A group of elementary school children in Burnsville, North Carolina decided to bless needy families with the projects. Each year, the after-school Bible club at Higgins Memorial Methodist Church selects a ministry to pray for and support. After perusing the Samaritan’s Purse Christmas catalog, they decided to raise funds for goats and other animals.
“We have been learning about other cultures and how we can help them know about Jesus,” said Ginger Eten, who teaches the group of fourth through sixth grade girls. “This is one way we can show the love of Jesus to people around the world.”
Visiting Samaritan’s Purse headquarters in North Carolina was a special event for the 37 children and 14 adults representing the Bible club. The group made the two-hour drive on May 8 to tour the campus and deliver a special gift.
The children presented a plastic bin holding the cash they had collected to Jan Morrow, director of veterinary and agriculture programs for Samaritan’s Purse. The rolls of coins, dollar bills, and other money totaled $368.45.
Morrow thanked the children and described some of the more exotic animals we provide. While our goat and chicken projects are perhaps the most widely known, Samaritan’s Purse also supplies water buffaloes, honeybees, catfish, and other livestock to impoverished villages in some of the most remote parts of the globe.
The animals can provide food, a means of transportation, and supplemental income. As our staff administers training in caring for the animals, they interact with families and have opportunities to share the love of Jesus Christ and minister to their spiritual needs.
The group watched a video about a village in Liberia where Samaritan’s Purse had constructed fishponds. The catfish raised in the ponds provided food for families in the village. They also brought people together to hear God’s Word and opened their hearts to receive the Gospel.
“Now the Gospel is going out through catfish. Isn’t that amazing?” said the Samaritan’s Purse host who led the group on a tour of the Boone headquarters.
Nine-year-old Grady Brooks is one of some 50 children who regularly attend the Higgins Memorial after-school program. He said the students have been saving money from their allowances or through school fundraisers since October to help support the Samaritan’s Purse animal projects.
“It’s a way to help people, to let them know God loves them,” he said. “It’s really cool to know that God loves us so much that He died on the cross for me and for people around the world. I would like to be a missionary someday.”
Samaritan’s Purse works in dozens of developing countries where floods, droughts, and wars threaten the food supply and leave hundreds of thousands of people at risk of malnutrition or starvation. Our agricultural projects enable people to become self-sustaining and present opportunities for a spiritual harvest as the Good News of Jesus Christ is proclaimed.
Springs of Living Water
While the after-school club was raising funds for animal projects, a group of teens from another church in western North Carolina focused on the need for clean water in developing countries.
Every Sunday school class at West Asheville Baptist Church was given $100 this spring and challenged to use it on a service/mission project. Brenda and Andre Fisher’s 10th grade group set a goal to earn $750 for the Samaritan’s Purse Turn on the Tap water project. Their mission was to raise money for a freshwater well.
Three of the teens—Jake Browning, Abby Bishop, and Lauren Ledford—sprang into action, and had a lot of fun in the process. They kicked off the project by designing posters and signs, gathering water containers, and attaching Turn on the Tap labels provided by Samaritan’s Purse to the bottles. They also asked family members and friends to support their efforts.
On May 5, the group handed out water bottles and collected donations outside a department store. Three weeks later, they held a second fundraising event at a locally owned shoe store, setting up a “drive through” system for people to take a cold bottle of water for a donation.
Through prayers, generosity, and the hard work of the industrious 16-year-olds, the class reached its goal of $750. The teens and the Fishers came to Samaritan’s Purse on June 8 to present the donation.
“Many families overseas don’t have clean water to drink every day,” Jake said. “It feels good knowing we are making it easier for them.”
It is estimated that 1.58 million people die each year from diarrheal diseases resulting from unclean water and inadequate sanitation. Samaritan’s Purse provides safe drinking water to communities through a variety of programs, such as purification packets, household filters, and well-drilling and rehabilitation.
During the past two years, Samaritan’s Purse has administered well projects in 10 countries, including South Sudan, India, Cambodia, and Mexico. As families enjoy the benefits of clean water, they also hear about the Savior who satisfies our greatest needs. “But whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of waters welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14, NIV).