Maria and Lorenzo Morales in Loma Alta, Honduras, received two females and one male goat through our animals and agriculture program. Since Lorenzo has been drinking the goat milk every morning this year, his health has improved. They were also able to give a few of the goats‘ offspring to other needy families in their community. This program is helping to provide nutrition and alleviate poverty for small, rural farming families in 22 communities throughout the country.
A devastating famine ravaged much of Kenya in 2011. Samaritan’s Purse was in the region and responded with emergency food and other support. Since then, we have been helping communities like Kunani learn how to prevent such food shortages in the future by teaching them farming techniques specifically designed for dry areas. Now, instead of relying on two major rains, water is harvested for use all year long. Farms like this one provide women with the opportunity to grow their own food while praying and reading the Bible together.
When Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines on November 8, 2013, it killed more than 6,000 people and displaced 4 million. In the year that followed, Samaritan’s Purse responded by meeting basic needs—health, clean water, food, and shelter—while working with the local churches to meet spiritual needs.
Operation Christmas Child distributed nearly 10 million shoebox gifts in 2014. In many cases, volunteers in the country, like these in Uganda, had to find creative ways to get gifts to previously unreached people groups.
More than 150,000 children received Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts in Honduras this year. After receiving the boxes, children were invited to church to participate in a 12-week discipleship program.
Many children who receive shoebox gifts have never before had a gift of their own. Even simple items like school supplies and hygiene basics can mean a chance for a better life. This boy and girl are among more than 150,000 children in Honduras to receive a gift this year.
The Greatest Journey is a 12-week discipleship program. Children who receive Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts are invited to church to learn about faith in Jesus Christ and how to share it with others. More than 1.8 million children participated in the program this year, including these children in Uganda.
A Samaritan’s Purse Vietnam staff partner worked with village health workers to identify and treat children in the northern highlands who have symptoms of malnutrition. Pla, a 21-year-old Hmong mother, received nutrition and hygiene training, vegetable seeds for planting, and supplemental food for her baby girl. The little one went from moderate acute malnutrition to a normal weight during a period of six months.
In Kitui County, Kenya, Samaritan’s Purse has started a demonstration farm, where we are teaching dry-land farming techniques to area residents. Because of the sparse amount of rain that falls in this part of the country, community members learn to harvest as much rainwater as possible so that it can be used throughout the year. This extends the growing season, which helps farmers grow enough food to feed their families and have enough left over to sell at market. This project also provides an opportunity for the women to share their faith with one another—through singing hymns while they work to sharing the hope of Jesus Christ and His abundant love.
When South Sudanese fled violence last December, many of them found refuge at Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement in Uganda. Every week, Samaritan’s Purse fed 20,000 refugees in the camp.
Stacey Kelley, wife of Army veteran David Kelley, was baptized in Lake Clark during the first week of Operation Heal Our Patriots in 2014. She and David trusted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior earlier in the week. Between June and September, 55 individuals made commitments to Christ, 66 were baptized, and 81 couples rededicated their marriages.
In March, we launched a campaign to help restore the joy of motherhood in remote Cambodia. Through the money raised, the women in the Kratie province now have two beautiful new Community Birthing Centers where they can stay before and after deliveries. We’ve been able to train more than 225 midwives and 450 community health volunteers, who provide health information to community members. Little Rong Pheara (bottom right) suffered from malnutrition and fell down often because he was so weak. Through this program, his mother, Voeun, learned how to provide better nutrition for her children. Rong is now able to walk and play like a healthy 2-year-old.
Volunteers help construct houses after a flood devastated a small, isolated community in Galena, Alaska. Originally the community was a bit wary of the visitors trying to help, but pretty soon tensions thawed, and now more doors have opened as a result of deepening relationships. “It’s been a great witness for the Gospel, and I think it’s made a lot of opportunities to share and love on people and pray for them,” said Dan Burton, a program manager with Samaritan‘s Purse U.S. Disaster Relief. “Christians showing love on the community has made an impact. The level of gratefulness out here now is different than when we first got here.”
The Tana River Valley of Kenya is a dry and desolate region where rain falls just twice a year. But in Kumbi village, community members have harnessed the power of the intense desert sun to power a water pump.
