Franklin Graham Travels to Sudan
Humanitarian Trip Includes Meetings with Top Government Officials
As president and CEO of the international Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse, Franklin Graham has a long history of providing humanitarian aid to Sudan - a country where people continue to face incredible hardship after enduring years of bloody civil war. Tomorrow, Graham, who is also the president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association will travel again to Sudan, bringing leadership teams from both organizations to look for new ways to partner with each other and expand efforts to help the people of Sudan. Along with visiting Samaritan’s Purse relief projects, Graham and his team will meet with top government officials in Sudan. Graham has worked closely with Sudan’s leadership for years. In 2003 and 2007, Graham addressed the concerns of Sudanese Christians in meetings with Sudan’s President al-Bashir, who is expected to face an arrest warrant next week issued by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity in Darfur. “This is a critical time for Sudan. In recent months, GOS (Government of Sudan) attacks in Darfur have involved civilians,” said Graham. “I urge President Obama not to let the economic crisis distract him from working with Sudan to achieve full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Setbacks now could have long-term consequences.” While urging peace on this trip with government leaders, Graham and executives from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse also plan to travel to Juba to meet with Salva Kiir, vice president of Sudan and president of the semiautonomous southern Sudan. This follows a visit last month when Salva Kiir came to Samaritan’s Purse headquarters in Boone, N.C. to meet with Graham and express his appreciation for the organization’s extensive relief efforts in Sudan. The Graham team will also meet with U.S. embassy officials and pastors in Khartoum, travel to an IDP (internally displaced people) camp in Darfur, and visit various Samaritan’s Purse relief projects in southern Sudan. Samaritan’s Purse has been working in Sudan since 1993, helping hundreds of thousands survive regional conflicts, while advancing the cause of peace and religious freedom. The organization supported four hospitals in Sudan, re-established schools and agricultural programs in the Nuba Mountains, and distributed food to 130,000 displaced people in Darfur and 60,000 Bedouins near the Red Sea. Samaritan’s Purse has also launched a program to rebuild churches destroyed during the civil war - completing nearly 250 so far with another 22 currently under construction. Graham’s trip to Sudan comes just a week after he traveled to remote villages in Alaska with Gov. Sarah Palin - where Samaritan’s Purse is providing food to Eskimo families who are struggling to survive an unusually harsh winter. Samaritan's Purse is a non-profit organization that provides immediate, no-red-tape response to the physical and spiritual needs of individuals in crisis situations - especially in locations where few others are working. Samaritan's Purse has worked in more than 100 countries to provide aid to victims of war, disease, disaster, poverty, famine and persecution. The organization recently collected some 8 million shoe box gifts for its annual project, Operation Christmas Child. From its headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association runs a wide range of domestic and international ministries, including: large-scale festivals led by Franklin Graham and his son Will Graham; Dare to Be a Daniel, a youth evangelism training project; My Hope World Evangelism Through Television; the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team of crisis-trained chaplains; and many others through print, television, telephone, radio and the Internet.