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Discover the World of God with GMMA


Ken Isaacs

Samaritan's Purse

As the Vice President of Programs and Government Relations for the international Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse, Ken has decades of experience helping millions who were victims of disaster, disease, famine, poverty, persecution, and war. He has served in hot spots around the world and has developed strategic initiatives to respond to dire emergencies in complex environments.

Ken envisioned and developed the Emergency Field Hospitals, which Samaritan’s Purse has deployed worldwide to provide life-saving care in crisis situations, staffed by specially trained teams of doctors and nurses. To multiply the organization’s capacity, he developed a system of DARTs (Disaster Assistance Response Teams), supported by Incident Management Teams, based at the Samaritan’s Purse headquarters in Boone, N.C., who work around the clock to provide logistical support and essential supplies. Following the Biblical example of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), Samaritan’s Purse specializes in being first on the ground in emergency situations, thanks to a fleet of cargo jets that include a Boeing 757 and a DC-8.

Ken has been on the front lines as Samaritan’s Purse became a global leader in international relief. When he deployed to drought-stricken Ethiopia in 1988 to set up a well-drilling operation, he was the first Samaritan’s Purse employee to be based overseas. Today, he oversees more than 4,000 employees serving in dozens of countries, including activities through field offices in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America; and affiliate offices in Australia, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, and South Korea. Ken previously served as director of the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) under the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). He has provided expert testimony for congressional hearings, including the 2002 House Committee on International Relations hearings on civil war in Sudan, the 1999 Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on hurricane relief in Honduras, and the 2003 White House HIV/AIDS Summit. He has dealt with heads of state (plus warlords and other authorities) in places such as the United States, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, Vietnam, Myanmar, and North Korea. Ken has spoken at Harvard University, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Brown University, Wheaton University, and Biola University. During his time with OFDA, he developed cutting-edge partnerships with the Department of Defense to implement a humanitarian perspective into

military strategy.

Ken has two sons, a major in the U.S. Marine Corps and one who specializes in humanitarian aid in Washington, four grandchildren, and is an avid fly fisherman and skydiver. Ken’s international deployments read a like a newsreel of recent world history:

• Ukraine, 2022 invasion: Helped 13 million people with food, water, medical care.

• COVID-19 2020 pandemic: Set up life-saving critical-care centers in New York City,

North Carolina, California, and Italy.

• Venezuela, 2018 refugee crisis: Provided medical care and other assistance to over

50,000 people on the Colombian border.

• Caribbean, 2017 hurricanes: Provided 100,000 households with tarps, water, food, and

other assistance.

• Nepal, 2015 earthquake: Provided 24,000 families with emergency shelter.

• Liberia, 2014 Ebola epidemic: Operated the sole treatment facility in the country and

arranged medivac care for Dr. Kent Brantly and nurse Nancy Writebol.

• Bangladesh, 2017 Rohinga refugee crisis: Set up a diphtheria care center in the world’s

largest refugee camp.

• Iraq, 2016 ISIS conflict: Established a 50-bed Emergency Field Hospital in Mosul,

caring for 4,000 patients. The government of Iraq awarded him a Lifetime Achievement

Award for Health and Medical Outreach.

• Japan, 2011 earthquake: Cleaned and repaired over 500 homes.

• Haiti, 2010 earthquake: Provided 10,430 homes, fed 335,000, and provided medical

care for 40,000 who were injured or stricken by cholera. Established an orphanage and

school serving hundreds of children.

• China, 2008 earthquake: Organized the first privately chartered relief flight into the city

of Chengdu, providing shelter and drinking water.

• Myanmar, 2008 cyclone: Negotiated clearance with military junta to provide clean

water and food for over 20,000 households.

• Southeast Asia, 2005 tsunami: Led projects to replace nearly 5,000 homes.

• Iraq, 2003 war: Organized an airlift to resupply one of Baghdad’s largest hospitals.

• Afghanistan, 2002 conflict: Led a team that built a hospital, schools, and repatriated

4,400 families in a war-scarred province.

• New York City, 2001 9/11 attacks: Set up Billy Graham Prayer Center in Manhattan.

• El Salvador, 2001 earthquake: Provided temporary housing for 5,000 families.

• Sudan conflict: Set up a hospital in 1998 (which was bombed twice while he was there),

provided water and food for displaced people, and rebuilt more than 500 bombed

churches. Provided relief to oppressed people in Darfur and persecuted Christians in the

Nuba Mountains.

• Honduras, 1998 Hurricane Mitch: Directed construction of 2,800 temporary shelters

and 6,700 houses.

• Zaire, 1996 refugee crisis: Provided water, sanitation, food, and medical assistance.

• Rwanda, 1994 genocide: Set up an orphanage and rehabilitated a hospital.

• Balkan civil war, 1993-99: Assisted displaced families in Croatia, Bosnia, Albania, and


• Somalia, 1992 civil war: Life-saving aid to thousands of displaced people.

• Ethiopia, 1989 drought: Drilled dozens of wells. He and his family lived three years in

the country.

Ken Isaacs
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