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Samaritan's Purse

Samaritan's Purse is a Christian relief and evangelical organization that meets emergency needs around the world. Samaritan's Purse works through local churches, missionaries, and Christian missions to spread the gospel by meeting the physical and spiritual needs of victims of war, famine, disease, and natural disasters. The current leader and chairman of the board of Samaritan's Purse is Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham. Franklin is also chairman of the board of World Medical Mission, the medical arm of Samaritan's Purse. World Medical Mission was founded in 1977 and helps mission hospitals spread the gospel by providing volunteer medical personnel, equipment, training and financial assistance. The following short excerpts are taken from Franklin Graham's autobiography titled "Rebel With A Cause", with the exception of what's in brackets [ ].

"Tenwek"

"Shortly after my return...I asked Dr. Lowell Furman to join me for a survey trip to visit mission hospitals in Africa that wanted our help. It was our strong conviction that before we sent a doctor overseas to work in a hospital, either I or one of our board members should go and see it firsthand so we would know what we were getting into. One of our stops would be at Tenwek Hospital in western Kenya.

To reach Tenwek, an extremely remote area, we had to fly in a small plane across the Great Rift Valley and mile after mile of African bush. This was an exhilarating experience. Our pilot, Keith Jones, once had been with the Royal Air Force (RAF) and had flown planes off aircraft carriers in the rough waters of the North Sea. He handled the Cessna as if he were on a bombing mission.

As we approached Tenwek, Keith said, "We've got to let the hospital know we've arrived." He dived to treetop level and buzzed across the hospital compound with the engine wide open. It would have been a great strafing run--the only thing missing was the sound of machine guns. After terrorizing those below, Keith banked sharply to the right and climbed out. As we circled above, he said, "I think I'll go down one more time to make sure they heard us."

Lowell and I looked at each other. Neither of us said anything, but I knew we both were thinking: Make sure they heard us? That last pass was so loud, the dead probably hear us! No question--we had a wild man at the controls!

Keith yelled at us again, "Write a note on the back of several of your business cards. Ask the missionaries to meet us at the airport." I wrote the message.

This time Keith cut the engine, slowing the plane's speed, and came in even lower--I felt like I could almost reach down and touch the heads of the people who were looking up, wide-eyed, at us. As the plane drifted over the hospital, I waited until our pilot yelled, "Now!"

I dropped the cards. They fluttered to the ground, and several children raced to pick them up...Keith set us down smoothly, and within minutes hundreds of people appeared out of nowhere and surrounded the aircraft...Within half an hour a VW van came bouncing down the dirt road that paralleled the strip. Out hopped a slender man of medium height. He greeted us with an infectious grin. "I got your card," he said. "My name is Dr. Ernie Steury."

Ernie, Lowell, and I immediately felt a common bond, and our visit got off to a great start. The hospital had an impressive, efficient ministry, and over the next two years I made several trips back to assess their needs. The hospital was seriously overcrowded with their 130 beds often filled to 200 percent occupancy!

Each time I visited I would ask, "Ernie, why don't you build a new ward? You need more space."

"Maybe someday," he would answer with that bright smile of his.

On one of my trips, Ernie told me they now had plans to build a new ward.

"How much do you think it will cost?" I asked.

"About four hundred thousand dollars," Ernie replied.

"How much money have you raised?"

"Nothing," he said with a laugh. "We don't have any money but God knows our need."

I smiled, too, because I was remembering the missionaries in Jordan and others I'd met over the years who had the same confident attitude. That kind of faith always got my blood pumping. I really wanted to do something...

It took several years to build that ward at Tenwek because of the hospital's remote location. It was difficult to get steel, concrete, and skilled laborers, but God provided.

When the hospital was completed, Kenya's president, His Excellency Daniel T. Arap Moi, came to the dedication and personally opened the new ward with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. In his address to the thousands who had gathered in the hot African sun, he reminded everyone that the name "Tenwek" came from the early missionaries who had come to the region at the turn of the century. They had walked "ten weeks" from the coast to reach that part of Kenya.

President Moi praised the early missionaries who had brought the gospel of Jesus Christ at great personal sacrifice. And he thanked the doctors and nurses of today for their service to the people of Kenya.

Shortly after the dedication at Tenwek, I learned about the hospital's need for Bibles. Of the thirty thousand patients who had been treated in twelve months time, eight thousand had made decisions to follow Jesus..."

