Samaritan's Purse CEO Franklin Graham has been released from the Rochester hospital where he recently underwent a successful specialized heart surgery. The 69 year old took to social media to share a new health update, wherein he also thanked the doctors and medical staff who attended to him over the past couple of weeks.
"Because so many of you have prayed, sent encouraging messages, and asked how I was doing, I wanted to let you know that I was released from Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, yesterday, after a specialized surgery last Monday," Graham wrote on his Facebook page.
He explained that the surgery was undertaken "to correct constrictive pericarditis (inflammation and hardening of the sac around the heart that compresses the heart and prevents it from working properly)."
As with his previous update, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association CEO thanked the Mayo Clinic team for their "excellent care and expertise." He added that according to doctors, the evangelist is "doing really well" and should be able to return to normal ministry activities after he has fully recovered. Meanwhile, Graham will continue to recuperate in the next few weeks and reassured his supporters that he is "feeling better every day."
"Thank you to everyone for your prayers-I know what a difference prayer makes! I was never afraid," Graham shared. "I felt God's presence throughout the entire experience and give Him the glory!"
Despite recuperating, Graham continues to keep in touch with his loyal supporters through his social media accounts. Yesterday, he took to Twitter to share that his United Kingdom tour is pushing through next year. He said that the "God Loves You Tour" will hold events in Liverpool, South Wales, Sheffield, and London in May and July.
Meanwhile, Graham's religious non-profit organization Samaritan's Purse has launched this year's Operation Christmas Child effort, which provides shoeboxes filled with gifts for children in need. According to KALB, Operation Christmas Child is a ministry of Samaritan's Purse International that began in 1993, during which over 188 million children in more than 170 countries received shoeboxes filled with toys, school supplies, and personal hygiene essentials.
Operation Christmas Child not only provides joy through material things, but also gives children "a tangible expression of God's love," as per OCC's website. Across the world during Christmas, volunteers from local churches would collaborate with OCC to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ at outreach events where the shoeboxes are distributed to children in need.
On Tuesday, Graham announced that this week is "#NationalCollectionWeek" for OCC's shoebox drive. He shared on Twitter that there are over 4,000 drop off locations around the U.S. that are accepting shoebox gifts for children in need.
For those who do not have drop off locations near their area, they are invited to donate $9 for every shoebox to help cover its project costs. This small donation helps in the collection, processing, and shipping of shoeboxes to kids in need all over the world. The $9 donation also helps Samaritan's Purse in training and equipping local churches in using the organization's Ministry Partner Guide, a resource that "shows churches how to share the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ in a child-friendly way."