We’re all urged to “Think Global, Act Local.” But in Good Samaritan’s hands, that adage gets flipped on its head. Because it is through his work on behalf of those living half-a-world away, that he inspires others back in his adopted community of Los Angeles, California.
Ethiopia is a long way from Good Samaritan’s birthplace in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. But in the aftermath of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, he saw first-hand what people can accomplish when they pull together. “I am basically a devout man of faith,” he says, “worshipping and serving Christ in a practical way. My church teaches us to ‘Reach the World by Serving One.’ But why does the ‘one’ have to be in your own backyard?” And so his work with The Generosity Foundation and its global outreach began.
Founded by Phillip Wagner, pastor of Oasis Church, where Good Samaritan is an active member, the Generosity Foundation came about in 2008 to meet an urgent need. “Over one billion people all over the planet don’t have access to clean water,” Good Samaritan says, “and we’re helping to bring it to them,” by building clean water wells. Within two years, the Foundation has built and rehabbed 108 wells in 15 countries. “That means with 300 people served per well, over 30,000 people have been saved. Now kids can go to school, have a future, and move on with their lives.”
But it wasn’t always so clear to Good Samaritan how his own life would move forward.
“After Katrina, I felt the Lord lean on my heart, telling me to go to Los Angeles,” he says. “I didn’t know exactly why, but I just knew I needed to be there.” So he went, and became part of the family at Oasis Church and its Generosity Foundation. But after two years, he felt his path still remained unclear. After a while, he gave God an ultimatum. “’Show me what you have, or I quit’—I’d never done anything that bold or demanding before—and about a week later I got my answer.” That was when he came across a TV special about Real Life Superheroes. “My reaction was ‘That’s crazy, my church wouldn’t go for that, my family would think I was insane, and God wouldn’t like it at all.’ But I talked with the leaders of the church, and they told me to first go out and help myself before I could help others.”
And by taking on an attitude of moving forward as a costumed hero, Good Samaritan was born. His first outreach mission on L.A.’s Skid Row in June 2010, led to further research and exploration online. That, in turn, brought him to the Extreme Justice League of San Diego, CA, and more friendships and patrols followed. And all of it influenced by the notion of “reaching the world by serving one.”
Taking his name from the parable in Luke 10:25-37, “I decided I was going to be the ‘Good Samaritan’ to the people I meet. It’s what’s been ingrained in me,” he states. “I realized I’m not vengeful, I like to laugh and have a good time—and serve, and serve, and serve—so I decided that’s my persona, that’s who I am.”
Living and working in a city “where people put on a lot of facades,” Good Samaritan is minimally masked and costumed—for a reason. “I want people to see me, and believe in me, and know who I am,” he continues. “I want to make sure I’m somebody who’s honest with myself, with God, and with people. I want to be looked to when someone’s in need, and needs to be helped.”
Be they local… or a little farther from home.