Letters from the

PRESIDENT

What’s the Worst Job You’ve Ever Had?

I’ve written before about the best job I ever had, but the worst job is a whole different story.  

The worst job I’ve ever had has been the work of finding a job.  Twice in my life, I’ve lost a job. Both times came as a complete surprise, not only to me but also to my three kids and wife (who was staying at home with them at the time).  

Looking for work stinks.  It’s like standing behind the fence at a water park and seeing your friends floating down the lazy river while you’re trying to find a swimsuit and some money to get in, with neither of them in sight.

I’ve had difficult jobs before.  I did ten hour shifts in an auto parts assembly shop in the summer of ’88 when the temperatures stayed in the 90’s and the shop was hotter than that.  I picked grapes on a farm in Israel one summer where we worked 13 hour days for one month straight. Since college, I’ve worked in places where conflict-averse leaders allowed a culture of petulant conflict to reign.  But man, they were jobs. And no matter how bad things were around me, I went home at night feeling good about the fact that I worked another day and was going to get paid for it. I can’t say that I ever really had a bad job other than the work of looking for work without one.

St. John Paul II wrote in On Human Work, “Work is a good thing for man–a good thing for his humanity–because through work man not  only transforms nature, adapting it to his own needs, but he also achieves fulfillment as a human being and indeed, in a sense, becomes ‘more a  human being.’”

Last week, Pope Francis spoke to thousands of rock cutters in Madagascar about the dignity of work.  He was speaking to people who were paid very little but made more shaping rock than they did picking garbage in the dump next to the mountain.  And the Pope told them that what they are doing “is a song of hope that refutes and silences any suggestion that some things are inevitable. ‘Let us say it forcefully: Poverty is not inevitable!’”

As a supporter of International Samaritan, you have the opportunity to show that poverty is not inevitable.  You can help the children growing up near a dump to get out of a life toiling in it and into a school and job consistent with their gifts and dreams. 

Pope Francis addressing the rock cutters in Madagascar.
Photo by Alessandra Tarantino.

It’s as easy as going to our donate page to help a young one through grade school or an older one through college.  Be the song of hope for them that says forcefully, poverty is not inevitable.

Pictured above are four of our graduates from around the world. From top left to bottom right, we have Josefa, employed an accountant; Rahel, employed as a teacher; Miguel, employed as a mechanic; and Teddy, employed as a driver.

Straight Out, Flat Out, and Honest.

One of my strengths is that I never see a glass as half full;  I see it as mostly full almost all the time.  My natural optimism helps me in my work, but I've learned that it can also hurt me.  Sometimes the glass can actually be half empty—or even completely empty...

What’s Most Important in Your Community?

On Mother’s Day in Guatemala, 70 women from a village bordering a dumpsite on the outskirts of Guatemala City gathered to work with our team on the answer to that question. Figuring out a list of needs was the easy part. They need: A school A recreation center Access...

Where do you see God in Life?

What I love about our work at International Samaritan is how often I see and feel the presence of God in what we do. Recently, I had the unique privilege of sitting in on the conversations that our scholarship students in Guatemala were having with a woman who has...

Come Find Out if Trump was Right

In retaliation for what he perceives to be a lack of support from the leaders of Central American nations, President Trump announced last week that he intends to cut $500 million from programs addressing the root causes of migration from those nations.  This makes me...

What would you eat on $2 per day?

It wasn’t until I became a father that I realized how important food is to one’s emotional well-being.  Growing up, three square meals a day were just always there for me, not much different than having clean water to drink.  I just took food for granted. But when my...

What’s the Best Job You’ve Ever Had?

Mike at his old favorite job, taken in 1999. For me, that answer has always been easy.  For a couple of seasons before law school, and two glorious seasons after it, I sold ice cream at the Joe Louis Arena for the Detroit Red Wings. I made about a hundred bucks a...

About Us

International Samaritan is a nonprofit organization with the designation 501(c)(3). Our headquarters is located in Ann Arbor Michigan.

info@intsam.org

(734) 222-0701

803 N Main St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

M-F: 9am-5pm, S-S: Closed