ISTANBUL (The New York Times, Jan. 1, 2016) — A major Turkish military operation to eradicate Kurdish militants in Turkey’s restive southeast has turned dozens of urban districts into bloody battlefields, displacing hundreds of thousands of civilians and shattering hopes of reviving peace as an old war reaches its deadliest level in two decades.
Over the past week, Turkish tanks and artillery have pounded Kurdish targets across several southeast cities, killing at least 200 militants and more than 150 civilians, according to human rights groups and local officials.
Their descriptions of the fighting and mass destruction in populated areas, which are off-limits to journalists, depict war zones not unlike the scenes in neighboring Syria to the south.
It is good for those living in this land that God made a promise to Noah — and all of mankind — that “the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh
” (Genesis 9:15
). Not much has changed in the world since the LORD saw “that the wickedness of man was great” and “regretted that he had made man,” and in His grief decided to “blot out man
” (Genesis 6:5, 6, 7
). The evil of man rages on from the mountains of Ararat to the ends of the earth.
The refugee crisis spawned in Syria poses problems and challenges — and opportunities! — around the world. As Christians, we are called to “love the alien
” (Leviticus 19:34
) and to “welcome the stranger
” (Matthew 25:35-36
), as Thomas Albinson of the World Evangelical Alliance wrote.
In Turkey, the ugliness of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government turning again on the Kurdish population may impact the work of Climbing For Christ. Mount Ararat was closed in August 2015 due, to what one Turkish friend called, “the political situation in the area.” There is hope that permits will be given out in 2016, but with violence escalating in eastern and southeastern Turkey, the mountain may remain closed. We continue to weigh options.
Mission: Ararat 2016 is scheduled for July. This year’s mission is family oriented with God leading Climbing For Christ’s first family to Turkey. Three of the four Fallesens have ministered among the Kurdish people the past three years. We have seen the potential success of using family relationships in our outreach to Kurdish families and Turkish friends, prompting us to pray into this divine notion.
May God watch over us and lead us to deeper relationships among the Kurds – and for the Kurds to develop a relationship with the God of the Bible.
for peace to return to the Kurdish people so news about the Prince of Peace may be delivered among them.
to support the work to be done in Turkey. If you would like to sponsor one of the climbing Fallesens you can do so HERE
on a future expedition to Mount Ararat. The 2016 trip is closed and future missions may be determined by what occurs in Turkey this summer. Stay tuned!