Thank You

Through the first half of 2024, Samaritan’s Purse remained steadfast in our mission to relieve suffering and share the hope of Jesus Christ. Our teams continue serving in the difficult areas of the world—transporting aid in the midst of conflict in Israel, providing cleanup assistance to tornado victims in the United States, supporting mission hospitals in providing quality healthcare with Christ-like compassion, and bringing the Gospel to the furthest corners of the earth.

Your generous partnership has enabled us to be first on the ground in the aftermath of crises. As we meet immediate needs with excellence and efficiency, hearts are softened to receive the love of God. We are greatly encouraged by your support and prayers that have carved paths for the Gospel to be spread worldwide.

In interviews with Samaritan’s Purse staff, you will discover how your partnership has changed the lives of people in need, how God is using this work to advance His Kingdom, and how you can join us in prayer for the vast work still to be done in 2024. We pray that these personal testimonies are a blessing to the faithfulness of God and the eternal value of your giving.

“We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”

1 Thessalonians 1:2–3 (ESV)

Israel Response

Aaron Ashoff

Deputy Director of International Projects

Aaron previously served as Regional Director for Europe and the Middle East. He was awarded a Bronze Star for service in the U.S. Army during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Samaritan's Purse: Can you provide an overview of what Samaritan's Purse is doing in Israel?

Ashoff: A number of communities were attacked on October 7, so our initial wave of response was to see what help we could provide in those areas. One tangible way was to replace ambulances that had been destroyed during the attacks. Samaritan's Purse delivered 14 ambulances and another eight armored ones are on order. As we worked in those communities, we found other needs that could be met, such as food and day-to-day items.

The next stage was to reach communities affected by escalating conflict. Through local partners, we’ve been able to provide food and medical support for those in need. We have connected with different groups of believers whose own congregations have been affected. A strength of this response is certainly the congregations themselves. We're thankful and proud of what they’ve been able to do in distributing aid.

Another part of our strategy is building bridges into communities. We want to do that anywhere we go in the world and be there to help in Jesus' Name. That's a powerful thing to do in Israel when there are so many different groups. For example, we've met with Bedouins in the south, Arab Christians in northern Israel, and even got to have a meal with Druze (a minority people group).

I got to sit down with a Bedouin community outside Gaza that was attacked. We went there to deliver food vouchers for 200 of the poorest families. As we were sitting at the table, I shared the parable of the Good Samaritan because we want people to know why we're there, and that really resonated with them.

We've made some incredible commitments to help restore these devastated communities. Part of that includes building emergency medical stations in the north and the south to improve capacity. In January, Samaritan's Purse delivered 1,000 trauma kits for emergency personnel to save lives.

What are the advantages of utilizing local partners like this on a large scale?

Ashoff: First, it's in our mission to strengthen the local church wherever we come into contact with them. We have great advantages in that we know what we're doing, we're professional, we have thousands of people who can go almost anywhere in the world and provide a high level of aid when people need it. But we also understand the limits of what we can do.

It's hard to think of a place in the world where God’s people are not already there. They are there before we arrive, many times they’ve been affected by the crisis, and they will be there after we leave. Our grand strategy is to work with those kinds of people, and I think there's many good things that occur as a result. First, we come with a humble spirit and compassion that can be a great encouragement to the local believers. Second, they certainly know the ground, so it's incredibly helpful, especially in a complicated environment like Israel to have that local guidance. We have over 100 local partners in Israel, many of which are churches. Samaritan's Purse can jump far ahead in understanding what the needs are through these local believers.

How have you seen God uniquely use this response in Israel to open doors and change lives?

Ashoff: This was a visceral event—people were attacked and lost loved ones. I think every community we encountered knew that Samaritan's Purse was there from the start, and that was meaningful to them. I don’t think everyone understood who Samaritan's Purse was before we arrived, but they certainly understand who we are now. They know we represent Jesus Christ and that we come with compassion and love.

Thank you to everyone who supports our work there. It really is a place of eternal significance. We want people in Israel to know the Messiah, so we had the Tanakh (books of the Old Testament) printed and included the prophecies of the Messiah in red letters, and these have been really well received.

Prayer Requests

  • Pray that God gives strength and wisdom to the team in Israel.
  • Pray that we can be responsive to changing needs.
  • Pray that people would come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior through our work in Israel.

