When I traveled to Israel in November, I was appalled by the damage that Hamas had done to homes and property. The stories about the attacks on women and children were some of the worst I have ever heard.
Samaritan’s Purse has been working with partners in Israel to distribute food and other essential items to those who have been displaced. We are also providing hundreds of life- saving trauma supply kits for medics to use as needs arise.
I met a young woman named Lihi who had come back to her village to get a few things from her house. She and her two small children hid in their home and survived the attack. Her husband, Daniel, was a physician who heard the gunfire and ran to the medical clinic where he worked just a few hundred yards away. While he was there treating the injured and trying to save lives, he and everyone else but two people were murdered—and then Hamas threw in hand grenades to wipe out the facility and any survivors. In tears, Lihi told me that he was the love of her life.
I prayed for the family members and community leaders that I met. As I shared the Word of God with those I talked with, it brought comfort, like balm to their wounded souls.
I also met and prayed with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He expressed appreciation for how Samaritan’s Purse is responding. He said, “The fact that you are coming here, standing with Israel—in Israel—is mightily important and gives us a lot of strength, a lot of encouragement.” I asked if I could pray for him, and I asked God to protect the nation of Israel, and give him strength and wisdom.
As we pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6), let’s also lift up the families in Gaza who continue to live in desperate conditions. Though humanitarian access in Gaza has been limited, Samaritan’s Purse has long-standing Christian partners there, and we are working hard to equip them to help their neighbors.
We also continue to work inside Ukraine and with refugees across Europe as the Ukrainian people face another brutal winter under siege. While much of the world’s attention has turned away from this terrible war, God has not forgotten those who continue to suffer.
Samaritan’s Purse is doing all we can to comfort those living near the frontlines while helping reassure them that God indeed loves them. Our teams have helped reach 14 million people with medical care, 200 million pounds of food, water, wood stoves, roofs, and over a quarter of a million Ukrainian Bibles.
“God loves you.” That’s the message we translated into Ukrainian and printed on the blue-and-yellow bags that we’ve been using to deliver many of these emergency supplies.
In one town near the frontlines, our church partners found an elderly woman hiding in her basement. We’ll call her Valentyna. She said she had not had bread in months and felt so forsaken that she was ready to take her own life.
After she received food and other assistance from Samaritan’s Purse, Valentyna sat down to eat what might have been her last meal. But as she read the message on the bag, she started asking herself if it was really true that God loved her. The next day, she asked workers who came to check on her, and they shared the Gospel and explained just how much God loves us. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). As Valentyna realized the depth of His love, she prayed to receive Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior.
Five days later, her town was invaded, and Valentyna tragically lost her life. We know that she is forever in the presence of the One whose love was expressed on that bag and then written eternally on her heart.
We heard this testimony from Vera, a courageous Ukrainian believer who was working in the “red zone” when she had the opportunity to share the Gospel with Valentyna. Please continue to pray for the people of Ukraine and our church partners as we work with them to meet local needs and help people find hope in Jesus Christ.
It seems as though the world has been turned upside down, but Samaritan’s Purse is committed to responding to any and every disaster, conflict, or disease outbreak that the Lord calls us to so that we can share the love of God and the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. We have to be prepared. “You also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:44).
And as we enter 2024, Samaritan’s Purse Canada is working to prepare our 118,000 square-foot warehouse near the airport in Calgary to house an Emergency Field Hospital for deployment with Canadian doctors and nurses around the world.
This field hospital, alongside those that are stored at our international headquarters in North Carolina, will greatly expand our capacity to bring help in simultaneous disasters—a need that is growing in our uncertain world. The western Canada location is also a particularly strategic location for rapidly responding to crises in Asia.
Please pray for this new step of faith and the work that God will do through it. He uses your partnership to make it possible to go to the hard places of the world to relieve suffering and share the Good News of His Son, who came to “seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10, ESV).
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