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HEAR FROM OUR SCHOLARS
Scholarship Students Worldwide
4 schools of medical care provided on medical missions
Service trips conducted
Wealth increase for scholarship graduates
Patients served on Medical Missions
3 service groups can complete a home
FROM OUR VOLUNTEERS
I’m so happy that I went on this trip. The joy that people have in Guatemala is incredible. It’s bittersweet: When I went to Guatemala and I was serving people, it was the happiest I’ve ever been in my life, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be that happy again.
Medical Missions like this allow you to come home and look at your own patients a different way. I think it’s very rewarding, both personally and professionally.
We did this exercise where we had to buy a week’s worth of groceries on $7, and it was absolutely eye-opening. It was really hard, and what I came up with wasn’t food that I wanted to eat. But that’s the reality for them. I get a Starbucks every morning that costs as much as their food for their whole family for the whole week.
Note: We are committed to respecting and uplifting our scholars. Due to some stories containing sensitive information, we redact or change the names of the scholars, their parents, their schools, and other details that could compromise their anonymity.
Hello, I am Emanuel. I am 20 years old.
When I was in my mother’s womb, she did not want me to be born, so she hit her belly and took medication to cause a miscarriage, but I was born anyway. However, I was so badly damaged that when I was born I had to be hospitalized for two years and I still have physical deformities. When I was young, my mother hit me a lot, and she didn’t take care of me. By the time I was three, I had to feed myself every day; by the time I was five, I was in charge of all the cooking and cleaning for the whole house.
When I was five, my mother finally left me. She changed her name and fled to the United States. Soon after my father left, too, to be with another woman that he was seeing. He left me on the doorstep of my mother’s old boss. I hoped that things would be better with her, but she also treated me badly. I remember that once she broke my head with a stone and put corn on my head so the birds and chickens would attack me. By the time I was six I wanted to die, and I began to plan how I could kill myself.
My aunt first started coming to see me on the weekends when I was seven years old. Until then, she had lived far away. Even though she couldn’t afford to keep me, she wanted me a lot. She did not hurt me and she took care of my injuries. She begged my dad’s parents to adopt me, and one day she finally convinced them to rescue me from the hell I was living. When she and my paternal grandparents arrived to bring me home, they found me all naked and dirty. That was the day that my life changed, when my grandparents legally adopted me. They were very nice to me: They took me to the doctor for my injuries, they bought me clothes and shoes, they cut my hair, and after two years of preparation they put me in school with other people my age.
We thought that I would have to stop attending school after sixth grade because it became too expensive, but when I was ready for high school, International Samaritan found me. They gave me the resources to continue schooling. Thank God for this program that has helped me, not only in study but also in moral and psychological ways. Little by little I have changed, because this program believes in the young people who benefit from it. Thanks to International Samaritan my dream to graduate has come true, and I now have the opportunity to go to university. My hope is to get a degree in auditing and form my own company. Finally, my future seems bright.
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In a letter we sent out to our supporters this week, I wrote about the “awe” that our scholarship students show in approaching their studies as a way out of a life of working in the garbage dump that lies waiting outside their door. I have found that that same sense of awe describes the reflections of more than 300 high school and college students from the United States who met our scholars during service immersion trips last year. More than 600 young people from six nations share a feeling that Google defines as “reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder.”
As we go into the Thanksgiving weekend, and the Christmas season to follow, I’d like to invite you to experience some of that awe with us. For our Christmas decorations this year, we built our own Christmas village, consisting of three replicas of the homes that our scholars and their families live in, and a Nativity scene built by Detroit artist Chazz Miller, showing the similarities between the humble conditions Jesus was born into and the extreme poverty that our scholars face. Walking through our alleyway and peering into these homes yesterday touched me with that same sense of wonder at the challenges and resilience of people we support.
Our artists, including internationally recognized street art muralist Chazz Miller (pictured second from left), working on pieces of International Samaritan’s Nativity installation.
Please join us next Wednesday night, December 4, between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. for the grand opening of our Nativity scene. We want to give you a sense of the difference you are making, and I’d love the chance to meet or get to know you better. There will be live music, hot chocolate, and the opportunity to see the homes and artwork yourself. For more information about the grand opening, follow this link.
If you can’t make it Wednesday night, please feel free to come by the office any weekday before December 20th, between noon and 5:00 p.m. Someone on the team will be standing by to give you a tour.
If you aren’t in the area, or even if you are, you can make a difference in a scholar’s life next year by helping to cover the cost of their schooling as well as making sure that their family has enough to eat each day. Please click the button below to make a one-time gift or monthly donation.
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International Samaritan is a nonprofit organization with the designation 501(c)(3). Our headquarters is located in Ann Arbor Michigan.