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Samaritan’s Purse showcases Emergency Field Hospital on Liberty’s campus

Liberty University students, faculty, and staff are getting the chance to see what Samaritan’s Purse (SP) does up close to help in the midst of global disasters for this semester’s Global Focus Week.

The Boone, N.C.-based organization set up its Emergency Field Hospital on the Academic Lawn this week, marking the first time the hospital has been featured on a college campus.

Stretching nearly an acre when it is deployed, the hospital is completely mobile and designed to respond at a moment’s notice to disasters and humanitarian crises. It is equipped with ultrasound imaging and digital X-ray capabilities, an emergency room, critical care unit, laboratory, operating rooms, surgical sterilization tent, more than 50 inpatient beds, and staff sleeping quarters. It arrives on the scene with all of the necessary equipment to be self-sufficient, including generators and water purification systems.

Students were invited to tour the hospital and interact with members of the Samaritan’s Purse DART team, a roster of on-call professionals trained to respond within a complex international environment.

“I want students at Liberty to recognize that medicine is a tool of evangelism,” SP Vice President of Programs and Government Affairs Ken Isaacs said. “I think having the field hospital on display will give many of the students a chance to conceptualize what they’re learning and how they can apply it to the work Samaritan’s Purse does.”

This week, the hospital was set up just like it was when SP responded to Mosul, Iraq, in 2016.

On Monday night, students heard from several Samaritan’s Purse staff members who have been in the field.

Yancy Stermer, who served as a surgical technician in Mosul, recounted witnessing the death and destruction caused by ISIS. Stermer kept a journal so he could remember the stories of the people he and his response team helped.

After operating on a young girl who was severely injured, Stermer said he asked if she wanted to listen to music to drown out the machines in the recovery room.

“The little girl got very distressed and shook her head no,” he said. “She said, ‘If I listen to music, they will come and burn me.’ That went right into my soul. I couldn’t decompress. I sat up at night, and I wrote in my journal.”

Dr. Elliott Tenpenny, international health unit director for SP, said the field hospital allows Samaritan’s Purse to go into areas of the world that may have not been accessible before.

“God is calling us to minister in a new way, and He’s given us a new tool to do that in the medical realm,” Tenpenny said. “For hundreds of years, Christians have gone out and served as missionary doctors and nurses. But I think God wants to use that skill set to minister to new people.”

The field hospital will remain set up on the Academic Lawn until Wednesday at 5 p.m.

Global Focus Week continues through Friday with special events scheduled throughout the week, including documentary screenings, a world market, and an art exhibit. Representatives from several organizations will be on campus to talk with students about global opportunities. (See the full list of events on the LU Serve website.)

On Wednesday morning, students will hear from Samaritan’s Purse CEO and President Franklin Graham in Convocation.