Our work takes us around the world to help people in desperate need. As we give physical aid, we also give spiritual hope by assuring them of God’s love. The photos below are a small representation of the places God called us to in 2013.
2013 Year in Pictures
In February, 39 boys and girls at the Greta Home and Academy in Haiti declared their decision to follow Jesus Christ by being baptized in the Atlantic Ocean. The children accepted Christ through a discipleship program called The Greatest Journey, church, and devotions at the Greta Home. After the Haiti earthquake in 2010, Samaritan’s Purse built the Greta Home to provide a safe haven where orphaned and needy children could receive a quality education and spiritual support.
Samaritan’s Purse volunteers arrived in Moore and Shawnee, Okla., within hours after several storms, including an EF-5 tornado, devastated the towns. Volunteers prayed for homeowners after they completed their work, letting them know that God was with them to help them recover from the storm. More than 4,000 volunteers helped more than 600 homeowners during a six-week period.
The beginning of the wet season in Mozambique brought catastrophic flooding. It displaced more than 170,000 people and killed 91. Ivone Machaiele, her husband, and her five children fled to an unofficial displacement camp called Hokwe. They stayed there for four days but then were pressured to leave because their livestock was destroying the locals’ crops. The Machaieles’ house wasn’t livable, and they had no food. When Samaritan’s Purse distributed tarps, blankets, mosquito nets, and buckets of water treatment solutions, Machaiele gladly received the items. “Even these small things have helped so much and given us so much hope,” she said.
After the flooding in Mozambique, Samaritan’s Purse responded by providing clean water, plastic sheeting for emergency shelter, blankets, jerry cans, soap, and other necessary items for people who were forced to leave their homes. Babies and children were especially vulnerable, and we worked to clean up a hospital so that it could provide care for malnourished children and meet other needs.
After the Black Forest fire decimated areas near Colorado Springs this summer, Samaritan’s Purse helped 151 homeowners sift through the ashes to find valuables. The fire was the worst in Colorado’s history, burning 16,000 acres in just nine days and destroying more than 500 homes. Many people had fewer than 15 minutes to evacuate and weren’t able to gather their belongings. Through the work of our volunteers, 14 people accepted Christ.
Samaritan’s Purse has been drilling and rehabilitating wells, or boreholes, in South Sudan since 2011 to help alleviate the need for water. In 2013, we drilled more than 70 wells in South Sudanese states such as Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Unity.
In Akuem, South Sudan, women regularly walk more than an hour to fetch water for their families. They must leave their children at home, meaning they don’t have any food until their mothers return hours later. While the women are on their walks, they often face hyenas, snakes, and violence. Samaritan’s Purse has constructed a borehole in this community and installed a hand pump to help these women.
Staff Sergeant Ken Patterson, USA (Ret.), sustained an injury in Afghanistan that resulted in the loss of both of his legs. This summer, he and his wife, Jessica, visited Operation Heal Our Patriots in Port Alsworth, Alaska, to receive encouragement for their lives and marriages. While there, he met 8-year-old Samuel Smith who is also an amputee. “It’s super encouraging for [Sam] to see these strong men,” Sam’s mother said. During 15 weeks this summer, nearly 150 veteran couples visited our wilderness retreat.
Retired Army Staff Sergeant William Castillo was shot five times and lost a leg while trying to help fellow soldiers during an insurgent attack in Iraq in 2007. Dealing with his wounds had placed tremendous strain on his marriage, but a week in Alaska through Operation Heal Our Patriots provided a new start for him and his wife, Kat. William and Kat received Christ during their retreat and were baptized in the cold waters of Lake Clark.
Doug Tjader worked as a construction volunteer at Egbe Hospital in Nigeria this year. The hospital is undergoing a revitalization project, which includes new staff, infrastructure upgrades, staff housing upgrades, new technology, guarding water sources, and better electricity. This year, Samaritan’s Purse has completed the outpatient building and has continued working on the chapel, dam, and pharmacy building among other projects.
Dr. Laura Smelter is the former medical director at Egbe Hospital in Nigeria. With the revitalization project, patients are receiving better care in newer, updated facilities. Better medical supplies and new equipment are allowing this hospital to give care to people in a rural area who might otherwise die from preventable diseases.
Days of unrelenting rain in September caused rivers and creeks to overflow their banks, creating catastrophic flooding across a wide area of northern Colorado. Samaritan’s Purse responded by helping homeowners remove ruined belongings, take out waterlogged insulation and drywall, and stop the growth of mold. Monte Deault’s home was filled with a foot of mud, and a new creek formed outside his house. Samaritan’s Purse gave him hope that he would be able to restore his home. By the end of six weeks, our team had completed work on 359 homes.
Hundreds of South Sudanese Christians gathered at the Akuem Cathedral on May 19 to praise God for working through Samaritan’s Purse to rebuild hundreds of houses of worship that were destroyed as a result of a brutal, two-decades-long civil war. The original Akeum Cathedral was first burned in 1992 and the people used temporary shelters to worship in until 2011.
Before 2005, Islamic militias from the north came into what is now South Sudan to raid cattle, burn villages, destroy churches, steal children, and murder pastors. A total of 512 churches were built under the Church Reconstruction Program that began in ’05. Church members gathered raw materials and formed bricks or cement blocks while Samaritan’s Purse designed the structures and helped with construction.
