Samaritan's Purse History

A brief history of Samaritan's Purse

"Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God."

Bob Pierce wrote these now-famous words in his Bible after visiting suffering children on the Korean island of Kojedo. His impassioned prayer led him to establish Samaritan's Purse in 1970. His mission for our organization - including Samaritan's Purse Canada, which began three years later - was "to meet emergency needs in crisis areas through existing evangelical mission agencies and national churches."

After World War II, Pierce traveled throughout Asia as an evangelist and journalist with Youth for Christ. While on a university lecturing circuit in China, he stumbled across some courageous women who were living among lepers and orphans, sacrificing everything to share the love of Jesus Christ. Through their selfless love, God gave Pierce a vision for ministry. He dedicated himself to finding and supporting other such Christians who were caring for the poor and suffering in the distant corners of the world.

In the summer of 1973, Pierce met his eventual successor - an adventurous young student named Franklin Graham (eldest son of evangelist Billy Graham) who had a growing heart for world missions. Franklin, intrigued by Pierce's many stories from the field, began to spend more and more time with the seasoned Christian statesman.

In 1975, Franklin accompanied Pierce on a life-changing tour of some of the world's neediest areas of the world. God captured his heart for missions.

Pierce died of leukemia in 1978, and nearly 18 months later, Franklin became the President and Chairman of Samaritan's Purse International, which includes Samaritan's Purse Canada. Through more than 30 years of earthquakes, hurricanes, wars, and famine since then, Franklin has led the global ministry in following the biblical example of the Good Samaritan.

"Go and do likewise," Christ commanded after explaining the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10. So we do. Samaritan's Purse travels the world's highways looking for victims along the way. We are quick to bandage the wounds we see, but like the Samaritan, we don't stop there. In addition to meeting immediate, emergency needs, we help these victims recover and get back on their feet.

No matter where we go or what we do, we offer more than help. We offer hope. When given the opportunity, to suffering people in a broken world, we share the news of the only One who can bring true peace - Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.

Samaritan's Purse Canada (headquartered in Calgary, AB) is working in about 70 countries around the world while Samaritan's Purse International (headquartered in Boone, NC, but also including offices in the U.S., England, Ireland, Holland, Germany and Australia) is working in more than 100 countries.

Samaritan's Purse Timeline (PDF)