Sampson and Greta Van Susteren Return to Liberia!

May 20, 2017 • Liberia
After successful surgeries at Mayo Clinic, Sampson returned home to Liberia this weekend with his friend and supporter, Greta Van Susteren.

The two returned to Liberia together this weekend after Sampson received life-changing surgery at Mayo Clinic earlier this year.

Sampson hugs the grandmother who raised him. A Samaritan's Purse helicopter carried him on the last leg of his journey.

Sampson hugs the grandmother who raised him. A Samaritan’s Purse helicopter carried him back to his home village—the last leg of a very long journey.

After receiving life-changing surgery in the United States—thanks to Mayo Clinic and Greta Van Susteren—a 16-year-old named Sampson has returned home to Liberia aboard our DC-8 and was received with much praise and thanksgiving.

Samaritan’s Purse staff in Liberia and the United States were also instrumental in bringing healing—physical and spiritual—to this young man. It took many concerned people—and God’s favor—for this beautiful story to be realized.

Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham gratefully announced the return of Sampson to Liberia on his Facebook page on May 20:

Greta and Sampson show off matching bracelets in his home village.

Greta and Sampson show off matching bracelets in his home village this weekend.

It Started with a Tweet

Last fall, cable news anchor Greta Van Susteren was contacted on Twitter regarding an upcoming trip she was taking to Liberia. She was visiting the country with Samaritan’s Purse to dedicate a new construction project at ELWA Hospital outside Monrovia. The inquirer informed her that she would be near a 15-year-old boy named Sampson who was suffering from terrible tumors on his face—could she help?

Sampson with Greta Van Susteren, Franklin Graham, and his cousin Isaac.

Sampson with Greta Van Susteren, Franklin Graham, and his cousin Isaac at ELWA Hospital in October 2016.

Greta immediately took action and began raising funds to bring the young man to the United States for the difficult medical intervention he would need.

Sampson is now in Liberia with family and friends after life-changing facial surgery.

Sampson is now in Liberia with family and friends after life-changing facial surgery.

Once he arrived at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota in January 2017, it was determined that he had an incurable genetic condition known as neurofibromatosis type 1, with large neurofibroma plexiform tumors of the face. His left eye had been blinded by the tumors long ago and that vision cannot be restored by current medical science. His right eyelid and eye area had large tumors that were threatening to destroy his right eye, which retains good vision.

Sampson was so glad when he heard the diagnosis. He said “glory to God.” He had always been told that it was witchcraft that caused his tumors, and he was so happy to know that he had a disease with a name—that other children had been seen just like him.

Sampson with his cousin (at left), Samaritan's Purse Liberia Country director Kendell Kauffeldt (right), and Children's Heart Project director Cindy Bonsall (rear left).

Sampson is received with joy in his home village. He was accompanied by his cousin Isaac (at left), Samaritan’s Purse Liberia Country director Kendell Kauffeldt (right), and Children’s Heart Project director Cindy Bonsall (rear left).

He had two surgeries and two additional procedures by a world renowned group of surgeons at Mayo Clinic over the course of three months. They were able to remove the large tumor in his right eyelid and debulk a large amount of tumor from his face, both eyelids, and scalp, all of which combined to make his appearance normal, stop facial pain, and improve the vision in the right eye.

“Sampson’s results are dramatic. We thank the incredible specialists at Mayo Clinic for the unbelievable transformation in Sampson,” said Cindy Bonsall, Children’s Heart Project director for Samaritan’s Purse. Children’s Heart Project has a long relationship with Mayo as many of its patients have received heart surgery there.

Greta Van Susteren was able to give Sampson a tour of Washington, D.C., before returning to Liberia.

Greta Van Susteren gave Sampson a D.C. tour before his return to Liberia.

Sampson received Christ two days after his first surgery when Children’s Heart Project staff member, Sheena Basemera, prayed with him. Before his surgery Sampson said, “I want to accept Christ in my life after my surgery. I want to return home a new man inside and out.”

This weekend he returned to Liberia with Greta, who now hosts “For the Record with Greta” on MSNBC, aboard the Samaritan’s Purse DC-8. He was warmly welcomed by his mother, grandmother, and the entire village where he grew up. An Operation Christmas Child shoebox distribution accompanied Sampson’s return, much to the delight of area youngsters.

Please pray for his acclimation back to Liberia and ask God to use him in great ways for His glory.

The Operation Christmas Child distribution brought many smiles to children in Liberia.

The Operation Christmas Child distribution brought many smiles to children in Liberia.

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