Some of the most popular Sunday School lessons we learn growing up is the story of The Good Samaritan. Many of us can quote it word for word: One man, beaten and left to die on the side of the road. Three men pass his way – a priest, a Levite, and a Samaritan. What sounds like the beginning of a joke, ends with the stranger tending to the needs of someone his race despised. This story of loving support was the beginning of Samaritan’s Purse, a calling placed on Bob Pierce to minister to those in emergency need across the world.
What is Needed Most?
“Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.” – Bob Pierce
Bob Pierce wrote these now famous words in his Bible after a visit to Korea during the post World War II era. He witnessed poverty and suffering in many countries during his tour of Asia as a journalist for Youth for Christ. God placed a burden in Pierce for the teams ministering to the needy. In 1970, he began Samaritan’s Purse to meet the emergency needs of those facing catastrophic events like earthquakes, hurricanes, war, and famine. They strived to mirror the Biblical account of the Good Samaritan – bandaging the wounds and providing for the needs, even while away.
What Samaritan’s Purse Does
Samaritan’s Purse has many tenants of ministry. They provide assistance internationally as well as domestically. All support given has Christ-centered roots; service in the Name of Jesus. Here is a sample of the ministries Samaritan’s Purse is involved in:
- International Crisis Response – Through strategically placed warehouses across the globe, they are able to arrive in an area that experiences a disaster quickly. Disaster Rapid Response teams provide food, water, shelter, and medicine when and wherever they are needed.
- Operation Christmas Child – In 2018, more than 10.6 million shoeboxes were sent to children in need. Churches pack these boxes with various items, from toys to personal care items. They also include the Gospel Message. While this ministry is year-round, the national collection period is in November. Volunteers then take the boxes to over 112 countries and territories across the world and delivered during Christmas.
- World Medical Mission – This is the medical arm of Samaritan’s Purse. Doctors, dentists, and other medical professionals volunteer their time to minister short term at Mission Hospitals in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Middle East, and the South Pacific. They provide critical care as well as spiritual care to the sick.
- Operation Heal our Patriots – This ministry helps military personnel who have returned from serving our country. This is beneficial, especially to our wounded patriots. They are aware of the complications that often occur when a soldier returns home. They aim to strengthen marriages and assist families to adjust to life maritally, physically, and spiritually after service.
Helping in Jesus’ Name
Today, Franklin Graham is at the helm of Samaritan’s Purse. He began working with Bob Pierce in 1973. His first real experience was in 1975. They went to tour some of the neediest countries across the world. There, God birthed in Franklin a heart for those in poverty, despair, and in need of knowing a loving Savior. Most of those he encountered only knew of the pagan gods they were told to believe in. His heart was to not only provide for the physical needs but the spiritual needs of those they would support.
Not only does Samaritan’s Purse minister on an international level, they minister here in the United States. After Hurricane Florence in September of 2018, teams from Billy Graham Rapid Response and Samaritan’s Purse went into immediate action to help those impacted by the disaster in North Carolina. This is not an isolated incident. They have assisted in most natural disasters that occur in the U.S. Sending people to provide food, shelter, and medical aid. They are active even now with the widespread flooding in Oklahoma and North Carolina.
Image source: samaritanspurse.com
Written by Jeff Bray