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33 (ESV)

U.S. Disaster Relief

Luther Harrison

Vice President of North American Ministries and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Rapid Response Team

Luther has led the Disaster Relief program since 1998, when our first Disaster Relief Unit responded to flooding in Victoria, Texas.

Can you provide an overview of U.S. Disaster Relief in 2024?

Harrison: Last year, we had 27 deployments that kept us busy year-round, so God gave us some reprieve the first few months of this year with fewer responses. This has afforded us time to bring in over 180 Site Leadership volunteers for training. Our goal is to not be complacent. We want every deployment we do to be better than the one before. However, we don’t compare one storm against another because this may be the worst storm a family has ever faced. Where does their help come from? It comes from the Lord and that’s when He sends us to represent Him, to be His boots and gloves, to minister to these families. Doing the physical work earns us the privilege to share the Gospel.

God continues to send the volunteers as well. We’ve had over 220,000 volunteers serve since we started tracking numbers. Other organizations are seeing volunteer numbers decline—and ours actually slightly decreased last year as well—but ours are actually serving more hours than organizations with higher volunteer numbers. So, we may have fewer workers but these laborers are giving us more time and talent. It’s a blessing to see.

In Mayfield, Kentucky, Samaritan's Purse is repairing one house and building 81 new ones. All of these homes are under construction, built with love by our volunteers, and should be finished in October. It’s such a blessing that we’re able to provide these homes to displaced families through the generosity of our donors.

The forecasts point to an active hurricane season this year. God tells us we’re going to face more disasters, and until He returns, we continue to go and serve.

How is U.S. Disaster Relief continuing to enhance its readiness and response capabilities?

Harrison: We want U.S. Disaster Relief to be like an aircraft carrier. When we deploy to disaster zones, we are dependent on no one to accomplish the goal. We go with our own showers, kitchens, generators, skid steers, and everything else needed to do ministry. We don't want to be a burden to the local community. We just want to be seen as a support.

We have eight Disaster Relief Units—five staged in North Carolina, two in Texas, one in California—and a fleet of support vehicles so we can get to these storms quicker. The Disaster Relief Vehicle (DRV) program has been phenomenal as well. Churches adopt a DRV, which is a smaller box truck, and agree to bring it to us when we deploy to a storm. We have 40 staged at churches throughout the United States and another 20 brand new ones being equipped with tools, so we’ll have a total of 60 DRVs strategically staged across the country. Smaller box trucks are great because they can more easily get into affected neighborhoods. These vehicles are Samaritan's Purse branded, but more importantly they say “Helping in Jesus' Name” on the side.

As Franklin Graham has challenged us, we need to be there before the media finds out about it. Our program managers and assistant program managers are always monitoring disasters, and we have good relationships with many meteorologists. Our folks are always watching to see where the needs are so that we can quickly deploy and partner with a local church. When we go to a storm, we’re going to tie into that local church, and when we leave, we want that church to be able to continue the work we’ve started.

It’s similar to the parable of the Good Samaritan. He was on a path, saw someone in need in the ditch, and stopped and rendered aid, and that's what we're going to do too. Then we pack up and move on down the road, and there's more people in need. We always call them “divine appointments.” God already knew the storm was coming and had people waiting on us to come meet their physical, spiritual, and emotional needs.

We also have a Hispanic ministry that's focused on getting Latino churches involved with us and having people that can speak Spanish, especially in Latino neighborhoods. We want to attach to the local church when a disaster hits, and not just one flavor of church. It's all the churches that are equally yoked, going out in the Name of Jesus Christ and being one body of believers. That's what I always love, that we keep serving God through the Church.

How have you seen God uniquely use U.S. Disaster Relief to change lives?

Harrison: Last year we witnessed 870 individual stories of people coming to know the Lord. In Hawaii alone, we helped over 900 families and saw more than 100 professions of faith. Even secular groups were more receptive to our help when they saw how we ministered with love and respect to hurting people. Our volunteers are not Billy Graham preaching in front of thousands, but are the ones meeting that individual homeowner in the ditch of life where everything they have has been ruined, flooded, burnt, or blown away. These volunteers share the Gospel in a plain, simple way. Admit, believe, and confess—it's an easy process and a free gift.

We can see God's hand directing us and putting people in our path with whom to share the Gospel. Every homeowner we assist receives a new Bible, and a lot of times you think it might collect a lot of dust. But one man wrote to me and said that he left his destroyed house with his Bible and a bottle of liquor. He had to move in with his daughter because he no longer had a home. He said, “I want you to know that I got rid of one of those two things I brought.” It was the bottle. He kept the Bible and came to know Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.

