“I think that isolation is one of the hardest parts of this whole situation,” Stephanie Morales said. She’s a physician’s assistant with Samaritan’s Purse who flew to Cremona, Italy, to work at the field hospital there. She’s found that prayer makes a difference, maybe because praying with people helps them see they’re not alone. The Lord is with them. He’ll be there when no one else can be.
In a video produced by the non-profit, she reports that she has seen patients who are separated from their families showing visible and measurable signs of anxiety. She asks if she can pray for them and has seen their heart rates slow down. “God’s peace is so good and it’s measurable.”
“Chronicles says that if we humble ourselves and we pray that God hears us and He wants to deliver us from evil,” Morales said in the video. “We’re doing everything medically that we can do. But we’re adding prayer to all of our patients in this whole place and just asking God to come through for the Cremona hospital and also all over the world. Just the Lord’s mercy to please pour out on all of us.”
This will be happening in Central Park. Samaritan’s Purse tweeted Tuesday that their medical personnel are completing the process of setting up an emergency field hospital in Central Park for COVID-19 patients.
The repository unit consists of 14 tents and 68 beds. The Central Park unit will receive patients from the nearby Mount Sinai Health System but be staffed by Samaritan’s Purse.
The Most Improbable Thing
Central Park seems an unlikely place in the world for Samaritan’s Purse to set up shop. It’s “the most improbable thing,” said Dr. Elliott Tenpenny. The doctor fought Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and is now leading the Central Park field hospital.
New York badly needs it. The state has the most cases and deaths in the nation by far: 75,629 active cases and 1,941 total deaths as of Wednesday. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, “I am asking healthcare professionals across the country, if you don’t have a healthcare crisis in your community, please come help us in New York now.”
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The Navy sent a 1,000-bed hospital ship to Manhattan on Monday. Unlike the Samaritan’s Purse field hospital, these beds are to alleviate the non-COVID-19 burden on hospitals.
Some publications criticized Samaritan’s Purse’s stance on marriage and abortion, expressed in their statement of faith. A headline on the liberal website Gothamist reads, “Group Behind Central Park Coronavirus Tent Hospital Asks Volunteers To Support Anti-Gay Agenda.” Another on the same site declared: “De Blasio “Very Concerned” About Anti-Gay Evangelical Group Running Central Park Coronavirus Hospital.”
Mt. Sinai released a statement saying they disagreed with Samaritan’s Purse on LGBTQ matters and explained why the non-profit is uniquely equipped to serve.
Samaritan’s Purse retweeted part four of six of the statement, part of which reads: “Mount Sinai and Samaritan’s Purse are unified in our mission to provide the same world-class care to anyone and everyone who needs it, no questions asked. We are all focused on one thing: saving lives.”
The Hope That We Have
Samaritan’s Purse President an CEO Franklin Graham told former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee on Huckabee that COVID-19 is unlike other crises the organization has responded to in that it is a “worldwide pandemic.”
“The world is upside down,” Graham told Mike Huckabee. “People are afraid. People are scared. They don’t know where to go, what to do. And I can tell you right now, as Christians, I believe this is a great opportunity for us to stand up, to be counted, and to let people know the hope that we have — and that’s our faith in Jesus Christ.”