Feet in the Vineyard
Editor's note: Since the publication of this piece in our October edition, Hurricane Michael battered the panhandle of Florida with Category Four winds. Samaritan's Purse is on the frontline of relief efforts, and we encourage readers to support them. Click this link for more information on how you can help.
As the rains poured and the flood waters swept through North Carolina, I posted on Facebook a request for a “local, trustworthy non-profit” to which we could give. I did this largely because America’s go-to donation headquarters has always been the Red Cross, but the Red Cross’ abysmal misdirecting of funds following 9/11 struck them forever off the list of places where I might donate. Yes, it’s ancient history now, but I’ll never forget.
One of the non-profits listed by a friend was Samaritan’s Purse. I’d heard great things about them and decided to look into it. What I found was tens of thousands of Christian Feet in the Vineyard, with an operating budget that directs 87.6 percent of their funding to their work. A measly 4.8 percent covers administration and general use.
Consider — this for a global ministry involving tens of thousands of volunteers, field offices in 17 countries and a 2018 budget of $665 million dollars!
Founded in 1970 by Bob Pierce, the charity has been unabashedly Christian since day one. Employees and volunteers are asked to sign a statement of faith. Tragically, Mr. Pierce died of leukemia is 1978. he was succeeded by Pastor Franklin Graham. For almost 40 years, Pastor Graham has led the organization and its growth has skyrocketed.
The number of programs and solutions they bring to a hurting world are staggering … and when asked by those receiving assistance, “Why did you come?” all involved are trained to answer with a simple sentence: We come to help you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Disaster relief, however, is not all they do. Many of their programs are pro-active and offer long-term solutions like:
Providing families with goats (usually pregnant), which provide milk, butter and cheese and offspring — which offer the opportunity for income. This program model is also utilized with chickens.
Providing families with livestock — donkey and oxen to work the land and llamas and sheep for the value of their annual sheering.
Providing families with beehives and beekeeping training. Bees produce nutritious honey and beeswax can be used to make candles, cosmetics or other products. Beekeeping requires only a small amount of land and equipment and by pollinating crops, bees can increase fruit and vegetable yields.
Assisting churches and communities to construct, nurture and maintain aquaculture ponds, as well as providing farmers and gardeners with drought-tolerant seeds, equipment and training in rainwater harvesting and irrigation techniques.
Providing fruit trees and forestry training; in hard times, families desperate for firewood resort to cutting trees, leaving the land barren and fruitless. Samaritan’s Purse helps them replant orange, mango and other fruit trees that yield nutritious food and prevent soil erosion.
Samaritan’s Purse also operates a global medical mission; food and nutrition programs; water and sanitation programs; construction projects; a global medical mission for children with heart issues, diabetes, physical disabilities and deformities, a support of orphanages for children in danger; a United States Disaster Relief program … and many, many more.
After researching Samaritan’s Purse, I am convinced that a gift to them is an exceptional way to help in areas your parish church cannot. We are taught as Christians that the first flock we should support outside our family is our local parish church and Samaritan’s Purse doesn’t change that. However, for those with the resources to go above and beyond, it certainly appears that Pastor Graham and his team can be trusted emphatically to provide careful stewardship of your gifts.
It is indeed sad there are so many secular charities that cannot be trusted, but the story of an “above reproach” Christian organization doing world-wide service is uplifting. Samaritan’s Purse is taking the tools of the Christian Vineyard and traveling to the four corners of the earth, where they are planting vineyards anew.
For more information, visit SamaritansPurse.org.