1997-Present: Samaritan’s Purse brings two children from Bosnia to the U.S. for critical heart operations.
Through Children’s Heart Project, Samaritan’s Purse arranges surgery for children with congenital heart defects who live in countries such as Uganda, Mongolia, and Bolivia, where the required medical expertise and equipment for this type of surgery are not available. Since 1997, more than 1,400 boys and girls have received lifesaving operations through our project.
Partner hospitals in North America donate their surgical services. Samaritan’s Purse provides airfare for the child, a parent, and a translator, and arranges churches and host families to offer loving care while the child recovers.
But the journey doesn’t end there. When children return home, their physical transformation is a testimony to their families and communities of God’s goodness.
Many parents and children hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the project, receive Him as Savior, and now are Christ’s ambassadors back home.
Children’s Heart Project started in Bosnia in 1997 when Samaritan’s Purse transported two young people with heart defects named Majo and Nashiha to a children’s hospital in South Carolina to have cardiac surgery. In November 1999, Samaritan’s Purse began a 10-year Children’s Heart Project in Kosovo to help children in need.
In 2000, Children’s Heart Project began providing surgery for children with heart defects in Mongolia, where the project is ongoing. The project has been ongoing in Uganda since 2003 and Bolivia since 2009. Children’s Heart Project also has helped children from Uzbekistan (2003) and Honduras (2004-2015).
Mongolia was the first location for our weeklong Heart Camps, which occur in the patients’ home countries. Started in 2011, these camps allow boys and girls who’ve had surgery through our Children’s Heart Project to meet each other and learn more about following the Lord.
Many of these children, who likely would not have lived to be adults without heart surgery, are now reaching others with the Gospel. Several churches have been started in Mongolia by former Children’s Heart Project patients.
Bat-Ulzii, the discipleship pastor at a church in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, received heart surgery through Children’s Heart Project in 2006 in San Antonio, Texas, when he was 13 years old.
Bat-Ulzii, who came from a Buddhist family, heard the Gospel for the first time through the work of Samaritan’s Purse.
“I opened my heart and accepted God as my Savior,” Bat-Ulzii said. “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. God is the One who fills the hole.”