Over the past 25 years, more than 1,400 boys and girls have received life-saving heart surgeries through the Samaritan’s Purse program, Children’s Heart Project.
In today’s episode of On the Ground with Samaritan’s Purse, host Kristy Graham introduces listeners to doctors and families who are working to bring healing to these children. Samaritan’s Purse is partnering with some of the best hospitals in North America to provide healthcare to children who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford these operations.
Dr. Kavarana, a pediatric heart surgeon at MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children's Hospital in South Carolina, explained the main problem for so many children with heart defects around the world: lack of access. Heart surgeries for children are fairly routine for doctors in the West as heart defects can often be detected even before a baby is born. But this same surgery is either not available in some countries, or is too expensive for families to afford.
Samaritan’s Purse identifies children who need heart surgery, and connects them with a host family. These host families help parents and children feel comfortable during their time in the United States, and they often have opportunities to share the Gospel.
First, Kristy introduces Shinee and her daughter Hishga from Mongolia. Hishga was born with a heart defect that, if left untreated, would be fatal. Podcast correspondent Kaitlyn traveled to South Carolina where Hishga’s surgery took place. Shinee shares about the emotional experience of finding out about her daughter’s heart defect, and the agonizing months and years spent waiting for surgery.
Meanwhile, God was working out the details in the United States to provide Shinee and Hishga with the perfect host family. Just moments after finding out that their own child had a serious heart defect, the Smith family received a call from Samaritan’s Purse asking them to pray for a child coming to America for heart surgery. This started an ongoing partnership of prayer and support.
“We want to see these children receive the life-saving heart surgery that they need. Jesus has redeemed and restored us, and He’s in the process of making all things new. So that’s our desire too, is just to follow that.”—Jason Smith
The Smiths started the Emerson Rose Foundation—named after their daughter—to sponsor research and provide children with life-saving heart surgery. Their own daughter passed away suddenly at just 2-and-a-half months old, but they are honoring her life by serving others. One way that they did this was by serving as a host family with Children’s Heart Project.
The entire Smith family got involved in hosting, including their two daughters. Kaitlyn talked with Campbell and Rowan, both under 10 years old, about what it’s been like to host Shinee and Hishga. Through this experience, these two families have become united during this process of healing.
Please continue to pray for Children’s Heart Project, and for Shinee and Hishga as they continue to grow in their love and knowledge of Christ.
“For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”—Galatians 3:26-27 (ESV)