Four-year-old Nomin (below left) was diagnosed with a heart defect two years after she was born. A doctor told her parents that there was no hope for her in Mongolia, but he pointed them to Children’s Heart Project. The Samaritan’s Purse project was able to bring Nomin to North America for the surgery she needed. She was the 1,000th child to receive surgery through the project.
In March, Samaritan’s Purse joined together with several Children’s Heart Project volunteers—from host families to doctors—to celebrate the 1,000th surgery and, more importantly, the spiritual impact the project has brought to these children’s communities (below right). “We’re not just celebrating a thousand hearts,” Cissie Graham Lynch said. “We would never be able to calculate how many hearts we’re really celebrating tonight.”
In August, Dr. Kent Brantly was released from the isolation unit of Emory University Hospital after miraculously recovered from the deadly Ebola virus. His welcoming line of the doctors and nurses who treated him was the first human contact he had since contracting the disease while working with Samaritan’s Purse to care for patients in Liberia. “Today is a miraculous day,” Dr. Brantly said at a news conference at the hospital. “I am thrilled to be alive, to be well and to be reunited with my family. … Above all, I am forever thankful to God for sparing my life and am glad for any attention my sickness has attracted for the plight of West Africa in the midst of this epidemic.”
This summer, Samaritan’s Purse partnered with schools and churches to host six soccer tournaments in four areas of Honduras. Children in these neighborhoods are in constant danger of gang recruitment and violence. The soccer tournaments give them a place of safety. The beloved sport also offers a wonderful platform to teach children about Christ and to help them get connected with their local churches. For many, it was the first time they heard that Jesus cares about them and wants to have a personal relationship with them.
Our international medical team provided 56 surgeries to cleft-lip and cleft-palate patients this November in South Sudan. Dr. Jim Wade of Abingdon, Virginia, performed many of the operations and here stands with 6-month-old Ruman and his mother Charity.
Hundreds of survivors of Typhoon Hagupit in the Philippines lined up to receive care from the Samaritan’s Purse emergency medical team. At least 70 percent of the patients were children under 10 years old. Our team treated wounds, provided antibiotics, supplied oral rehydration solution, and met other needs for the families with the compassion of Christ.
In early December, Typhoon Hagupit smashed into the Philippines. The storm took the homes and belongings of thousands of people still struggling to recover from last year‘s catastrophic Typhoon Haiyan. Our disaster response team was the first to reach families in Borongan—the area in Eastern Samar hit hardest by the devastating storm—with emergency hygiene kits, shelter materials, and other relief supplies.
Samaritan’s Purse staff member Gordon McCann gives a new winter coat to an Iraqi girl displaced by ISIS. Through an 80-ton airlift in mid-October and other efforts, Samaritan’s Purse provided winterization items to tens of thousands of Iraqis fleeing jihadi violence this year.
Franklin Graham joined Naghmeh Abedini in a prayer vigil outside the White House in September on behalf of Naghmeh’s husband, Pastor Saeed Abedini. The pastor is an American citizen unjustly imprisoned in Iran because of his faith in Jesus Christ. “I want us to pray that God will intervene, and He would bring this faithful servant who has been tortured and beaten for his faith, that God will bring him home,” Franklin Graham said.
In the mountains of Yoro, Honduras, Samaritan‘s Purse has trained Village Samaritan health care workers to provide preventative care to their communities. The volunteers serve their villages with knowledge, skills, limited medicines, and medical equipment to act as frontline health care providers. In Agua Fría, volunteer Elsa Gusman checked on Mirna Hernandez‘s 7-year-old son. As a Village Samaritan, Elsa is able to recognize the warning signs of common illnesses and prescribe basic medicine such as ibuprofen for fevers, hydration fluids for diarrhea, and antibiotics for infections.
Many students in Lao Cai Province live far from their nearest school. Samaritan’s Purse completed a new dormitory at this middle school in 2014 so that students could stay through the week and not fall behind in their studies.
(Below) Orphaned and vulnerable children living in Lai Chau, Vietnam, are receiving livelihoods training that includes the raising of pigs and chickens, as well as the cultivation of mushrooms and vegetable plots. Not only do the students learn valuable skills, but their diets are also improved.