Walking the Samaritan Road Through the Nations
At nine years old, I began training as a Samaritan in Beaverton, OR. When I was eleven, I read reports from the violent war in Sierra Leone, Africa. Our Samaritans in that country sent stories of the broken, the beaten, the murdered, the abused, the abandoned and the hungry. I sat on a floor in a counseling room at headquarters and I wept. True, those stories were probably a bit too violent for a child, but the Lord knows how He is going to call us, and that day, my call began.
I joined the Sierra Leone satellite and sold candy bars for Arthur Davies and our many Samaritans rebuilding their country. I did presentations for my middle school and brought in guest speakers. I hung pictures of Sierra Leone around my room and wrote letters to the children. That is when my world exploded. I went from the small thinking of my tiny Oregon community to seeing a broad, broken world full of beautiful people. No longer was I so worried about popularity at school, because I heard stories of children missing hands and arms to a war they didn’t understand. What could compare to that in my life?
My world further expanded when Good Samaritan Ministries hosted the International Conference in the 1990’s. Within the span of two weeks people from Africa, the Middle East and Asia filled my life with inspiration. Arthur Davies stayed in my home with Oliver Siafa from Liberia. We sat on my porch and I listened to their stories. I gave Arthur my portable CD player. A loving lady from South Korea taught me how to use chopsticks (a skill I am still proud of). During his visit, Oliver Siafa died in the hospital from liver failure. Oliver was our director in Liberia, he had adopted his brother’s children and supported his own as well. When he died his wife, Lucy, became the country’s Samaritan director and is still faithful to this day.
In fall of 2001 the word of the year became “terrorists”. I had never thought of terrorists before watching those towers fall on 9/11. The next year Majed Alloush from Palestine visited us and I asked him about terrorists. He taught me a lesson I will never forget about what it is like to live in a country so different than ours.
The lessons I have learned from walking the narrow Samaritan road alongside the International Samaritans have been the greatest treasures in my life. I owe much of the direction of my life to the experience of seeing the world through their eyes. I am now at Good Samaritan Ministries headquarters serving as a lay counselor, office staff and the leader of the Sierra Leone Satellite. I am very grateful for Good Samaritan Ministries for being a place where we come together to hear each other’s stories. The stories teach us about the kingdom of God. The stories bind us together to His calling.
To my fellow Samaritans –I’m thankful to continue walking together on the Samaritan road.
GSM provides an opportunity to do “missionary” work even if you do not travel to the countries in which GSM ministers. While many involved at GSM do travel to and serve in the many countries in which GSM has ministries, those unable to travel can support the work by joining an international support group known as a “satellite group.” These groups provide on-going support to Samaritans overseas and the global programs. Schools, orphanages, and counseling centers, are some of the ministries this amazing organization has established around the world.
By Bethany Stroup