CENTRAL ASIA UPDATE
IMPORTANT SECURITY UPDATE
There have been some significant developments in Turkey recently which could potentially affect our situation, so we wanted to send you an update to help clarify things as much as possible.
***DUE TO THE SENSITIVE NATURE OF THIS INFORMATION, WE ASK YOU TO PLEASE NOT FORWARD ANY OF THIS UPDATE (ESPECIALLY ON SOCIAL MEDIA). FEEL FREE TO SHARE SOME OF THE GENERAL CONTENTS AS NECESSARY, BUT PLEASE DO SO WITH WISDOM AND CAUTION***
BREAKDOWN OF THE SITUATION
Some of you might have seen this in the news, but within the last 2 weeks the US Department of State has removed all military and government families from the city of Izmir due to security concerns.
We've spent a lot of time over the past week monitoring developments and collecting as much information as we can alongside our leaders on the field, and we feel like we now have enough of a pulse on the situation to communicate things clearly to you guys.
We aren't able to go into much detail at the moment, but overall we have been really encouraged by the new intel. We have been receiving dozens of reports over the past week from our security team who has been fantastic throughout this situation. They have communicated directly with the department of state, they have information from a meeting with the US consulate, and they have been collaborating with a diverse group of American organizations in Turkey to determine the benchmark response to these developments.
GENERAL HIGHLIGHTS FROM SOURCES
1. The reason for the recent evacuation from Izmir was based on a previous voluntary evacuation in September. In short, a voluntary evacuation of military families can only last 6 months, and because it was issued in September it was necessary for this order to either be removed or made mandatory in March.
2. The evacuation was based on "overall security trends" and not concrete threats
3. These precautions were intended for governmental/military personnel, not permanent US ex-pats. Because government and military personnel are more likely targets, the Department of State is being more proactive with these groups
4. The consulate does not believe it is unwise for US ex-pats to live in Izmir right now
5. Almost all companies are advising proactive security protocol, but are not restricting travel or residence in Izmir
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR US
Obviously this is still a fluid situation, but we feel much better about the recent intel and developments. Based on information from the consulate and our security team, our plan right now is to continue as planned with our travel arrangements and to continue monitoring the situation closely as things unfold. We still feel very confident about God's call on our life and are excited to share the gospel with the Turkish people. We know that our hope and security does not ultimately depend on circumstances, but from the sovereignty of God.
2. That God would give David wisdom and discernment and would give Kelley peace and comfort throughout this situation
3. That God would protect the families currently living in Turkey
4. That God would be with our friends and family as they emotionally process this situation with us