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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



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.

Anonymous, Marian High School

GUATEMALA, February 2019

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.

Dr. Harry Carr, M.D.

GUATEMALA, Summer 2017

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.

Anonymous, Saint Michael's Catholic Academy

GUATEMALA, January 2019

Full Financial Transparency

We want our supporters to be confident that every dollar that they invest is going toward a good cause. To see our most recent financial documents, click here.

International Samaritan in the News

Learn more about International Samaritan’s press coverage, campaigns, and community involvement.

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.

A Letter from Emanuel

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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president’s blog

Run Your Race

By Mike Tenbusch | July 09, 2020

On a frigid, November morning in 1984, butterflies swarmed through my stomach as I lined up with 80 other boys in nylon shorts and tank tops waiting for the gun to sound and the Cross Country State Championship race to begin.  I was only a sophomore at the time, and this was my first time running at States.  My best friend was lined up next to me.  He was a senior who had been here before, and he must have sensed my fears.  “Don’t worry,” Kev said, “Just run your race, and attack the hills.”

Kev and I had been running together since his family moved into our block when I was six.  Our block, street, and neighborhood in Detroit was almost exclusively white at that time, and Kevin was one of the first to integrate it, just as he had integrated his own family eight years earlier as a trans-racial adoptee born a few weeks after Detroit’s Riots in 1967.  We quickly became inseparable, a short, African-American kid and a tall, skinny white kid, seemingly oblivious to the world around us, as most people who looked like me moved out and more people who looked like Kev moved in over the next ten years.

CRACK!  The gun went off, and I suddenly found out what it felt like to be in a stampede.  Adrenaline surged through my veins as every runner around me sprinted faster and farther than anything I had ever experienced.  By the half mile mark, Kev and I were in a comfortable groove, together, but all by ourselves at the very end of the pack with 2.6 miles left to go.  I was starting to freak out again.  I had never been in last before.

“Don’t worry, man” Kev assured me.  “Just run your race.”

Kev and I were used to running our race.  Detroit was a city of a million people back then, and I’m pretty sure we were the only two kids from Detroit to make it to States that year.  We used to train together every summer, running Outer Drive from our home near Six Mile up to Schaefer and back.  When we ran alone, we were vulnerable.  Young kids called me honkey and older kids wanted to fight him.  Stray dogs and reckless drivers always seemed a bigger issue when we ran alone.  But when we ran together, we were invincible.  

“FIVE-FOURTEEN, FIVE-FIFTEEN…!” our coaches shouted as we passed the mile mark.  I was well ahead of my usual pace but Kev and I were still by ourselves—in last place. 

“All right, let’s go get these guys!” Kev said, as he put his pace in a whole ‘nother gear.

“I’m good.” I said.  “Go get ‘em,” slightly slowing my pace as I said it.

The picture below was taken about a minute after that.  You can see Kevin merging through the back of the pack.  He kept going faster and took second that year, narrowly missing winning the state championship.  I kept trying not to go slower and placed 41st that year, the worst I’d ever finished.

The thing is, I ran my race.  I kept doing that the following year, after Kev had graduated.  I was by myself but his advice stuck with me—Run your race and attack the hills—and it carried me to a 12th place finish and the coveted All State honors that came with it.

I hear Kevin’s voice a lot these days.  In my own journey to thrive in the quarantine, I’ve begun running for the first time in years in hilly woods near my home.  My mile pace is shockingly less than it used to be, but I keep going.  I run my race.  And no matter how I feel, how tired I am or how much it hurts, I attack every hill on my run.

I’m sharing this story and this message with you in hopes that it stirs your spirit for wherever you are in your own journey right now, and particularly for the times we face as a nation.

Run your race may mean to cut yourself some slack, or it may mean that it’s time for you to surge.  We have to protect our spiritual and mental health with such uncertainty surrounding us each day.  Take time to hear from the Lord the pace that you should be setting, regardless of the sounds and sights of people running all around you.

And attack the hills!  These times, and our nation, need each of us to do more and to be more than we have in the past.  Simply going back to work isolated and alone in your basement each day may be your hill, or it could be the daily stress of being a person of color in a world seemingly determined to defend itself against your experiences.  I pray that Kevin’s advice and the Spirt of the Lord gives you the encouragement to keep fighting, keep forgiving and keep moving forward to get over the hills in your life, and to enjoy the relief that comes with getting to the other side.

Kev (kneeling) with me and friends from Detroit Benedictine High School after our race in 1984.

P.S.  Kev has written a fascinating book about his experience growing up as a Black child in a white family in a Black city in a white world.   He now works with groups across the nation helping them grow cultural intelligence and understanding.

63 Families Still Need You!

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...

How’s Honduras?

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...

How a Little Help can go a Long Way

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...

Updates from Around the World

Every two weeks, I send this email to reflect on challenges and victories in our mission together.  Today I thought it would be helpful to simply send updates on how each nation is doing in our shared goal of defeating the Coronavirus. Ethiopia Ethiopia, like most...

When the Facts of Life Don’t Make Sense

“We would get to the dump at 4:00 in the morning to get food to eat.”  We hear this frequently when talking to families in the garbage dump communities.  Invariably, they say this as a simple matter of fact, much like we might say, “I leave the house at 7:00 in the...

What Do We Do?

Our team gathered recently for a two-day retreat to update our strategic plan.  One of the questions we were trying to answer is what we should do in Costa Rica and smaller communities in Guatemala where we have been sending student immersion teams but do not have...

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