Praise the Lord! 56,000 Answered the Call to Help an African Hospital

January 28, 2020 • Kenya
Franklin Graham often appeared on the PTL television program.
Franklin Graham appeared on the PTL television network to encourage Christians to support Samaritan's Purse in a project to renovate and expand the overcrowded Tenwek Hospital in Kenya. We received 56,000 letters from PTL viewers who contributed more than $400,000. This response enabled Samaritan's Purse to broaden our mailing list and taken on new projects. The photo above is from a PTL appearance in 1982 as the network continued their support of our work.

1980: God opens doors for Samaritan's Purse to help Tenwek Hospital in Kenya.

Dr. Lowell Furman and Franklin Graham went to Kenya to visit Tenwek Hospital. The facility was so badly overcrowded that there were sometimes three patients in a bed, and occasionally a fourth person on the floor underneath. Tenwek obviously needed new facilities, but Samaritan’s Purse had never taken on such an enormous project.

Overcrowded conditions at Tenwek Hospital in Kenya moved Franklin Graham to get involved.

Overcrowded conditions at Tenwek Hospital in Kenya moved Franklin Graham to get involved.

In 1980, Jim Bakker invited Franklin to be a guest on his TV show “The PTL Club.” He showed pictures of the crowded conditions at Tenwek and shared the need for a new ward, which was expected to cost $400,000.

Jim Bakker turned to the camera and said, “Everybody watching right now, I want you to send Franklin Graham one dollar. Don’t send it to me or to ‘PTL.’” He then asked the control room to put the address for Samaritan’s Purse on the screen. He also took an offering from the studio audience, asking them for $1 each.

Afterwards, Samaritan’s Purse received 56,000 letters with $409,000, praise the Lord! Franklin later went back on the show to thank everyone and gave the extra $9,000 to “PTL.” Franklin said this was the first time he tested the “God room” principle that Bob Pierce had taught him. Tenwek completed the construction in 1985, and the president of Kenya came to the hospital to dedicate the new wing.

Over the past 40 years, Samaritan’s Purse has continued to support Tenwek by building surgical facilities and sending hundreds of doctors through World Medical Mission. Since then, we have also helped build or restore a number of other mission hospitals around the world, including Centre Medical Evangelique at Nyankunde in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2009; Kapsowar Hospital in Kenya in 2008; the Evangelical Medical Center in Angola in 2005; and Luampa Hospital in Zambia in 1996.

Watch the video below from 1986 to hear more about the early story of Samaritan’s Purse relationship with Tenwek Hospital.