The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) chartered a Boeing 747 Cargo plane as part of a joint effort with relief organization Samaritan’s Purse to send urgently-needed supplies to Chengdu, China.
“Not only are we praying for the people of China and those suffering from the catastrophe but we want this airlift to give them hope and let them know they aren’t alone in their time of need,” said Franklin Graham, president and CEO of BGEA and Samaritan’s Purse.
The earthquake was felt in Beijing and Shanghai, more than a thousand miles from the epicenter. At least 50,000 people are reported dead and some 250,000 are injured. In terms of intensity, it was comparable to the deadly earthquake in 1976 that killed approximately 240,000 people in China.
On the Ground as it Happened
Graham, who was meeting with government and church leaders in Beijing, Hangzhou, Nanjing and Shanghai during the quake, reported via email: “The devastation is horrific. It could take years for the area to recover, but you cannot recover the loss of life. Pray for the churches while they minister that they will be able to reach out to those hurting with God’s love.”
When he learned about the tragedy, Graham committed $150,000 to assist with the immediate disaster response. He also issued the following statement of condolence: “On behalf of my father and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, we want the people of China to know that we are praying for each person impacted by this disaster. We want to do anything we can to assist with this crisis so we are committing these funds for initial support of the local church as they assist with the relief efforts.
“I’ve been impressed with the effective and immediate response of the Chinese government and how they’ve responded to this devastating earthquake,” Graham added. “Each day I’m here in China, I am meeting with officials to assess the need and offer our assistance. Finally, I would ask all Christians in the United States to pray for the people of China and the church here as they reach out to their fellow citizens with God’s love and compassion.”
On May 13, Graham met with Elder Fu Xian-Wei, chairman of the Three Self Patriotic Movement, and Rev. Gao Feng, president of the China Christian Council at the organizations’ national headquarters in Shanghai.
“This donation is very important to the people of China because it shows the love of God for all people,” said Rev. Gao. “This will encourage more Chinese people to do the same and to reach out to their neighbors in need. Franklin Graham’s visit is bringing us much more understanding and encouragement for each other.”
- For earthquake survivors who are trapped, injured, homeless, or grieving.
- For the families of those who died.
- For the Chinese churches and Christians as they reach out as neighbors to those who are in need.
- For relief organizations, including Samaritan’s Purse, as they launch relief work in China.
- Pray that the people of China will turn to the Lord and believe: “For he will deliver the needy who cry out; the afflicted who have no one to help” (Psalm 72: 12).