May 30, 2024

Leading in Humble Confidence: Israel

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Show Notes

Kristy Graham, host of On the Ground with Samaritan’s Purse, talked with John Silkman, the country coordinator for Samaritan's Purse in Israel. John served in the military for 30 years, where he lived, trained, and fought alongside foreign partners from all around the world. These experiences enabled John to be a part of the Samaritan’s Purse Disaster Assistance Response Team after his retirement. It is evident that the Lord has been preparing John with each deployment, and now, has appointed him for this important role in Israel for such a time as this.

First, Kristy talked to John about what it was like to retire from the military and find a new calling. John discussed what it looks like to be a Godly leader and how he walks in humble confidence, letting the Lord use him as an instrument for His purpose. He has learned more about how to turn away from self-sufficiency and instead, wait on God’s timing.

“We talk about it in our team. It's not about your ability, it's about your availability and that is so important in your focus going forward is that you're not the center of attention. The Gospel is the center of attention. What our Savior did for us, dying on the cross, shedding His blood for our sins is the center of attention.”—John Silkman

A few days after Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, John deployed to Israel. In his conversation with Kristy, he described what he has seen during his time on the ground and explained the complexity of the region. With Israel’s condensed geographical area, John’s team knows that every tactical action becomes a strategic action almost immediately.

Samaritan’s Purse formed partnerships that have since opened doors and provided hope to those hurting on both sides of the conflict. John shared that there are projects all throughout the region, but in order to honor the requests of Samaritan’s Purse partners, it is important to limit exposure because it could put them in harm’s way. There are at least 200,000 displaced people all over Israel. Samaritan’s Purse established programs that help families return to where they live. Additional long-term projects to help communities are being created as well, like equine therapy centers, trauma resilience centers, and ambulance centers.

“Another thing we try to do through our programs is to build bridges to be able to provide resources out there. So, the body of believers can provide outreach to their own communities, and then, when it comes to our partnerships in other places, just trying to provide hope.”—John Silkman

To close, John shared a story of a Magen David Adom emergency service worker that stood her post on the morning of October 7. This brave woman was shot by Hamas terrorists but chose to help her people until the very end. Others gave their lives, and this inspired Samaritan's Purse to provide 21 brand-new ambulances to Magen David Adom, replacing the ones that were destroyed and adding additional armored ambulances to their fleet.

Please pray for the people suffering on both sides of the war. Pray for protection and wisdom as Samaritan’s Purse works through partners in this region. If you’d like to keep up to date with more stories from On the Ground, please visit