WANTED GLOBAL SAMARITANS

Our ability to become global good Samaritans may be intimately connected to our willingness to get to know the Deborah Acots of the world.

Standing in a hot and dusty schoolyard in the noontime sun of southern Sudan in January 2005, I met a steely-eyed girl named Deborah Acot. Like many of the kids in her school, she'd been drafted into southern Sudan's rebel army as a young child. But now, at age 15, she was done with the army. She was starting a new life in the wake of a just-signed peace deal that ended Africa's longest civil war. At her school, with its dirt-floor classrooms and few ratty textbooks, she hoped to learn enough math and science to become an airplane pilot.

As I was interviewing her for an article in The Christian Science Monitor, a powerful set of questions occurred to me: Could this shy girl be the modern-day equivalent of the man who was beaten up and robbed in Jesus' parable of "the good Samaritan" (see Luke 10:25-37)? Did she need a Samaritan's help? If so, was it possible that a reader of the Monitor would respond to the needs of this faraway girl? Might a reader reach around the world and become a Samaritan to her?

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