It was in 1970 that Bob Pierce founded Samaritan’s Purse, guided by an impassioned prayer that he wrote in his Bible after visiting suffering children on the Korean island of Koje-do:
“Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.”
His mission for the organization was “to meet emergency needs in crisis areas through existing evangelical mission agencies and national churches.”
Though Pierce died of leukemia in 1978, Samaritan’s Purse has continued providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritan’s Purse has helped meet needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God’s love through His Son, Jesus Christ.
“I thank God for all He has done through Samaritan’s Purse over the past 50 years,” says Samaritan's Purse President Franklin Graham, who met Pierce in 1973 and was tapped to lead the ministry a little over a year after Pierce’s passing.
“Through His grace, we have been able to respond to emergencies worldwide to save lives, relieve suffering, and share the hope of the Gospel. To God be the glory!” Graham says.
Today, Samaritan’s Purse is serving in more than 100 countries through crisis and disaster response; feeding programs; livelihood projects; construction projects; water, sanitation, and hygiene projects; programs for vulnerable women; health and medical projects such as World Media Mission and the Children’s Heart Project; Operation Christmas Child, which has collected and delivered more than 168 million shoebox gifts to children in more than 160 countries and territories since 1993; and Operation Heal Our Patriots, which has strengthened the marriages of members of the U.S. military who have been wounded or injured since 9/11.
The ministry’s specialty is meeting critical needs for victims of war, disaster, and famine in the world’s most troubled regions, often working through local churches and ministry partners. Samaritan’s Purse recently delivered emergency items and disaster relief personnel to Beirut, Lebanon, to help those who are recovering from the August 4 explosion that rocked their city. The ministry’s Disaster Assistance Response Team distributed relief supplies to more than 1,300 refugee families living near their local church partner, including Syrians, Armenians, and Sri Lankans.
Additionally, the organization has been serving communities struggling during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Its latest coronavirus response is in the northeast African nation of Sudan, where it is running a training center for frontline medical workers in order to bolster the national capacity to care for coronavirus patients.
In the United States, since Samaritan’s Purse equipped its first tractor-trailer Disaster Relief Unit in 1998, volunteers have helped some 50,000 families impacted by U.S. natural disasters — hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, floods, and ice storms — by quickly providing emergency supplies and cleaning, repairing, and rebuilding homes. Last year, Samaritan’s Purse responded to 16 disasters in 10 states, including tornadoes in Alabama, Missouri, and Ohio; a tropical storm in Texas; and flooding in Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Michigan.
Headquartered in Boone, North Carolina, Samaritan’s Purse has affiliate offices in Canada, the U.K., Australia, and Germany; field offices in 17 countries; and ministry partners in more than 100 countries.
“No matter where we go or what we do, we offer more than help. We offer hope,” states the ministry. “To suffering people in a broken world, we share the news of the only One who can bring true peace—Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.”
Samaritan’s Purse is a long-time member of NRB.
By NRB Staff
Published: September 17, 2020