GROUP HAS BEEN ACTIVE IN ALASKA RURAL COMMUNITIES
Today marks the 50th anniversary of Samaritan’s Purse — five decades of responding to disasters, wars, and famine.
The organization, now run by Franklin Graham, works to follow a biblical example of the Good Samaritan.
In Alaska, Samaritan’s Purse operates Operation Heal Our Patriots at its lodge at Lake Clark, where wounded or traumatized soldiers and their spouses take time to heal their relationships with each other and grow closer to God.
“Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.” Bob Pierce wrote those words in his Bible after visiting suffering children on the Korean island of Koje-do. His experience inspired him to found and lead Samaritan’s Purse in 1970 “to meet emergency needs in crisis areas through existing evangelical mission agencies and national churches.”
Franklin Graham came on board Samaritan’s Purse in 1974 and when Pierce died in 1979, Graham became the president. He brought the organization to Alaska, where it has responded to the needs of rural Alaskans. The group was active in the recovery of Eagle, Alaska, after the Yukon River flooded the town in 2009.
Samaritan’s Purse has built churches, community centers, and homes in rural Alaska. In 2007, it built a youth center in Hooper Bay, helping the community recover after a devastating fire of 2006. Other communities served have been Galena, Marshall, Nunapitchuk, and Togiak.
“I thank God for all He has done through Samaritan’s Purse over the past 50 years. Through His grace, we have been able to respond to emergencies worldwide to save lives, relieve suffering, and share the hope of the Gospel. To God be the glory,” said Franklin Graham.
Several Alaskans and former Alaskans have worked at Samaritan’s Purse, and the group maintains a hangar and cargo airplanes in Soldotna.