Another person we assisted said that he didn’t trust volunteers and Christians, thinking them to be liars and hypocrites. When our volunteer teams started cleaning the trees out of his yard and patching his damaged roof, he said “You know, I'm starting to believe in this now.” After hearing the Gospel, he accepted Christ as his Savior. You can't say that our volunteers are not missionaries.

Many people are unable to get out in the field, but they’re sending $10 or $20 a month to support us. We thank them for their generosity and prayers for our volunteers as they labor.

Prayer Requests

  • Pray that God would send the right volunteers who have a heart to serve and be the hands and feet of Christ.
  • Pray that affected homeowners will see the love of God and come to have a relationship with Jesus.
  • Pray that the churches we partner with reach out to welcome and disciple the new believers in their area.
  • Pray that God will continue to bless us, and that we continue to stay intentional about the Gospel and not drift from that in any way.

World Medical Mission

Scott Hughett

Director of World Medical Mission

Scott first sensed a call to full-time Christian service in 1993, supporting the work of Samaritan’s Purse first in Kenya and Somalia, and then throughout Africa. In 2010, he left Kenya to serve in the Kingdom of Jordan where he led the Annoor Sanatorium for Chest Diseases. Scott now resides in Boone, North Carolina, where he continues to oversee the Annoor Sanatorium as well as World Medical Mission.

What are specific expectations you have for World Medical Mission in 2024?

Hughett: World Medical Mission exists to serve hospitals around the world. We are constantly trying to find new ways to serve them, but more importantly, to serve with excellence. In 2024, we are searching for ways we can improve what we’re doing so that we have more opportunities to help more hospitals, who in turn can serve their communities with medicine and the message of the Gospel.

I always challenge our team to imagine we're here to serve a patient who has never heard about Jesus. All that we’re doing is trying to get that Gospel message to them—whether it's sending out a short-term volunteer, a post-resident physician for long-term care, supplies and equipment out of our warehouse, equipment repaired by our bio-medical technicians, or chaplains in our evangelism program. All of this work is designed to reach that patient in the bed somewhere and their families.

To do this, we are working diligently on the mechanics of World Medical Mission and how we can improve efficiency—not to do more for our glory, but for God's glory and His benefit.

One of the ways we are improving our efficiency is by building our network of doctors. We have hundreds of needs that our hospitals have made us aware of, but we don't have enough doctors to meet all of them. So this year, we are seeking new doctors and strategizing new ways to inform those already in our network of new opportunities.

How have you seen God uniquely use medical missions to change lives this year?

Hughett: There's a very simple story. I received a note from one of our former post-resident physicians, now a long-term mission doctor located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He asked for a very simple device that helps dislodge peas, marbles, and beans out of the throats of children.

He's now written twice in the last six months to say here's a picture of a baby that was saved because of this device. It was a couple of thousand dollars—it wasn't major MRI equipment—but we were able to procure this tool, get it into the hands of one of our doctors in the field, and it has now saved two children.

That story can be told every day a hundred times. I'm always encouraged that the devices that we don’t realize are a big deal matter so much to that family whose child would've been dead without it. That family will always remember the mercy that they found in that hospital.

World Medical Mission does so much to get equipment ready, repaired, purchased, and shipped. And sometimes you forget that ultimately, it's all going to save people's lives.

How is World Medical Mission advancing God's Kingdom through medical care?

Hughett: When people come to a mission hospital—or any hospital, frankly—they begin to understand their own mortality. In many countries, they will wait until they have a life-threatening condition because they have very little regular care. So when they arrive, they are already thinking about death, and their families are thinking about the loss of their loved one. It's a very tender moment. It's a perfect time for someone to sweetly and gently share the Gospel.

From my own personal experience, in these last months, I have been treated for cancer. I didn’t realize how my faith gave me so much confidence. I didn’t feel afraid to die. I wasn’t looking forward to the possibility because I have children, but in terms of going, it’s going to be pure joy. Nothing to fear.

But it made me think, what about people who don't have that confidence? What kind of anxiety must they be facing? What if I didn't know Jesus and had no sense of what the future held for me? Because of this fear, doubt, and anxiety, World Medical Mission wants to share the hope of Christ with people. We see medicine as a tremendous magnet for the Gospel. People come to us during the worst part of their lives, and they are seeking and searching. We are able to offer them incredible hope.

