“I can never forget that sound,” Lucine says.
That’s what Lucine still carries with her from the early morning hours of February 6, 2023—the day a massive series of earthquakes struck southern Turkey and northwestern Syria. Lucine and her family are from Aleppo, one of the places in Syria hid hardest by the disaster.
Others have described the roar of the earthquake. It’s the sound of apocalypse, the knowledge that everything you knew before is now different.
Lucine and her family knew they had to get out of their apartment. A wave of dust raced from the living room to the bedroom—their apartment was beginning to crumble around them. She gripped her daughter’s hand, and they raced down the stairs. “Don’t let go, mother,” her daughter told Lucine. “If we die, we die together.”
They sprinted down the stairs, jumping over fallen masonry in the stairwell, making it outside. They could hear the sounds of mortar and stone falling from around their once-familiar neighborhood. Lucine was heartbroken. “I thought I would never see my home again,” she remembers.
“We know that God is with us, and He will guide us through this darkness.”
But Lucine’s faith was intact, even as the world around her broke into pieces. The family holds an unwavering hope in God’s providence. "We are Christians, and in times like these, we find strength in our unity,” Lucine says. “We know that God is with us, and He will guide us through this darkness.”
Lucine was just one of more than 12,300 people who received help from Open Doors partners in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake. Thanks to the gifts and prayers of Open Doors supporters around the world, our partners were able to make an immediate impact and to leap into action to create immediate plans for long-term support. People were helped right away with things like food, warm clothes and medical aid.
And now, the long-term support has begun.
Engineers from our partner organization have begun inspecting the homes of Syrian Christians to see if they are ready for occupancy. In Aleppo alone, 1,200 homes have been inspected and where needed, repairs have already started. Lucine’s was one of these!
One of our partners, Ibrahim
*, estimates that Open Doors is responsible for over 70% of the total response to the need of Christian families in the earthquake. It’s vital for this support to continue in Syria, especially as the country’s economic situation remains dire.
“When you’re surrounded with people that didn’t leave, you know you’re not alone.”
“Every week, a Christian person or family I know is leaving the country, especially the younger generation,” he says. “For me, every Christian around me in Syria has a reason to stay in the country. But it is getting harder and harder when I see people of my inner circle leaving. [But] when you’re surrounded with people that didn’t leave, you know you’re not alone.”
This makes the work on home restoration even more meaningful—it means the Christian community can remain in Syria, growing the church there and acting as salt and light in their cities and neighbourhoods.
Lucine’s apartment is still under construction as of this article—but one bedroom has been finished. The family was so eager to go home that they’ve moved into the single room as construction continues. Their belongings are still covered in plastic; the apartment still smells like paint.
Lucine and family sitting in their home that is undergoing repairs after the earthquakes
But they’re home.
Lucine and her family found comfort in their Christian community, knowing that they were not alone in their struggles. Their church stood as a beacon of hope and support, ready to lend a helping hand with the help from Open Doors supporters.
- Ask the Lord to use the church more and more as a beacon in the city, to spread His Word
- Pray for the leadership and people volunteering in the church, as they try to help Syrian Christians grow in their relationships with Jesus
- May God provide resources as our partner churches are helping at least 50,000 Christians with earthquake relief in the near future.
You can give now to support Open Doors partners in Syria and Turkey as they support people impacted by the earthquakes. Your gift can help provide long-term support as the community seeks to rebuild and restore their lives.
*When the projects have been fully funded, your donation will go to where most needed.