1980: God opens doors for Samaritan's Purse to help Tenwek Hospital in Kenya.
Dr. Lowell Furman and Franklin Graham went to Kenya to visit Tenwek Hospital. The facility was so badly overcrowded that there were sometimes three patients in a bed, and occasionally a fourth person on the floor underneath. Tenwek obviously needed new facilities, but Samaritan’s Purse had never taken on such an enormous project.
In 1980, Jim Bakker invited Franklin to be a guest on his TV show “The PTL Club.” He showed pictures of the crowded conditions at Tenwek and shared the need for a new ward, which was expected to cost $400,000. Jim Bakker turned to the camera and said, “Everybody watching right now, I want you to send Franklin Graham one dollar. Don’t send it to me or to ‘PTL.’” He then asked the control room to put the address for Samaritan’s Purse on the screen. He also took an offering from the studio audience, asking them for $1 each. Afterwards, Samaritan’s Purse received 56,000 letters with $409,000, praise the Lord! Franklin later went back on the show to thank everyone and gave the extra $9,000 to “PTL.” Franklin said this was the first time he tested the “God room” principle that Bob Pierce had taught him. Tenwek completed the construction in 1985, and the president of Kenya came to the hospital to dedicate the new wing.
Over the past 40 years, Samaritan’s Purse has continued to support Tenwek by building surgical facilities and sending hundreds of doctors through World Medical Mission. Since then, we have also helped build or restore a number of other mission hospitals around the world, including Memorial Christian Hospital in Bangladesh in 2018; ELWA Hospital in Liberia in 2016; Egbe Hospital in Nigeria in 2014; Centre Medical Evangelique at Nyankunde in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2009; Kapsowar Hospital in Kenya in 2008; the Evangelical Medical Center in Angola in 2005; and Luampa Hospital in Zambia in 1996.