The evangelical Christian group Samaritan’s Purse has brought its faith and an emergency field hospital into the heart of New York City, where the coronavirus is ravaging the population like nowhere else in the country.
New York City has had 30,765 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Sunday, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The city’s total amounts to more than half of the 53,520 confirmed cases in New York state. As of Sunday, 678 people in New York City had died from the virus.
The Rev. Franklin Graham announced on Twitter that a convoy carrying the field hospital’s supplies arrived in New York City on Sunday after leaving the organization’s headquarters in Boone, North Carolina, on Saturday.
The coronavirus has overwhelmed the medical facilities in New York. @SamaritansPurse has just deployed there with an Emergency Field Hospital that is being set up in Central Park. We want the people that we help to know that God has not forgotten them and that He loves them. pic.twitter.com/f7hjeI6ogf
— Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) March 29, 2020
Former Fox News host Greta Van Sustern, now host of Gray TV’s “Full Court Press,” posted images of the group setting up in Central Park, though she might have been a little optimistic about the timeline. In a separate Twitter post, Graham estimated it would be 48 hours before the facility is operational.
— Greta Van Susteren (@greta) March 29, 2020
In a Facebook announcing the New York mission, Graham said ministering to the city’s ill is a continuation of his group’s charitable work.
“Samaritan’s Purse has been asked to help in New York as the state and their medical infrastructure has been overwhelmed by the coronavirus. This morning six tractor trailers left our office in NC with a 68-bed emergency field hospital, medical supplies, and equipment. An advance team including one of our doctors left last night and is there now with a larger medical team to follow. Dr. Elliott Tenpenny said, ‘It’s important that we help because this is what we’re called to do as Christians. We help those who are in the ditch of life.’ Please pray as we respond in Jesus’ Name,” Graham wrote
The field hospital is setting up in Central Park’s East Meadow, according to a news release on the Samaritan’s Purse website.
“Our 68-bed respiratory care unit was prepared especially for this response to provide much needed support and to help save lives during the coronavirus pandemic,” the group stated on its website.
“People are dying from the coronavirus, hospitals are out of beds, and the medical staff are overwhelmed,” Graham said in the release.
“This is what Samaritan’s Purse does—we respond in the middle of crises to help people in Jesus’ Name. Please pray for our teams and for everyone around the world affected by the virus,” he said.
Luther Harrison, vice president for North American Ministries, prayed with the staff who left, the release said.
“Lord, our name is on the side of these trucks, but more importantly, Your Name is on the side of these trucks. We commit ourselves and our mission to You,” he prayed.
Samaritan’s Purse is also caring for coronavirus-stricken patients in Italy, where a 68-bed Emergency Field Hospital has been set up in Cremona, near Milan.
“Our U.S. Disaster Relief team, international relief team, medical ministries—the whole organization—has come together for this response at the two epicenters of the disease,” Harrison said. “This is what it means to be the Body of Christ. We’re all coming together to represent the Lord, and every role is important. This whole team is committed to doing all they can to help people in Jesus’ Name.”
Many praised the group for its efforts.
We’ve passed these trucks numerous times on Hwy 77 and Hwy 421.
It puts a smile on our faces and warms our hearts to know that God is using y’all to do His work
God bless ?
Thank y’all ?????
— Stephanie???????? (@real_Stephanie) March 28, 2020
Take note NY Times! These are courageous, compassionate evangelicals on their way to help your city! Let’s see if you will thank them (blessings) or find something else to blame them for (curses). I pray you choose blessing!
— Kerry Spitzer (@bettycspitz) March 28, 2020
Elsewhere on his Facebook page, Graham, who has had very public differences with New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo, posted a message of reassurance for those who are frightened.
“If you are fearful and anxious during these uncertain times with the coronavirus dominating every headline, I urge you to turn to the Word of God and search for His promises. Here are some Scriptures that I hope will strengthen and encourage you today,” he posted.
The verses he posted were: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10); “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” (Psalm 56:3); “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9); “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7); and “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
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