The goal is never just excellent medicine, which is what drives so many secular groups. We are representing the Lord Jesus Christ. We want our work to be as excellent as possible because we want patients to receive care with incredible compassion and Christ-like love. That is ultimately the goal—not the excellent care, but the Christ-like love.

Prayer Requests

  • Pray for more doctors to serve, whether they are brand new to the ministry or already in our network.
  • Pray for our chaplains and evangelism program that are a vital part of our mission hospitals but are often overlooked. Ask the Lord to give them discernment, and that the Spirit will speak boldly through them.
  • Pray for our post-residency program that the right people enter into it and that they are able to maintain their life's commitment to service for God's glory and not their own.
  • Pray for our bio-medical technicians and warehouse managers who face many obstacles and complications in shipping and delivering equipment to overseas hospitals.
  • Pray for the safety of mission doctors who face difficult circumstances, diseases, and conflict that can cripple people's ability to serve with joy. Pray for things they face both internal and external that can be discouraging to their ministry.

Operation Christmas Child & The Greatest Journey

Kimberly Iannelli

Director of Global Programs

Kimberly is Director of Global Programs for Operation Christmas Child. She has served with Samaritan's Purse since 2015.

What are highlights for Operation Christmas Child and The Greatest Journey this year, and how have you seen God working through these projects?

Iannelli: Last year was monumental in kicking off our Ends of the Earth initiative which is fully global, fully accessible to every one of our volunteer teams, and fully integrated into our existing program. Because of this focus, we're expecting hundreds of unreached people group engagements this year.

We're also really excited about our new outreach to deaf children. Almost every country in the world lists the deaf as an unreached people group, which we've learned is a result of isolation and the insularity of the community, and people not being able to communicate with them. So, whoever can communicate with them gets to teach them.

Two years ago, we asked our volunteers around the world to start praying and we now have 49 teams that are planning engagements with deaf unreached peoples. That is a big deal!

We also learned that we already had teams and ministry partners working with the deaf. At a conference last year in Poland, the national discipleship coordinator came running up to me because she realized the deaf were an unreached people group in their country, but she and her husband were actually already ministering to the deaf. She was overjoyed and shared that we are on the cusp of something great and explained what kind of resources would be helpful.

I say all this because the time is here! We're now developing a plan to see what is helpful to leaders and teachers working with deaf children and to help them to share the Gospel. Our first step is to collaborate with consultants working with the deaf and hear from them how we can take our Gospel presentation script and make that deaf-friendly. Because we're aware of people in different parts of the world that are already working to make this happen, we can test our materials, get feedback, and use that to gain understanding of what we need to do to get the rest of our resources ready.

I think it's tremendously exciting to think about reaching deaf children in this big way, and resourcing them in a way they aren’t used to. It's incredible having materials that are useful for the teachers so they can share the love of God with these children and disciple them through The Greatest Journey.

How does The Greatest Journey partner with and empower the local church?

Iannelli: What's really great about The Greatest Journey is that there's a focus on prayer in every single one of the lessons, and it's presented through an activity that helps a child engage and learn. They are taught that there are different ways to pray and different things to pray about. You can pray by yourself, when you're walking down the street, or you can tell God all the things you've done wrong. So, we've incorporated intentional training to encourage our teachers and ministry partner teams to bring those kids into the church as active prayer partners after The Greatest Journey. We’re highlighting that children can not only pray, but sometimes they're better prayers than the grown-ups.

The discipleship that happens in Operation Christmas Child and The Greatest Journey is about a child's knowledge of God, but more importantly their heart relationship with Him. It gives them an understanding of how to communicate with God. It's a holistic program that helps ministry partners understand that children can be a vital part of the church. So, it's not just outreach, evangelism, a 12-week discipleship program and then we're done, but it's literally integrating children into the ministry of the local church.

Prayer Requests

  • Pray for our ministry partners going into new places to engage with children who have never heard the Name of Jesus. Pray that they can find teachers to fully commit to teaching The Greatest Journey and invest in a community.
  • Pray for our teachers around the world that they can find good support from their churches. Also pray for God's protection upon them and their families while they’re doing His work in discipling these children.
  • Pray for the ways we are developing new resources, specifically for children with special needs. Pray that God will open doors for us to reach these children who are so often neglected.
  • Pray that churches and our ministry partners will see the value of children in their ministry and make them a vibrant part of their churches.

Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all.

1 Chronicles 29:11, ESV