Month: February 2017

Sports Helps Bring Emotional Healing to Kids in Liberia

A recent story on the Samaritan’s Purse website talks about how the Ebola crisis has impacted the children of Liberia … and how these resilient future leaders are discovering God’s love through sports.

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“Before the outbreak, Samaritan’s Purse had children’s sports programs—known as active fellowship—in many communities. But when all attention turned toward stopping the spread of the virus, these programs had to be abandoned. As children watched their family members die, they had no outlet to escape the harsh realities around them. They couldn’t just be children. …

“Once Liberia was declared Ebola-free, Samaritan’s Purse was able to focus once again on other projects. Our staff members saw that teachers had restarted active fellowship in their communities, so we came alongside them to help support them. …

“Nearly 3,000 Liberian children lost at least one parent during the Ebola crisis. Many others lost other relatives or friends. Every child in the country experienced trauma on some level. Through the active fellowship program, Samaritan’s Purse is aiming to reach 25,000 Liberian children with the hope of the Gospel.”

Read the full story here and then get your tickets to see the powerful and inspiring documentary FACING DARKNESS, in theaters Thursday, March 30 only.

Click Here For Theaters & Tickets

Leadership in Times of Crisis

Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave. Psalm 107:19-20

Caring. Hope. Compassion. Love.

That’s what Samaritan’s Purse brought to the people of West Africa before Ebola struck … during the crisis … and in the aftermath.

And at the center of it all is Christ’s love. In an article on the Samaritan’s Purse website, the ministry’s leadership development program is highlighted.

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“Samaritan’s Purse began working with Ebola survivors in Liberia in several capacities—through clinics, vocational training, support groups, and other programs. One of these programs is called Leadership Development and Trauma Counseling. One reason Ebola spread in rural communities was because of the lack of leadership. Along with counseling those who experienced suffering and loss, the program aims to develop leadership capacity in rural communities. …

“Samaritan’s Purse is already seeing change in the communities where leaders are being trained. Tanneh, who is a women’s leader in her community, said the classes have encouraged her to lead a community cleanup day. She has also been encouraging her sick neighbors to go to the hospital and pregnant mothers to seek prenatal treatment.”

The healing continues in Liberia.

See the story of how Samaritan’s Purse served the needs of the Liberians amidst the Ebola epidemic in the inspiring new documentary FACING DARKNESS, in theaters Thursday, March 30 only.
Click Here For Theaters & Tickets

On the Front Lines Again

By Lance Plyler, MD
Medical Director, Samaritan’s Purse

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Who would have thought that the Ebola epidemic of 2014 would lead us to Iraq in 2017? Ebola in Liberia—it was a war in and of itself, only a different form of a war. It was at a microscopic level with a deadly virus. We were pursuing an unseen enemy, so it really did, in many ways, prepare us for something like what we’re doing now—operating an emergency field hospital in a war zone in Northern Iraq. But now we see how God has paved the way for us to engage in such a response.

Samaritan’s Purse has had a presence in northern Iraq for six years now. We’ve been working there, and with the refugees leaving Mosul slowly, we’ve been able to meet some of their needs through an affiliation with the World Food Programme to distribute food, non-food items, and blankets and just trying to address all their needs.

With the continuing fighting in Mosul, we knew that more medical support was needed. The nearby city of Erbil was taking all the medical cases, but they were being overwhelmed. Initially, we sent out a mobile medical team to make an assessment. Then, Ken Isaacs, our vice president of programs and government relations, traveled there and met with World Health Organization (WHO) officials, who didn’t even realize that we had this kind of capacity.

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I’ve been with Samaritan’s Purse five years now, and to reflect on where we were five years ago … I mean, there’s no way we could have engaged in this kind of medical intervention five years ago. But we’ve taken steps along the way, and God’s prepared us. Certainly 2014—with our response in Liberia and the fight against Ebola—that prepared us tremendously for this opportunity to serve the people of Iraq. In December 2016, we made a six-month commitment to operate a tier-two hospital with a 40-bed capacity, two surgical theaters, and an emergency room, all comprising a sophisticated emergency field hospital. Right now, we’re working very hard to find adequate personnel to staff the hospital.

Looking back on Ebola, it was an incredible experience for us to glean the kind of skills and protocols that we need to respond in a war-torn country like Iraq. A number of the medical professionals working with us in Iraq also served with us in Liberia. They’re coming with their experience from that response and applying it to the situation now. Again, they’re putting their lives at risk to provide life-saving services and we’re blessed to partner with them again. It’s an honor to see them on the front lines of ministry.

And just like Ebola, Iraq is a situation that we’ll have to rely on our faith very heavily to respond and be over there.

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