Samaritan Ministries urges continued prayer for peace as the Russian invasion grinds on
May 2, 2022
PEORIA, Ill. — As the conflict in Ukraine continues to affect millions of families, Samaritan Ministries International (Samaritan) members Chris and Mary Malone of Ukraine Ministries of Oklahoma have a very personal concern. After two decades as missionaries in Ukraine, the Malones returned to the U.S. on January 11 on furlough to have their family of nine children together for the first time in five years. However, their return to America has been clouded by the devastating news about the Russian invasion of its neighbor.
The Malones started serving Ukrainians in 2001, traveling there several times a year to hold youth camps, pastor and ministry leader training conferences, marriage and family conferences, and other training sessions. The family moved to Ukraine in February 2012 with their nine children.
“Our fifth child was born with Down syndrome,” Chris says. “We subsequently adopted four more children who also have Down syndrome. We were led to move to Ukraine because of what we saw in orphanages where children like ours with Down syndrome lived — or, more accurately, ‘existed,’” Chris says. “The Lord drew us there.”
Chris says that before the conflict began, “the people in our circles didn’t really expect that Russia would invade,” and, if it did, it would be a “re-invasion of the areas already occupied by them since 2014.”
“We are holding it all lightly because we know that our heavenly Father is sovereign and He is good,” Chris says.
Throughout their mission work, the Malones have relied on Samaritan Ministries’ health care sharing to deal with the health care needs of their large and diverse family.
Many missionaries have discovered the unique advantages that Samaritan health care sharing provides. Before heading overseas, most missionaries shop around for health insurance, but insurance companies are often unwilling to work with them, or the policies they offer are too expensive for a missionary’s available support.
“Like many missionary families, the Malones are able to better cope with their health care needs by sharing with other members of Samaritan Ministries,” says Anthony Hopp, vice president and chief purpose officer at Samaritan. “Health insurance can be even more tricky, expensive or even unattainable at overseas posts. By contrast, Samaritan provides flexibility, reliability and affordability.
“Samaritan Ministries health care sharing allows missionaries to direct more of their financial resources to ministry efforts rather than health insurance expenses,” Hopp continued. “Supporters would rather have their donations go to helping people in real ways instead of being used for insurance costs.”
The Malones join with the other Samaritan Ministries members in urging that all people pray for peace in Ukraine, for all of the victims and families affected, and for an end to the war.
“That’s another difference between health insurance and Samaritan Ministries,” Hopp said. “Health insurance is an impersonal financial arrangement. By contrast, Samaritan members not only share health care needs but also pray for each other, encourage each other and help spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Samaritan Ministries currently has a membership of 286,332 individuals from 85,067 households.
Samaritan has no limited enrollment period. Government exchange-based health insurance requires signups to occur only during open enrollment periods unless one qualifies for a special enrollment period due to a “life event” such as losing coverage, getting married, moving, or having a baby.
Samaritan Ministries health care sharingoffers additional advantages:
- No network restrictions. When medical care is needed, Samaritan members choose the health care provider, hospital, and pharmacy that work best for them.
- The direct-sharing approach allows members to not only help fellow believers with their medical financial needs but to pray for and connect with them on a regular basis.
Samaritan gives people of Biblical faith an effective, Bible-driven health care community in which approximately $30 million in medical needs is shared person to person every month. Over the past 27 years, Samaritan Ministries members have shared more than $3 billion in needs while also praying for and encouraging fellow members through personal notes, cards and letters.