Children's Heart Project

Healing Hearts,
Now and for Eternity

For more than 25 years, Samaritan's Purse has arranged for critical congenital heart surgery for 1,500+ boys and girls from over a dozen countries.

"We look forward to serving more and more children," said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan's Purse. "We pray for physical healing and, most importantly, we pray that God will use our efforts to heal hearts for eternity through the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

One of our recent patients was a boy named Francis. He was born with a complex heart defect, but the care he needed wasn't available in his native Uganda. He received life-saving surgery through Children's Heart Project at age 7. Today, he is healthy and active!

ON THE GROUND: You can hear directly from Francis’ family about their ordeal and what Children’s Heart Project means to them.

You too can be a part of Children's Heart Project by praying for the children and their families and by giving to support the work. There are also limited opportunities to serve with us as a medical volunteer, if you have specific skills and experiences. And, in certain metro areas, we are looking for faithful Christians to serve as host families for a precious boy or girl in need of heart surgery. To learn more, go to our information and application page.

Franklin Graham with children
Franklin Graham with young patients from Mongolia - 2008

"Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for You are my praise."

—Jeremiah 17:14

Born in the Balkans

In 1997, Samaritan's Purse was helping to repair a hospital damaged during the civil war in Bosnia, and doctors there asked if we could help children who desperately needed congenital heart surgery. We quickly worked to provide the needed logistical support, and soon we were able to bring a 10-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl to South Carolina for the life-saving operations. Over the next seven years, we would arrange heart surgery for 83 Bosnian children.

Months later, we began bringing children from Kosovo to the U.S. after brutal conflict there cut off access to surgeries that meant the difference between life and death. Samaritan's Purse helped 167 children from this Balkan country to receive heart surgery over a period of 11 years.

We thank God for every life that has been saved, and today, Children's Heart Project continues to help children in need of surgery. Samaritan's Purse provides transportation for the child and a parent or guardian and arranges for an interpreter to accompany them. Surgeries are made possible by partnerships with hospitals and medical personnel in North America, including the Caribbean, and South Korea.

The Samaritan's Purse affiliate office in South Korea began arranging for Children's Heart Project surgeries in 2023, hosting seven Mongolia children in four groups that year. Traveling from Mongolia to South Korea provides a closer option for pediatric heart care.


We partner with churches near the hospitals to host the special guests and arrange for host families who open their homes and hearts to these little ones. These loving families transport them to doctors' appointments, feed and care for them during their recovery at home, and plan fun activities for them to enjoy. As they welcome children and their family members with Christ-like compassion, they share the Gospel in both word and deed.

“A child came to our house, lived with us, we ate together. We started thinking of them as part of our family,” said a host mom in South Korea.

Over the years, Children's Heart Project has provided life-saving surgery for children from Honduras, Iraq, Nepal, as well as other countries in Asia and Africa. We are currently helping boys and girls from Mongolia, Uganda, and Bolivia.

"This project is a team effort," said Cindy Bonsall, director of Children's Heart Project. "Medical personnel, host families, interpreters, donors, and many others come together to provide life-saving surgery and show Christ's love to these boys and girls."

Children's Heart Project recipient

Transforming Lives for Eternity

Thousands of Children's Heart Project patients, family members, and friends have become followers of the Lord Jesus Christ during the past 25 years.

"I cannot help but reflect on how the Lord has used children from years past to further His Kingdom," Bonsall said. "I thank God for all the physical and spiritual hearts He has healed through the years."

Pura, Maria, and Fatima in Grand Cayman.

A young Bolivian mother named Fatima sought help for her daughter, Maria, who needed surgery to repair a heart defect. It turned out that Fatima's heart condition was even more serious, so we arranged for both the mother, 17, and daughter, 2, to have surgery at Health City Cayman Islands, one of our partner hospitals.

Their interpreter shared the Gospel with Fatima and her mother, Pura, through Bible study and prayer times, resulting in both of them putting their trust in Jesus Christ as Savior.

“I thank Him for the second chance to live a normal life,” said Fatima about her and her daughter's heart surgeries, “and also for the second chance I have in a new life in Christ.”

Bat-Ulzii became a discipleship pastor in Mongolia.

Bat-Ulzii—who had heart surgery at 13—and his mother decided to follow Christ when they heard the Gospel for the first time while in the U.S. through Children's Heart Project.

"I used to think that I only needed heart surgery, but I realized there is a big hole in our souls that needs to be filled,” said Bat-Ulzii, who has served as a discipleship pastor in Mongolia. “God is the One who fills the hole."

Miigaa while in medical school.

