How Samaritan’s Purse Is Bringing Relief - and Hope - to Maui and Florida
On Thursday’s edition of “Washington Watch” with Tony Perkins and Jody Hice, Edward Graham, chief operating officer for the Christian international relief organization, Samaritan’s Purse, was invited on to discuss what is being done for the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia. Graham is also operating a team to bring relief in Maui from the fires.
Regarding the wildfires in Hawaii, Graham explained how difficult it has been to make any decisions and get things done. He shared how sifting, or the act of searching for personal items to return them to their owners, has been a source of hope. “When there’s a fire, there’s a loss of hope because everything’s gone,” he said. “[But] then when you find that one little ring, it’s the first glimpse of something bigger, something that happened.” These small moments of hope are where chaplains from Samaritan’s Purse start building relationships with the homeowners, which often leads to discussions about faith and hope in Christ. Even though bringing aid to Maui has been challenging, as Graham put it, they “see so many salvations just through sifting.”
Graham also shared how many of the churches in Hawaii survived, and how they are actively seeking to help the members of their congregations whose homes did not. “[The churches] are so bold. They’re loving their communities, and they’re doing great things to serve those that have lost so much,” he said. “The church there is energized and wants to help.”
On the other hand, Samaritan’s Purse is facing a separate challenge in bringing relief to the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia in Florida. The storm, which made landfall on Wednesday in Florida as a category 3, affected nearly 438,000 people throughout Florida and Georgia who lost power, experienced major flooding, and suffered other damages estimated by Moody’s Analytics ranging between $12 billion and $20 billion overall.
Samaritan’s Purse is assessing damage in Georgia and South Carolina, but the majority of their efforts are in Florida. “I mean, thousands have been affected, thousands of homes, and we’re getting more and more reports,” Graham said. “We’ll bring more teams in if needed and more equipment. But it’s going to take a long time for these areas to recover.”
Despite the long-term nature of the relief mission for Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, Graham shared how Samaritan’s Purse is going to stay until the work is done. He explained how the mission is to go beyond clean-up of the storm to the churches and helping communities become stronger through the disaster. “When we do leave, when the work’s done, we want that church better established to love and minister [and] make disciples of men,” he insisted.
Through it all, Graham explained, Samaritan’s Purse exists “to love our neighbors and share the name of Jesus Christ when they think all hope is lost.” On behalf of the organization and the people devastated by both disasters, Graham requested prayer and urged any interested volunteers to sign up at SamaritansPurse.org.
Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.