The Samaritan's Purse ministry is regularly flying critical relief supplies and food into Ukraine every week. But on Sunday, one of the Christian humanitarian organization's DC-8 cargo planes completed a different mission as it carried 28 Ukrainians to safety in Toronto, Canada.
The flight from Poland to the capital city of the Canadian province of Ontario landed carrying children of all ages, as well as grandmothers and mothers. One of them, a woman named Natalia, is eight months pregnant. She said it has been an emotional and difficult journey.
"It has been so hard. We were preparing for our new baby and then we had to put our whole life in a suitcase," Natalia explained. "We did not know where we would go. We just ran away. Then God gave us mercy when we were found by Samaritan's Purse. We can have hope again."
Natalia and the other Ukrainians, who were on board the Toronto flight, have family members in Canada. They will be staying with their loved ones while it is too dangerous to go home.
Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan's Purse, who also serves as president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), has traveled to Ukraine twice since the war began, to visit the organization's teams who are helping refugees.
"God bless these people who have been through so much and had to leave everything behind except what they could carry," Graham said when giving the final clearance for the airlift. "They are desperate and hurting. We need to continue to pray for the people of Ukraine and do everything we can to help them."
Graham also tweeted a video of the airlift.
— Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) May 16, 2022
Samaritan's Purse started working in Ukraine and the surrounding countries immediately after the Russian invasion of the country began on Feb. 24. Since then, the organization reports they have airlifted more than 330 tons of relief supplies—including an Emergency Field Hospital—on 13 airlift missions. Their doctors and nurses are operating multiple medical facilities across Ukraine and have treated more than 8,700 patients.
In addition, Samaritan's Purse has delivered more than 1,433 tons of food in Ukraine and Moldova and has also provided 17,500 backpacks for children to carry their belongings.
In all, the organization estimated it has directly helped more than 338,000 people by distributing critical relief items such as blankets, hygiene kits, and solar lights. Teams are also installing community water filtration systems in areas where water sources have been disrupted or contaminated by the conflict.
As CBN News reported last August, Samaritan's Purse also responded to the chaotic situation in Afghanistan following President Joe Biden's order for all U.S. military forces to withdraw from the country by Aug. 31. It partnered with other organizations to get men, women, and children out of Afghanistan before the Taliban could complete their takeover. The organization sponsored flights, which carried hundreds to safety.
Samaritan's Purse reported one of their partners made three trips into Afghanistan that brought out 700 people in one day. The Christian group also helped to get 80 missionary families out of the country.
Based in Boone, North Carolina, Samaritan's Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, the organization has helped meet the needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God's love through His Son, Jesus Christ.
It works in more than 100 countries to provide aid to victims of war, disease, disaster, poverty, famine, and persecution.
For more information, visit SamaritansPurse.org.