This summer, baby Emibal flew from Bolivia to the U.S. to have heart surgery through Children’s Heart Project. He fully recovered, and when he returned home, his father said that his relationship with Christ had changed because of the experience. “Now I think that I have a very close relationship with God,” he said. “Before that, I used to just go to the church, but now I know Him. Now what I feel that I must do is testify and share with other people about what God did with Emibal.” This year, children from Bolivia, Honduras, Mongolia, and Uganda came to North America for live-saving heart surgery.
Few people in Guidan Gado, Niger, own goats, and those that do have low-quality animals. Samaritan’s Purse donors provided enough funds this year to give red goats that have a faster gestation period and produce more milk. When these goats breed with the goats that the people of Guidan Gado already own, it will improve that breed too.
Throughout Bolivia, 120 women are attending 12 sewing centers that Samaritan’s Purse has started. When they began coming, they didn’t know how to sew. But now they are able to contribute to their families in a tangible way. While at the class, the women hear the Word of God and learn principles of stewardship.
Children in India experienced the love of Jesus Christ this summer when they opened Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes filled with gifts and joy. Across the world, children in more than 100 countries received gifts this year, and Operation Christmas Child celebrated its 100 millionth shoebox since the program began in 1993.
In a resettlement camp in Northern Bahr el Ghazal, South Sudan, Samaritan’s Purse distributed goats to the most vulnerable people. Each family received five goats, which will reproduce, providing enough goats to sell.
Women in Northern Bahr el Ghazal, South Sudan, who don’t have husbands often don’t have any source of income. Samaritan’s Purse is teaching these women how to farm in the dry season so that they can produce crops even when the weather is not conducive. The crops provide food for their families and give them an opportunity to pay for their children’s education.
Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded, smacked into the Philippines in mid-November, leveling tens of thousands of homes and displacing at least 580,000 people. Samaritan’s Purse distributed food, water, tarps, and other necessary supplies while talking and praying with the families who are suffering as a result of the storm.
Reports from Typhoon Haiyan indicate that 100 percent of Tacloban was destroyed. Our team is working there and in surrounding areas to provide food, water, shelter, and medical care. “When I first arrived, it was one of the most devastating disasters I’ve ever seen,” said Dr. Lance Plyler, medical advisor for the Samaritan’s Purse disaster response team.
A cargo jet filled with nearly 100 tons of relief supplies for victims of Typhoon Haiyan arrived in the Philippines a little more than a week after the storm hit. It was loaded with 3.6 million square feet of plastic sheeting, six community water filtration systems, medical supplies, mosquito nets, and blankets. The initial airlift was followed by a second cargo jet with a helicopter and 8 million square feet plastic sheeting and a third jet full of 65,000 Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.
Samaritan’s Purse responded to the health needs in the Philippines by sending a dozen medical personnel to help Shistosomiasis Research and Training Center recover from the storm while also temporarily providing an extension in the form of a mobile medical hospital. Dr. David Gettle, nurse practitioner Mary Lou Fisher, and nurse Kelly Sites were some of the first on the ground and began working in the mobile medical hospital as soon as it was set up.
In December, victims of Hurricane Sandy packed Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts for children who survived Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. A cargo jet carried 65,000 box packed with joy and the love of Jesus Christ to these needy boys and girls. “This is such a blessing to us,” one mother said at the distribution. “Two of my other children also received shoeboxes, and they learned about Jesus.”
By providing chickens to families in Kwale, a poor community in eastern Kenya, Samaritan’s Purse is giving vulnerable families a way to provide food for their families and to generate income. Most importantly, we are sharing the Gospel with these people and breaking the bondage of ancestral spirit worship.
Franklin Graham and Fox News host Greta Van Sustren visited a refugee camp in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq in December. Winter is creating new challenges for the 220,000 Syrian refugees who are living here. Samaritan’s Purse has pledged to donate 2,000 heaters to the refugees.
Thousands of people have been forced to flee the violence in Syria. Samaritan’s Purse is providing household relief supplies and supplemental food to refugees. Reports indicate that as many as 70,000 children are living in the camps.
As winter sets in on the Syrian refugee camps, cold weather creeps into tents where unprepared refugees suffer. We have pledged to send 2,000 heaters to stave off the bitter cold.
Dr. Christy Lee is working as an OB/GYN post-resident at a hospital in Cameroon through World Medical Mission. We partner with nearly 30 hospitals in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the South Pacific to supply hospitals in need with doctors, nurses, and critical medical equipment and supplies.
Women in Karamoja, Uganda, face malnutrition, the death of children, and difficult childbearing while their husbands are away keeping cattle. Recently, Samaritan’s Purse started a program to improve the health of women and children in the area. In Karamojong culture, information is passed through generations using pictures, songs, rhymes, stories, and dramas. Most of the women have little or no education, so we also use these methods for our group instruction.
Many people have treated the women of Karamoja as victims, but we are encouraging them to have a strong voice in their communities and see themselves as change-makers. We are encouraging them to believe that they are beloved daughters of God. This truth is a little seed, slowly taking root. Women are daring to put aside the idea that they are helpless and embracing the fact that they can be the ones to offer help to their neighbors—making their families happier, safer places to be.
Men, women, and children born with cleft lips in South Sudan often face a lifetime of hopelessness. People falsely believe the facial deformity is the result of a curse. A cleft lip can be repaired through a surgical procedure that usually takes fewer than than two hours, but people who live in rural villages lack access to medical care and have no idea the “curse” can be lifted. Samaritan’s Purse helped change the lives of 90 cleft lip patients in November by bringing a team of American surgeons to Juba Teaching Hospital in South Sudan to perform these life-changing operations.