Ep. 15: COVID-19 Airlift to Italy

Thank you for tuning in to another episode of On the Ground with Samaritan’s Purse as Kristy Graham gives you an exclusive look into how the ministry is responding to COVID-19. On March 17, 2020, the Samaritan’s Purse DC-8 cargo plane was deployed to Cremona, Italy – airlifting more than 20 tons of medical supplies, a specialized Emergency Field Hospital, and 32 disaster response specialists to the epicenter of the virus. The On the Ground team was at the hangar as doctors, nurses, water and sanitation specialists, and other disaster response specialists boarded the plane in Greensboro, North Carolina.

In this special episode, Kristy hears from Dr. Elliott Tenpenny, the director of the Samaritan’s Purse International Health Unit. Dr. Tenpenny has been tracking the pandemic for months, and he agreed to give an in-depth update of how the ministry is taking action.

With the coronavirus taking hundreds of lives each day, listen as Dr. Tenpenny explains the magnitude of hopelessness in Italy. The current medical infrastructure is overwhelmed with cases and many medical professionals have become infected themselves. Kristy references a video that illustrates the present medical need in Italy. The Samaritan’s Purse disaster assistance response team (DART) quickly mobilized, built the Emergency Field Hospital, and accepted its first patients on Friday, March 20.

Dr. Tenpenny talks with Kristy about the boldness and humility of the DART. Despite the fear and risk, Samaritan’s Purse is privileged to respond to the crisis. As many shelter in place, these brave DART members are going to the front lines. Hear as Kristy introduces you to a nurse on our DART, Mariah Bywater. Mariah illustrates how God gave her the courage to accept the call to serve with Samaritan’s Purse for the first time and deploy to Italy. Listen as she shares her passion for bringing hope to those who are lost in the darkness.

Throughout the episode, Kristy and Dr. Tenpenny shed light on how to pray more specifically for the needs surrounding the COVID-19 crisis. Dr. Tenpenny expresses the uniqueness of the disease – explaining that the global threat allows Christians to be stepping forward in boldness.

“We have the opportunity uniquely as Christians to be stepping forward while everyone else is stepping back. We need to make as much of that as we can, and take the opportunity to minister to all that we can. We have a responsibility to minister and to act in a different way than the culture around us.” – Dr. Elliott Tenpenny

The episode wraps with thoughts from Kristy’s husband, Edward Graham. Edward had the opportunity to pray for and encourage more the 32 disaster responders before they boarded the DC-8. Please continue to pray for our teams on the ground in Italy as they help bring God’s hope to devastated communities. Now, more than 60 disaster response specialists are sharing God’s love through life-saving medical care in Italy.

“As you’re fighting your own battles in your own communities with this virus, I hope hearing the prayers in this episode encourages you.” – Kristy Graham

An Inside Look

As Kristy mentioned in the episode, you can find current stories on how Samaritan’s Purse is battling COVID-19 on the ground in Italy on our website.

Are you looking for hope and encouragement in the midst of this pandemic? Listen to episode 14 as Kristy’s husband, Edward Graham, talks about fighting fear.

Do you want to know more about having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? Learn more about peace with God here.

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