Untold stories: Compassionate mercy, the other side of social justice #worlddayofsocialjustice

Updated: Jul 23, 2021

"It started with seeing a photo"

A little girl's terror turned Kilian's life upside down. Now his humanitarian aid organization is devoted to helping her people. Back in 2007, Tom Kilian was Googling the word "humanitarian" and came across Mia Farrow's photo of a little girl in Darfur (a region in western Sudan on the African continent). She was running from a man trying to kill her. The photo affected him deeply. He printed the picture and began to pray for her.

It was the beginning of a journey that would take him to South Sudan over and over, negotiating with the militia, building camaraderie with tribal chiefs, overcoming his squeamishness about blood to provide health care to those in desperate need, building churches and a school, and so much more.

In 2008, after learning more about the genocide in Darfur, Kilian put together an art exhibit to raise awareness. In early 2010, Kilian traveled to Darfur to work as an educator at an orphanage for displaced children. A few months later, he came to believe that the mantra of many humanitarian aid organizations was that "Education is the answer." To Kilian, this mantra was not true; people needed basic assistance in housing, healthcare, and spirituality rather than education alone. Kilian went back to North Carolina and founded MERCY PARTNERS, a humanitarian aid organization not affiliated with a government but an aid organization alongside the Church to provide lasting change in conflict zones.


"Abdullah saw the worst of humanity"

"My identification tag reads 'Darfur Christian Mission' [Now MERCY PARTNERS]. The organization's purpose is to 'Provide relief for those that have seen the worst of humanity.' So the night Abdullah shared his story, DCM had become an active solution to his need. Abdullah's lungs searched for air as he told me of being the sole su