David Byles: Update on Flooded Building

David Byles: Update on Flooded Building


Dear friends

Some of you may have already heard from other sources, but the BCC’s new building was flooded on the very day we were moving into it, this past Saturday…

Here’s a video that shows the water rushing down into the basement. My assistant Damla took the video, and had to use the fire escape in the back of the building to get out!​

View from our building when flood was at its peakWe learned later that the flood was not caused by the size of the storm but by the city’s negligence. Neighbors who’ve lived there all their lives said that they’ve never had a flood there before, but the city was doing construction work around a stream that flows near our new building. To complete the work they had closed off most of the stream bed and didn’t remove these things when the storm came. So when the rain waters collected and gushed down the stream bed they took away much of the construction equipment, which then got stuck and blocked the stream, causing the flood.

We had already moved 2 or 3 truckloads of stuff from our old building to the new one before the rains hit. Thankfully most of the books had not yet been brought over, but quite a few had been, and they had been put in the basement, which filled with about a meter of water…

Some of us stayed there almost the whole night waiting for our turn to have the city’s water removal team bring the big mobile sump pump to remove most of the water from our basement.

Thankfully we had installed a ventilation system just weeks before, and our own sump pump, which we were able to turn on the very next day when they turned the electricity back on. Then we called in the movers, as well as a host of volunteers from various churches around Istanbul, to help with the cleanup…

Amazingly, in just two days almost all the mess had been cleaned up. And amazingly, we had just purchased building insurance the week before it happened! When the insurance adjuster showed up 3 days later to inspect the damage, I think he would have thought the flood never affected our building if it weren’t for the photos we showed him. 🙂 You can pray that we’ll get a good payment from the insurance agency.

As you can imagine, we’re trying to understand what the Lord might be saying to us through all this. Someone reminded us of Psalm 66:12: “we went through fire [the arson attack last year?] and through water [last week’s flood?]; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.” If so, the abundance we’d like to see is an abundance of spiritual, eternal fruit, an abundance of people in Turkey coming to faith and being added to local churches, an abundance of holiness among God’s people, bringing honor to Christ and attracting still more people to come to know our Savior. An abundance of positive response to our evangelistic efforts, and an abundance of courage among Turkish believers in making Jesus known in this season of unprecedented openness.

Certainly it has given us ample opportunity to get to know our neighbors, most of which seem quite happy that we’ve moved here. We had several divine appointments on the day of the flood and the days after. One guy (an agnostic philosophy university student who lives next door) whom we met the first night said, “I don’t think our meeting is a coincidence; maybe God caused me to meet you all to reignite faith in me.” Another man requested a New Testament after some of our volunteers helped clean our his daughter’s basement apartment/flat. We’ve helped and been been helped by many neighbors during this time. And in fact there’s still more clean up to do, so pray we have still more volunteers come to help others in our neighborhood in the upcoming days. 

Since then we’ve been working hard on getting settled into the new building. Quite a few small things remain to be done, but the builders are working closely with us to get them all done, so we hope in the next week or so the bulk of the work will be done. 

We still have more items we need to buy for the building, so if you or others are interesting in helping to buy chairs, office equipment, shelving materials, or garden walls, please let us know. We’d love to show you around this amazing building that the Lord has provided through the generosity of so many saints from so many different countries!

Lots, lots more to tell, but this is enough for now. Amazing days these are. What does the Lord have in store for this coming year? We look forward with expectancy… 

Yours in Christ,


 p.s. Here’s two videos reports I made, one from just two days after the flood, and then an interview with some of our staff a couple days later…

Carrying out bags of soaked books