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Loving God, Loving Others and Leading Others to do the Same

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Home » The Story of Samaritan’s Purse

Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian humanitarian organization, has its roots in the vision and dedication of its founder, Dr. Bob Pierce. The journey began in the 1970s, a time marked by the global outreach and evangelical missions of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Beginnings with Bob Pierce 

Dr. Bob Pierce was an evangelical preacher who had founded World Vision in the 1950s. His travels to war-torn and poverty-stricken areas worldwide revealed a desperate need for humanitarian aid. This realization led him to establish Samaritan’s Purse in 1970, aiming to meet emergency needs in crisis areas through existing evangelical mission agencies and national churches. 

Franklin Graham’s Leadership 

In the mid-1970s, Franklin Graham, the son of renowned evangelist Billy Graham, met Bob Pierce. At the time, Franklin was grappling with his faith and purpose. A pivotal moment came during a trip to Switzerland in 1974, where Billy Graham confronted Franklin about his spiritual direction. This encounter eventually led Franklin to dedicate his life to Christ. 

Bob Pierce recognized Franklin’s potential and invited him to join Samaritan’s Purse, seeing in him a leader who could carry the organization’s mission forward. After Bob Pierce’s death in 1978, Franklin Graham took on the leadership role. 

Challenges and Growth 

Initially, Samaritan’s Purse was a modest operation with a small team. Franklin faced the significant challenge of growing the organization and increasing its impact. One of the early breakthroughs came through an appearance on Jim Bakker’s PTL Club, which helped raise substantial funds for medical missions. 

The organization’s focus was to provide immediate relief and long-term recovery to people in need. From medical assistance, clean water projects, and disaster relief to child care and community development programs, Samaritan’s Purse expanded its outreach globally. 

Significant Milestones 

Over the years, Samaritan’s Purse has responded to numerous global crises, including: 

  1. 1980s Ethiopian Famine: Providing food and medical aid during one of the worst famines in history. 
  2. Hurricane Katrina (2005): Offering extensive disaster relief and rebuilding efforts in the United States. 
  3. Haiti Earthquake (2010): Delivering emergency assistance and long-term rebuilding projects. 

One of the organization’s most well-known initiatives is Operation Christmas Child, launched in 1993. This program sends millions of shoeboxes filled with gifts to children in over 160 countries, sharing the message of God’s love during the Christmas season. 

Current Work and Legacy 

Today, Samaritan’s Purse operates in more than 100 countries. The organization’s projects include: 

  • Emergency Relief: Rapid response to natural disasters and conflicts. 
  • Medical Missions: Mobile clinics, surgical teams, and medical supplies. 
  • Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene: Providing clean water and sanitation facilities. 
  • Agriculture and Livelihoods: Supporting sustainable farming and economic growth. 

Franklin Graham remains at the helm, continuing to guide the organization with a steadfast commitment to Christian principles. His leadership has ensured that Samaritan’s Purse not only addresses physical needs but also offers spiritual hope through the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Focus and Integrity 

A core tenet of Samaritan’s Purse under Franklin’s leadership has been unwavering focus on the gospel. Despite various opportunities to diversify or shift focus, the organization has remained committed to its foundational mission: providing aid in Jesus’ name without compromising its values. 

Conclusion Samaritan’s Purse stands as a testament to what can be achieved through faith-driven humanitarian work. Its history is a blend of visionary leadership, practical aid, and spiritual outreach, impacting millions of lives around the globe. Franklin Graham’s leadership, inspired by his father’s legacy and grounded in his own commitment to Christ, continues to drive the mission forward, ensuring that Samaritan’s Purse remains a beacon of hope and help in a hurting world. 

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