Children's Heart Project arranged for Miigaa to have heart surgery when she was 14. A few years later, she professed her faith in Jesus during one of our Heart Camps in Mongolia. These events are weeklong gatherings to promote fellowship and discipleship among former Children’s Heart Project patients. They began in Mongolia in 2011 and also are held in Uganda and Bolivia.

Miigaa has served as a Heart Camp leader and is now a physician with a cardiology residency. Two other past project patients, Munkhuu and Amarzaya, also have gone into the medical profession to help others with heart defects.

Hilda works with the project in Uganda.

In Uganda, two former patients now serve with Samaritan's Purse. Sheena received heart surgery through Children's Heart Project at age 13. Nearly a decade later at a Heart Camp, she gave her life to Jesus. She later volunteered at the camps and now serves as a project program manager.

Hilda has a similar story. She had surgery through Children's Heart Project at 13 and years later accepted Christ at Heart Camp. She became a camp mentor and works on our Uganda project staff. As these women serve young people, they share the hope of the Gospel that transformed their hearts years ago.

"The love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us."

—Romans 5:5
-North Carolina

The Language of Love

Sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ is at the core of Children's Heart Project, and we praise God for what He has done. We thank Him for each of our interpreters as well as host churches and families in North America, who are integral to this ministry. They have the privilege of sharing Christ's love on a daily basis with the children and their family members.

Angie and Nick jumped at the opportunity to host a boy named Nico from Bolivia who needed heart surgery, along with his grandmother, Nancy, and one of our interpreters.

Members of their church provided meals, visited the special guests, and were a support system for the host family and visitors.

“They just cannot believe that somebody that they don't know has opened up their home, opened their arms to them,” Angie said. “It's such an amazing blessing to spend time with them and tell them that God loves them and has a plan for them.”

Nico, and his mother, Marcia, in Bolivia.

Through Bible study with the hosts and one of our interpreters, Nancy placed her faith in Jesus Christ. She was baptized in Angie and Nick's swimming pool by their pastor. Once home in Bolivia, Nancy began taking Nico and his mother, Marcia, to church where Marcia accepted Christ as Lord.

In addition to having served as a host family, Angie and Nick have befriended additional Children's Heart Project guests from Bolivia as they stayed with another area host church.

Their church's Hispanic congregation also has embraced the visitors, building bonds of friendship through a shared language.

Angela with Maria from Bolivia.

In Grand Cayman, there are home hosting opportunities as well as the ability for local churches to host Children's Heart Project groups in a mission house.

“We encourage many people in the church communities to become involved, and together we come as one,” said Angela, the mission house coordinator in Grand Cayman. “There's a role for everybody.”

“It is just so absolutely amazing to see the work of God in the lives not just of children and their surgeries but in the lives of mothers and guardians who come here,” she said. “Many, many mothers say to me, 'I've never felt so loved. No one's ever treated us like this before.' It's Matthew 25:40—We do it for the least of these. We do it for Him.”

Children's Heart Project interpreters stay with the hosts, translating for children and their family members during their stay. As they bridge the language gap, they also share the love of God.

“I noticed they have a big desire to study His Word,” said an interpreter named Bakal about two Mongolian mothers whose children were in Grand Cayman for heart surgery.

Both of the mothers placed their faith in Jesus as Savior as part of regular Bible reading times with Bakal while in Grand Cayman.

New church group in Uganda

Planting Churches

Our work does not end after the children have returned home. Children's Heart Project teams in each country work in partnership with local churches to make follow-up visits to families, building on relationships that began during initial health screenings.

We connect those who accept Christ as Lord and Savior with congregations in their communities. In several instances, there are new churches where previously there were none.

For example, a group of new believers began meeting in Victor's yard after he returned to his Ugandan village following heart surgery. Through home visits, two of his family members had given their hearts to the Lord. "What a blessing it is to be saved and be loved by God!" declared his father. About 60 people meet weekly for services, and they have formed several small group Bible studies.

In Mongolia, at least six house churches have formed since 2005 through the work of Children's Heart Project. One began after a girl named Zaya and her mother accepted Christ while they were in Grand Cayman for her heart surgery. After returning to Mongolia, they started studying the Bible at home and were joined by another Children's Heart Project family and about 20 relatives and friends.

Please pray for all who have come to faith through Children's Heart Project, asking God to strengthen them in their faith and use their testimony to advance His Kingdom. Lift up the work of Children's Heart Project in the years ahead, as we seek to reach more children with life-saving surgery and the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Victor’s family and village were transformed by the Gospel.
Victor and his family

"Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord."

—Psalm 31:24