“Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.” This is the mission statement of Bob Pierce who founded Samaritan’s Purse in 1970. In 1973, Bob met Franklin Graham and the two began traveling together. When Bob died of leukemia in 1978 Franklin became the president and CEO.
The name, “Samaritan’s Purse”, was chosen based on Luke 10:25-37, the story of the Good Samaritan who stopped to help the victimized man on the Jericho Road. For the past 50 years this organization has been a first responder to natural disasters of hurricanes, floods, fires, and earthquakes. It has applied the above passage of scripture on a global scale.
Samaritan’s Purse is headquartered in Boone, North Carolina, USA, and has offices and warehouses in various parts of the globe, ready to respond to disasters where victims have lost all they had. Their rapid response team of 6,000 worldwide employees and an army of volunteers provide food, clean water, along with medicine, shelters, and other life-saving supplies. They have eight tractor/trailers, along with kitchen and shower trailers. The ministry also has a fleet of 24 aircraft, including two helicopters and two cargo jets, a Douglas DC8 and a Boeing 757.
It has been a busy year of 2023. Recovery and relief has been provided in several U.S. states, including the Hawaiian Island of Maui, to where 24 tons of supplies were airlifted. For two earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, Samaritan’s Purse flew in a 52-bed Emergency Field Hospital, with two operating rooms, 4 ICU beds, an ER, and pharmacy. Also included were 7,000 emergency shelter tents, and even fans, sunshades, and mini-refrigerators. This organization leaves nothing out!
Over the course of the war in Ukraine, 41 recovery and relief missions have delivered 200 million pounds of food, and 80,000 liters of clean water! In addition, 20,000 patients have been treated.
Besides doing recovery and relief work, Samaritan’s Purse also has ministries with orphanages, academies, military families, and children. Operation Christmas Child packs shoe boxes with items for children and distributes them all over the world. Many local churches are involved. It is the largest Christmas project of its kind in the world, with 540,000 volunteers. Since 1993, it has collected more than 209 million shoe boxes and given them to children in more than 170 nations.
Let’s bring this all down to a personal level. 1 John 3:17-18 says, “If anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” Matthew 25:35-40 says when we do these things for others in dire need, Jesus states, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”
Is there some person you know who is going through very difficult times that is “breaking the heart of God?” Perhaps you can be God’s instrument for recovery and relief. If there is ever a natural disaster near where you live might you consider helping those who have lost all they had. One final note: Let us all be thankful for all we have and take nothing for granted.
*Information on Samaritan’s Purse provided by Grace Carson