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Training with Samaritan’s Purse

May 23, 2017 by

In early May, a team of twenty-eight men from the Bruderhof flew to North Carolina to take part in a Disaster Assistance Relief Training (DART) organized by the Samaritan’s Purse relief organization, so that each of us would be able to volunteer for a deployment should disaster – man-made or natural, domestic or overseas – strike.

Our trainers Nick, Dan, and Asher took excellent care of us for the duration of our stay; each of them has been on multiple deployments around the world and told us a lot about the type of work we might be involved in, should we ever deploy.

Samaritan’s Purse “is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritan’s Purse has helped victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease and famine with the purpose of sharing God’s love through His Son, Jesus Christ.” This common cause was to be felt in the way the whole team, trainers and trainees, met for devotions every morning before work, to pray for each other and for those currently on deployments.

Over our two days together, we had classroom instruction on disaster response and performed team building exercises. We trained to erect Emergency Field Hospitals (EFH), practicing with the different types of tents SP uses several times a year in places overseas like Iraq and Liberia. We spent time learning about what might be needed in domestic disasters such as hurricanes and floods: equipment ranging from chain saws to construction tools, and mobile facilities for laundry and catering. We even had a meal of MREs (“meals ready to eat”) which are commonly used to feed disaster response personnel.

The most important thing we learned was that individual readiness is the key to successful deployments. There is no way of knowing what we might encounter, and without a strong foundation of prayer, trust, and peace of heart, the need can easily become overwhelming and emotionally draining. As the parable of the Good Samaritan shows, what counts is the love we offer in responding to any need Jesus puts before us. Any relief we provide must be in the spirit of Jesus: going the extra mile; maintaining a demeanor of joy and love in all circumstances; and investing the time and finance necessary to give aid of high quality, with materials that will last.

We look forward to opportunities to help people in need “in Jesus’ name.” The cooperation between us at the Bruderhof – with our legacy of lifetime commitment to Christ and his church – and Samaritan’s Purse – an organization capable of delivering basic commodities and aid to disaster zones anywhere around the globe at a moment’s notice – is an exciting and thrilling partnership.


Clarence Shirky lives at the Beech Grove Bruderhof in England. Rodney Horning, a school teacher, lives at the New Meadow Run Bruderhof in Pennsylvania.

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