Franklin Graham Update November

Dr. Julie McKay caring for Claudio in our Emergency Field Hospital in 2020

It Took a Pandemic

Miracle in Italy: From the Brink of Death to Eternal Life

Franklin Graham in Ukraine
Franklin Graham with Aileen Coleman and Sami Dagher.
BEFORE AND AFTER: Dr. Julie McKay cared for Claudio in our Emergency Field Hospital in 2020, and they were reunited when our team revisited Cremona. Realizing that the Lord had spared his life through the power of prayer, Claudio gave his heart to Jesus during my festival in Milan.

Dear Friend,

I've just returned from Italy, where I had the opportunity to meet COVID-19 survivors and many of the doctors who worked and prayed heroically to save lives through a Samaritan's Purse Emergency Field Hospital in 2020.

The city of Cremona is not the kind of place that you might expect to find a Samaritan's Purse hospital. We usually work in places devastated by war or disaster. Cremona is a picturesque and prosperous city founded by the Roman Empire hundreds of years before Jesus was born. This is where Stradivarius violins come from.

Unfortunately, Cremona was also ground zero for the coronavirus in Europe. The local hospital was quickly overwhelmed by sick and dying patients who also infected nurses and doctors who were working around the clock to save lives. Now that the world has developed vaccines and treatments, we tend to forget just how desperate 2020 felt.

When Cremona Hospital called for help, we airlifted a 68-bed hospital to Italy and set it up in the hospital parking lot. As a result of this ministry, churches around Milan invited me to come preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

A man named Claudio checked in to the hospital as soon as we opened in March 2020. He was gasping for breath, and his COVID-19 pneumonia was so advanced that Dr. Julie McKay worried if he would survive the night.

Franklin Graham with Aileen Coleman and Sami Dagher.
BEFORE AND AFTER: Dr. Julie McKay cared for Claudio in our Emergency Field Hospital in 2020, and they were reunited when our team revisited Cremona. Realizing that the Lord had spared his life through the power of prayer, Claudio gave his heart to Jesus during my festival in Milan.

That night, her Bible fell open to James 5, and she read, "Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up." (James 5:14-15).

A day in the life of a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) in Cremona, Italy

Dr. McKay mobilized a worldwide prayer network, calling on elders, pastors, and missionaries, and asking them to join her in praying for Claudio at 9 p.m. When she reached his bedside the next morning, he told her, "Since last night, I'm starting to feel better." She told him about the prayer and asked what time he felt better, and he said 9 o'clock. "Claudio was the recipient of a beautiful miracle," Dr. McKay said.

Claudio was amazed by the power of prayer: "To realize that people all over the world were praying for you—that's awesome!" Two years later, Claudio came to the festival where I preached in Milan, and he was among hundreds who stepped forward and prayed to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Claudio said he was not one to pray by nature, until he experienced the love of Christ in the hospital. "I started praying from the love I saw," he said.

Dr. Bob Spencer with his former Covid patient.
WELCOME BACK: Dr. Bob Spencer was reunited with one of his former COVID-19 patients.

Dr. Giuseppe Rossi described the desperation in the Cremona hospital as staff struggled to deal with the virus. "Everyone was ready to run out of the hospital—nurses and doctors. We were overwhelmed. Then you came—not because you were forced to come, but you had chosen to help us. This was a turning point in our fight against COVID-19."

When trouble breaks out like fire, it's natural for people to run away. But at Samaritan's Purse, our teams run toward the fire. I'm so grateful for men and women who respond when there's a call for help. In Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan, there were others who could have helped, but they all had excuses not to get involved. God has blessed Samaritan's Purse with folks who are not afraid to take on the challenges of this world. We had 68 medical personnel in Cremona who came from the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Australia, and Germany.

Samaritan's Purse Emergency Field Hospital in Cremona, Italy.

"Everyone was ready to run out of the hospital. We were overwhelmed.
Then you came. This was a turning point in our fight."


HELPING IN JESUS' NAME: Many of the patients coming to our field hospital in Ukraine are dealing with old injuries because they have been unable to get medical care during the conflict.


The Lord has also been working in powerful ways through our Emergency Field Hospitals in Ukraine. One of the good things about these hospitals is that they are portable. At first, we set up near the Polish border to care for people fleeing from the war. In October, we relocated the hospital into a war-battered town that was recently liberated. Because of security concerns amid the ongoing conflict, we can't identify the individuals or the locations.

Many of our patients have been waiting for months for treatment of their injuries. Some have broken bones that now require surgery. Some have embedded shards of concrete or shrapnel from a building that was attacked.

The second week our hospital was open, our team cared for a 14-year-old boy we'll call Maks. He had been out in the forest with his father, searching for mushrooms, when he stepped on a land mine. Not only were we able to provide the surgery he needed, but he was eager to hear the Gospel and prayed to receive Jesus Christ as His Savior. Maks' injuries were so severe that our surgeons had to amputate his leg.

Operation Christmas Child: Packing a Gift That Lasts

It's awful to think about the toll this war has taken on the innocent children of Ukraine. At 14 years old, Maks is still young enough to receive a shoebox gift from Operation Christmas Child. As we collect gifts Nov. 14-21, we are also preparing to distribute gift boxes to thousands of children in Ukraine and millions more around the world.

Franklin Graham with Aileen Coleman and Sami Dagher.
THANKFUL: This girl is among 7 million Ukrainians who have been sustained by Samaritan's Purse food parcels. We've delivered over 40,000 metric tons of food.

Maks spent days in intensive care, where our team prayed for him and helped him cope with the prospect of life without a leg. Most importantly, he found eternal hope by praying to receive Jesus Christ as his Savior. He eagerly read the Bible our team gave him, and his mother connected with a church recommended by our team.

Another patient we'll call Vitaly had fled his home when his town came under attack. He came to a Samaritan's Purse clinic to get help for high blood pressure and insomnia—both exacerbated by the ongoing war and his fears that he might be drafted.

After addressing his medical concerns, our team prayed with him and an interpreter helped him understand the Gospel.

In the following days, Vitaly returned to the hospital, not for medical care, but because he wanted to learn more about faith and salvation. He said that he was a fallen-away Christian and had lost his faith, but after the compassion he witnessed in our staff, he wanted to renew his faith and be baptized. Our team built a baptistry out of a shipping crate, lined it with blue plastic that we use for emergency shelters, and filled it with water. As our staff prayed and sang Ukrainian hymns, Vitaly was baptized. Please keep this man in your prayers, as he was drafted and sent to the frontlines.

In this season of Thanksgiving, I want to express our gratitude to everyone who has has faithfully prayed for our work, generously supported our projects, or volunteered to serve with us as we meet the needs of our neighbors. Thank you, and may God richly bless you.

Franklin Graham

COLLECTION WEEK IS NOV. 14-21, when we will open thousands of drop-off and collection centers across the United States. Go to to find a convenient drop-off location for your shoebox gifts or to learn more about Operation Christmas Child.

Ways to Help

Ways You Can Help


Please pray for the worldwide work of Samaritan's Purse and especially for our frontline medical outreaches in places like Ukraine.

Your gift will make it possible for Samaritan's Purse to deploy Emergency Field Hospitals and medical teams to provide life-saving care in the midst of a crisis.
Emergency Medicine
Your gift will enable Samaritan's Purse to relieve suffering in Ukraine by providing medical care as well as food, water, wood stoves, and other vital assistance.
Ukraine Response
Where Most Needed
Your gift to "Where Most Needed" equips Samaritan's Purse with the resources— including personnel, materials, supporting services, and equipment—to fulfill our mission of relief and evangelism.
Where Most Needed