A sacred ministry of compassion
On a recent trip to China, an honored guest of Samaritan’s Purse described our work to Chinese officials as “sacred ministry”—words not commonly used to describe a relief and development organization.
The description stuck with me because it fit so perfectly.
Everything we do at Samaritan’s Purse is done in Jesus’ Name. Why? Because we believe in His Gospel— “to proclaim good news to the poor…freedom for the prisoners, and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free” (Luke 4:18, NIV).
In a world where millions of people are marginalized and suffering, we are passionately engaged in the sacred ministry of compassionate service. As Samaritan’s Purse and the Church, we are called to be Good Samaritans to those in need.
And, in the words of Archbishop Desmund Tutu, “If you are going to be compassionate, be prepared for action!”
His words sum up what we have accomplished in 2013 with the support of Canadians. Here are some examples:
- More than 5,000 people learned how to improve their agricultural techniques to help them feed their families.
- Over 400 team members joined Operation Christmas Child shoebox distribution teams, construction teams, and water teams to help encourage and equip communities in need worldwide.
- The homes of nearly 800 families in southern Alberta were prepared for rebuild because of the help of volunteers and donors last summer; we were also honored to serve the Blackfoot people on the Siksika Nation reserve as they recovered from wide-reaching flood damage.
- More than 20,000 families were given clean water for years to come through the gift of BioSand Water Filters.
- More than 28,000 people heard the Good News of Jesus Christ.
These statistics aren’t just numbers. They represent individuals—hurting people who are made in the image of God and who we came alongside so that they could live with opportunity, dignity, and safety.
As I reflect on our work in 2013, I am overwhelmed—our projects are truly a ministry of service. And, put quite simply: this ministry is worship.
I’m reminded of the Apostle Paul’s encouragement: “Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship” (Romans 12:1, NIV).
Our ministries of compassion bring glory to God. Why? Because we worship a God who knows suffering; whose Son died in agony on a cross to save us; whose Spirit “intercedes for us through wordless groans” (Romans 8:26, NIV).
As the year comes to a close, we at Samaritan’s Purse are preparing for 2014 and dedicating the coming year to the Lord.
Whether through restoring homes in High River and Calgary, constructing BioSand Water Filters in Nicaragua, or providing emergency medical care in the Philippines—we will continue to worship our Savior through acts of sacrifice and service.
Together, we can create a choir of Good Samaritans that sings the music of justice and compassion to a world that cries out for redemption. And in doing so, we sing a love song to our God.