11/28/11  Chuck and I are having an amazing experience learning about Muslims.  We have only been in Turkey two months and I doubt that other Islamic countries are as warm-hearted as Turkey. The Muslim people of Turkey have put the Quran to good use.  They routinely without hesitation extend their hands to the poor, the disadvantaged, their neighbor, and the foreigner.  They are huge lovers of people and uniformly give priority to hospitality and care of others over their own selfish interests.   We have experienced this kindness from Istanbul down the west coast cities of the Mediteranian Sea through their southern provinces all the way to the eastern border near Syria and Iran. Here in Van where they have been devastated by earthquakes, the city of 800,000 is dotted with tents for any and all possible victims of the earthquake.  We have spent two days with officials of the general directorate of civil defence at their crisis center as well as their military as they politely investigate us to determine whether we are of good reputation and acceptable to help their people. The kind consideration they extend to us is unlike what we have experienced before.   We are more familiar with a polite, efficient brushoff such as leave your name and number at the front desk and we’ll get back to you. Here we receive friendly discussions with numerous individuals whether we are walking down a street, riding a minibus, or purchasing a ticket; they are always helpful and alert for the opportunity to help someone out whether they are asked or not.  This is a picture of one of their tent cities complete with recreation center, beauty salon, kindergarten, meeting rooms and mosque.  Many surrounding nations have sent them supplies for their tent cities.  They will be building a small city very near Van for the victims of the earthquakes within the year. Tomorrow Chuck and I will be meeting again with the general directorate of the civil defense for the crisis center.  He has offered us Kurdish and Turkish translators and transportation to and from the tent cities so that we may help tramatized children.  If this actually happens we will need your prayers to be effective in helping these children and their families.  Love, Claire