“Conflict is an inevitable part of life.  Our job as leaders is to choose whether we want to resolve it in a healthy or an unhealthy way.”  I learned this lesson a long time ago from the late Duane Hurtt, one of my first bosses, and it has helped me immeasurably in life.  But what happens when you get into a conflict you didn’t choose with the government of your nation?
I spent the past week with one of our former scholars who had to flee his homeland for fear of imprisonment.  (His name and nation are being withheld here to protect him and us from reprisals.)
What did he do to bring the weight of the government to bear against him?  He did exactly what Jesus asks us to do in the parable of the Good Samaritan: he gave aid to people beaten and bleeding in the streets. 
Choosing to help was not an easy decision for this young scholar to make.  The victims were protesters who were attacked by government forces.  He knew that going to the scene would put him at risk too.  But he was studying to be a doctor, and his friends were calling him for help.  The government prevented ambulances from entering the scene, rendering his assistance even more vital.
Answering that call has cost our scholar immensely in the days and years that followed.  After making it out of the country safely, he shared his story publicly in the international media, and now his family members and friends have been forced to leave too because of their association with him.  He is finishing his studies in another nation and has emerged as a leader and a voice for other young people standing up for human rights in his nation over a conflict he did not choose—and one he cannot resolve on his own.
“I prayed to God to use me as a little tool,” our scholar told me, smiling.  “It seems that God and I have different definitions of ‘little.’”
I have been deeply moved by the courage and conviction of this young man in our travels together this week.  He walks with a profound sense of how God answers prayers and talks with a quick smile despite having to confront a Goliath who won’t leave him alone.  In spite of that, he maintains a belief that he will return home to help heal his nation one day.
When you give to International Samaritan, you are helping 900 other scholars like him this year do more than break out of poverty.  They are rising up to change their world.

Jamaica is in the race! (And Mike is trying, too.) Check them out:

Mike Tenbusch, IntSam President

Mike joined IntSam in 2018 after two decades of leading social change in his hometown of Detroit, Michigan. He’s a University of Michigan Law grad and author of The Jonathan Effect: Helping Kids and Schools Win the Battle Against Poverty. He and his wife, Maritza, have three children who keep them young.

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