Serving the Displaced: World Refugee Day 2022

The term “refugee” carries with it certain protections under international law, but what does this mean for Christians? Kristy Graham sits down with team members who have both academic and first-hand field experience to learn more about the effects of displacement, the importance of remembering the individual, and how Christians are called to help.


Go inside a refugee camp in Iraq.

– Learn more about ways Samaritan’s Purse is helping refugees around the world.

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Show Notes

On June 20, 2022, the international community will recognize World Refugee Day, but as Christians, we should consider the needs of displaced people year-round. Christ calls us to love and care for refugees, which Kristy Graham shares more about in this episode.

First, Kristy sits down with Eric Huxley, the country director in Colombia, to learn more about the technical definition of the word “refugee.” Eric studied displacement at the academic level. He breaks down what it means to be a refugee, but he also shares his first-hand experience working with Venezuelan migrants in Colombia.

“When you enter into a relationship with beneficiaries, when you sit on the floor in the dirt with them, and you just begin to ask them, ‘Why are you leaving?’ ‘What do you miss?’ ‘What was your last night like before you left your home?’ Then you begin to experience the human side of the crisis, and that’s where you really begin to pull out the spiritual needs that every single refugee has.” — Eric Huxley

Next, Kristy talks to Ken Isaacs, vice president of programs and government relations. Ken remembers the first time Samaritan’s Purse ever worked with displaced people, and he shares how integral this has been to the work of the ministry over the years. Ken reminds listeners of the parable of the Good Samaritan. In Luke 10, the religious people walked around the man in need.

“I never want to be the person that walks around the person. I think we’re called to be there—called to go to the people in the ditches of life. We’re not called to go where we have permissions, we’re called to go where there are needs.” — Ken Isaacs

One of the places of significant need right now is Europe where millions of Ukrainian refugees have fled. Samaritan’s Purse is partnering with more than 50 churches there to help them welcome and care for refugees in Jesus’ Name. Daniel Zeidan is overseeing these partnerships. While he was in Poland, Kristy called him for an update on the work in the region. Daniel shared how moving it is to see families and churches in Poland open their doors to help refugees in their time of need.

Throughout the episode, listeners will also hear firsthand from a displaced person in Ukraine, an Afghan refugee now living in the United States, and a Syrian refugee in Iraq. As you meet these individuals and learn more about what it means to be a refugee, you’ll learn how to strategically pray for those who are displaced and consider ways to get involved.

Meet the Staff: Luther Harrison

Samaritan's Purse Lodge Alaska

Luther Harrison, vice president of North American Ministries, remembers the first year of disaster relief with Samaritan’s Purse when just 50 volunteers deployed. Now, thousands serve across the country each year. Kristy and Luther reflect on God’s faithfulness over the years.


Volunteer with Samaritan’s Purse

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Read how volunteers are helping families after the devastating wildfire in New Mexico.

Show Notes

After years in law enforcement, Luther Harrison, now serving as the vice president of North American Ministries, felt God calling him to the ministry. He started out as an associate at Samaritan’s Purse—taking inventory, clearing snow, and mowing the grass. Kristy Graham asks Luther about his history with the ministry and how he has witnessed our work grow over the years.

Luther was on the ground for our first U.S. Disaster Relief response more than 20 years ago, and now he leads the team that responds across the country when disasters strike. He remembers when just 50 volunteers deployed in one year and contrasts this to the thousands who now serve each year.

Now, North American Ministries maintains a fleet of Disaster Relief Units based in North Carolina, Texas, and California. God has entrusted these resources to Samaritan’s Purse, and in everything we do, we want people to know that we are responding in Jesus’ Name.

Luther shares that the church should be the first responder, which is why Samaritan’s Purse always partners with a local church. He challenges the Church to get outside, serve those in need, and be the hands and feet of Christ.

After more than two decades in disaster relief, Luther says,“It never gets old, getting to see people get help.”

Ephesians 6 is a chapter in the Bible that continues to encourage Luther in his work.

“…praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the Gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak,” — Ephesians 6:18–20 (ESV)

Kristy closes the episode with specific ways that listeners can pray for the work of North American Ministries. First, pray for our volunteers that faithfully serve. Pray also for the staff and families who deploy at a moment’s notice in response to crises across the country. Finally, pray that Samaritan’s Purse will be good stewards of every gift that is entrusted to us.