam's Founder and Director, says that the church is being used to provide around 100 hot meals a day in the church to people who have suffered as a result of the earthquake. In addition, hundreds of food parcels are prepared in the church and distributed around Van every day.

Rev. Sam Yeghnazar

“Immediately after the quake, fifty people came and lived in the church,” says Rev. Yeghnazar. “Tents and blankets are being given out to those without shelter. This has been a time of witness. People who had never met Christians before, have now come and been fed and comforted. I am so glad our church building has been used as a center to provide relief.”

Since the earthquake, Elam has been working closely with the mayor, Rev. Yeghnazar says. “We are in discussions about how to provide pre-fabricated shelter, and there is an urgent need for maintenance work on the water system,” he says.

Rev. Yeghnazar says that Elam would like to hear from people with expertise in these areas.

In addition, Elam has appealed for funds to help its relief efforts in Van.

To donate to the Van relief work, go to and, on the pull-down menu below “Towards the following:”, select “Van earthquake relief fund.”

CCTV footage shows Pastor’s courage

Survivors sleep in tents in sub-freezing weather without proper clothing. They run the risk of bronchitis -- and worse -- from the cold as well as the smoky fires lit inside their tents for warmth
(Photo: )

“Recently, I saw remarkable CCTV footage of the Van church as the earthquake began,” says Rev. Yeghnazar. “I saw the building shaking and people rushing out in fear. But then the pastor of the church returned. He put out his hands towards the walls of the church in prayer. He was pleading with God that the church would stand as a witness. Praise God, his prayer was answered.”

Rev. Yeghnazar says that amazingly, none of the members of the church were harmed during the earthquake. “Church members are eager to do all they can to their neighbors who have suffered,” he says.


Dan Wooding, 70, is an award winning British journalist now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for 48 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. He is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS) and was, for ten years, a commentator, on the UPI Radio Network in Washington, DC. He now hosts the weekly “Front Page Radio” show on KWVE in Southern California which is also carried throughout the United States. The program is also aired in Great Britain on Calvary Chapel Radio UK and also in Belize and South Africa. Besides this, Wooding is a host for His Channel Live, which is carried via the Internet to some 200 countries and also provides a regular commentary for Worship Life Radio on KWVE. You can follow Dan Wooding on Facebook under his name there or at ASSIST News Service. He is the author of some 44 books. Two of the latest include his autobiography, “From Tabloid to Truth”, which is published by Theatron Books. To order a copy, press this link. Wooding, who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, has also recently released his first novel “Red Dagger” which is available this link.

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