[Evangelism Walks on Two Legs: Now stop right here. I want you to realize a significant principle that's at work here--whether applied on a individual, local church, national or international level--these 30,000 people in one year had been shown the demonstrated gospel of Christ, and now they hungered for the written and spoken gospel of Christ. The preached gospel is not that effective without the lovingly demonstrated gospel of Jesus Christ. The point being, the effective presentation of the gospel walks forward on two legs, the active demonstrated Word, and the spoken or written Word of God. The old saying "Actions speak louder than words" applies to the presentation of the gospel as equally it does in any other situation. 8,000 divided by 30,000 = 26.7 percent. That means almost 30 percent who experienced both forms of the gospel acting upon their lives gave their lives to Jesus Christ. Two or three percent return on your investment in business and advertising is considered very good in the modern business world. This is a whopping 30 percent return on investment!

"...I told him that Samaritan's Purse would buy a thousand--I was operating in the "God room" mode again, because we did not have money set aside for this. Just two days later, one of our Samaritan's Purse surgeons who was serving at another hospital offered to pay for the Bibles. Praise the Lord!

I was realizing more and more that when we faithfully present the world's needs to God's people, they do respond...

...I began to get invitations to speak at various events. As I accepted those invitations, I decided I would never ask for money. Although it was tempting to change the strategy, I stuck to our policy of not giving emotional appeals or twisting the arms of God's people. If people offered to help, we would gratefully accept their gifts on behalf of the Lord. But I wasn't going to ask....We stuck to our original plan: Present the facts, let people know the need, and then back off. We would let the Holy Spirit do the rest. We learned it works."

Samaritan's Purse has given emergency aid and/or set up emergency hospitals in such war torn areas and hot-spots as Bosnia, the Iraqi-Turkish border, Lebanon during their civil war, Rwanda, Nicaragua, Jordan, as well as many other places around the world, and continues to do so anywhere disaster strikes. Franklin has noticed that in many of these circumstances it took weeks or even months to set up portable hospitals and aid stations that could have been set up within forty-eight hours. Had this been possible, many more lives could have been saved. With this observation he has a dream. It is my hope this dream becomes a reality. In his own words, here is his dream:

"...I can't help but envision a C130 Hercules transport aircraft that could carry a Disaster Response Team made up of Christian professionals, to any part of the world in a time of crisis. This type of plane can land on just about any kind of runway in the world.

Perhaps one day the Lord will allow us to equip such an aircraft, with medicines, supplies, water, and a MASH-type hospital unit that could lift off at a moment's notice in response to a Rwanda or Bosnia. Instead of taking weeks or months to get medical personnel on the ground in such critical situations, a C130 could be airborne within forty-eight hours, fully equipped and staffed with doctors and nurses from the United States and Canada.

A project of this magnitude could cost as much as $15 million to set up, and possibly $2 million a year to maintain. But the lives it could save and the avenues it could open to the gospel are vast.

We see humanitarian organizations worldwide like the International Red Cross and others responding to human tragedy. They do a tremendous work, but they are missing the most important ingredient for healing the hurts of the world--the message of God's love.

What a testimony it would be to the name of Jesus Christ for a Christian organization to be on the cutting edge of disaster relief--bringing God's redemptive love to a lost and dying world.

Samaritan's Purse is a small organization with limited assets, but God's resources are immeasurable. A dream--yes, a future reality--I certainly hope so, if "God room" prevails."

[These excerpts were taken from Franklin Graham's autobiography "Rebel With A Cause". For information on how to obtain a copy of this book which describes an incredible work of God and the man the Lord has appointed to currently run it, click on http://www.christianbook.com. It is currently available for ordering online for $9.99 (retail price $12.99), paperback, 336 pages, ISBN # 0785271708. In the search section click on Title and then where is says for type in "Rebel With A Cause", and click on Go Or you can contact Samaritan's Purse at: http://www.samaritanspurse.org. Ordering and reading this book will give you a full picture of what Samaritan's Purse is all about and how powerfully the gospel of Jesus Christ is promoted with so little resources--truly an example of the missing dimension in the successful promotion and proclamation of the gospel! This is a true picture of the style of servant leadership that Jesus taught his disciples about (read Mark 9:33-35 and Matthew 20:20-28) and it is a vital key to successful evangelism at all levels, personal, local church, national and international. Support of Samaritan's Purse strongly promotes the gospel on the international level.]

"To see how you can personally help promote international evangelism and make difference for Christ around the world without ever stepping foot outside your house, CLICK HERE."

 

Content Editor Peter Benson -- no copyright, except where noted.  Please feel free to use this material for instruction and edification
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