Letters from the
We have a unique community here at International Samaritan that is made up of 3,000 people across the United States and indeed across the world who have the heart of a Samaritan. We are instruments of change, and we are needed now more than ever.
Our hearts grieve for the death of George Floyd–not just the image of a police officer kneeling on his neck for more than eight minutes, but doing so with his hands in his pockets as three other officers passively looked on, often with their hands in their pockets too. And then Mr. Floyd’s pleas for breath, for life, and for his mother.
Mr. Floyd’s horrible death captures so much of the state of our nation during my lifetime, as children of color disproportionately suffer the impact of poverty, their futures dried up in underfunded schools and hollowed out neighborhoods, to face an adulthood where African-Americans are imprisoned at the highest rates in the world.
These facts aren’t new. We have heard the calls for help. We want to do something so that our inaction doesn’t add to the status quo.
On May 31, a good friend and an inspiring man of God in my life, Adewunmi Gbogbobade, wrote on his Facebook page:
Our church leaders on their Facebook pages have acknowledged the incident in a post and moved on. Just like the story of the Good Samaritan, our “Priests” and “Levites” have acknowledged a “people robbed and left half-dead” but they have moved on. The Samaritan…did not just speak but took action and made sure that “a people was nursed back to life”.
His post provoked me as a follower of Jesus. What can I do to live and love more like Jesus in this hour? What can we do, as the Body of Christ, to respond more meaningfully together?
Jesus said that some things only get done by fasting and praying. Upon reading Adewunmi’s post, I began fasting until 6:00 pm every day while praying for an end to injustice in America. I will be doing this for the rest of this week and encourage you to join me for a meal, for a day or through Sunday with me. The biggest changes in my life have come through fasting and prayer, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do more.
As the Body of Christ, we are part of an incredible network of people who voluntarily meet at least once a week to live more like Jesus. It is the church, and people of faith, who have led the fight for life and against injustice throughout our nation’s history. Your priest or pastor may be in need of people like you. Please let me encourage you to reach out to yours to ask for or suggest ways in which your church can help.
I am also inviting you to join a book club we will form over Zoom so that we can read and discuss issues that might stretch us. Growth comes from stretching us beyond what makes us comfortable. I’d love to hear your suggestions for a book or thoughts about what else that we can do as a community of people committed to loving our neighbors well. Please reply to this email if you are interested in joining the book club or to let me know what book recommendations or other ideas you have.
These steps aren’t the end of our effort. They are steps intended to move us forward. In making these suggestions, even the very simplest ones, my fervent prayer is that each of us does something, and that what we do leads us to do something more, over and over again, until we make good on the ideals on which this nation was founded.
When we began asking our families to shelter in place two months ago, we didn’t know how they would do that in such close quarters. When we told them we would get them the food and supplies they needed, we weren’t quite clear on how that would happen either.
Thank God, it’s all working out. As just one example, when our high school scholars in Jamaica learned they couldn’t play the game of soccer that they love, they created a new game. They call it Foot Volley, and it’s like soccer and volleyball put together, played by two people at a time with barrels between them to keep them six feet apart.
When strict shelter in place restrictions were lifted last weekend, our team leaders in Jamaica collected and distributed food to families. If you watch this short video of them, you can almost feel the sun in it.
This Memorial Day weekend won’t be like any other in our lifetime, but I pray that your home is like those of our friends in Jamaica–that you have enough food on your table, and that you have a fun activity to do with a friend, even if you have to make it up.
We have a unique community here at International Samaritan that is made up of 3,000 people across the United States and indeed across the world who have the heart of a Samaritan. We are instruments of change, and we are needed now more than ever. Our hearts grieve...
When we began asking our families to shelter in place two months ago, we didn’t know how they would do that in such close quarters. When we told them we would get them the food and supplies they needed, we weren’t quite clear on how that would happen either. Thank...
Just over a month ago, we asked you and 2,900 other people like you in the International Samaritan community across the world to give money during a time of economic uncertainty. The dual threat of COVID-19 and of starvation hovered over 621 families of our...
Just over a month ago, our team leaders in five nations began telling 621 families who have children in our scholarship program: Stop going to work. Stay home and stay safe. You have friends around the world who will pitch in to make sure you have the food and water...
Last week I wrote to you about the pressing need for food and water for all 621 families we support around the world. Eighty-eight people have responded so far with a total of almost $30,000 in donations. This is amazing and beautiful to me, but it covers the cost of...
Over the past year, I’ve written this reflection 22 times, and I’ve never written with as heavy of a heart as I do now. The Coronavirus has spread across the world and through entire cities like New York and Detroit so quickly and so devastatingly, I shudder to think...
International Samaritan is a nonprofit organization with the designation 501(c)(3). Our headquarters is located in Ann Arbor Michigan.