In the February issue of the Samaritan’s Purse publication, Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, talks of the visit of Salva Kiir Mayardit, the President of South Sudan, at the international headquarters in Boone, North Carolina. He recalls how the emergency relief teams began in 1993 to reach out to this war-torn nation. Years and thousands of supplies, of food, shelter, agricultural aid, medical care later, a peace accord was signed in 2005. Then began the difficult work of rebuilding hundreds of churches that had been destroyed. “In South Sudan“, Mr. Graham explains, “our first priority was to help provide quality medical care, which included rebuilding and equipping two hospitals. Today, through our ongoing support of Kurmuk Hospital in South Sudan, Samaritan’s Pursecontinues to advance medical mission in an area where healthcare is virtually non-existent.”
Dr. Evan Atar provides the leadership necessary to offer a population of more than 220,000 with life-saving care in the Name of Jesus Christ. When asked why he chose to live and serve in Kurmuk, he replied, “The decision was easy because I know my life doesn’t belong to me. It belongs to God.” Meeting Dr. Atar for the first time was quite an eye-opener for Samaritan’s Purse. He was transporting a few small boxes of medical supplies from a village about 60 miles away by means of a rusty tractor! Most organizations refused to be a part of the work due to Kurmuk being on the frontlines and the hospital was in disrepair as well as overflowing with sick and injured people. The dedicated staff worked long hours without pay performing surgery with equipment they fitted together from parts they scavenged.
Samaritan’s Purse stepped up to the challenge. God was working here and they would join the battle for the life of this oasis of healing. Dr. Atar states, “They came to help us when others would not step foot here. They slept on the ground with us and treated us like brothers.” Building and medical supplies were flown in and doctor’s came to assist with surgical procedures and training for staff. Soon the hospital was known for miles around for its modern facilities. The people of South Sudan poured in. Dr. Atar says, “We are so thankful to Samaritan’s Purse for giving us a real hospital. We tell our patients that this place is proof that Jesus is real, and He did not forget them during the war.”
A sad epilogue: In the past year, wildfire has taken its toll on parts of Kurmuk Hospital in South Sudan. Equipment, vehicles and tools were destroyed. Rebuilding will take time and hard work. They ask believers for our prayers to overcome so that Kurmuk can continue their healthcare ministry.
Ways you can help: Pray..always! You can also equip a mission hospital to save lives and improve healthcare. Samaritan’s Purse operates a medical warehouse that ships donated medical supplies to dozens of missionary hospitals around the world. For an average of $50 in shipping costs, they can provide a hospital, like the one in South Sudan, with $1,000 worth of medicine or medical supplies. Also every day, doctor’s serving with their Post-Residency Program treat hundreds of sick and wounded people, giving vital healthcare, in one of the world’s most impoverished communities. Their cost for putting a doctor in a missionary hospital for two years is about $7 per patient or $210 for a typical 30-patient day. A gift of $35 will enable them to feed a family for a month or meet other needs as they arise. Go to www.samaritanspurse.org. for more info.
A Samaritan’s Purse Update, February 2009
Samaritan’s Purse International Relief, Franklin Graham, President