82 Lutheran groups have taken the Plunge, most recently including Bethany Lutheran Church from Spencer, Iowa, the First Lutheran Church from Bottineau, North Dakota, Bethany Lutheran Church from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the King of Kings Lutheran Church from Woodbury, Minnesota, Our Savior Lutheran Church from Albert City, Iowa, the Immanuel Lutheran Church from Dixon, Illinois, the Peace Lutheran Church from Pella, Iowa, the Messiah Lutheran Church from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, St Johns Lutheran Church from Bennington, Nebraska, and the Lutheran Church of the Master, from Omaha, Nebraska.
The teams have all had the experience of a life-time, stepping out of their suburban bubbles to discover what life is really like for so many less-fortunate in and around their own nation.
"It put faces to the homeless and really changed my perspective on how approachable people in poverty can be” said Bethany Johnson, from the Bethany Lutheran Church, Cedar Rapids, “I am more aware of the needs others might have, and seeing what I can do to help make a difference. "
"It showed me that everyone has a need, and as God's child, it is my duty to help fulfill them. It showed me a little work goes a long way" commented Annette Hanke, from Immanuel Lutheran Church, Dixon Illinois.
During the weekend, all the groups visited 8-9 different faith-based organizations that are working among the poor, discovering what their passions and gifts are, and how best to use them in their local area.
The Urban Plunge, operated by Christ For the City International, does not provide a ‘tour of poverty,’ but instead, helps participants to grasp how they can use their talents and passions to assist faith-based social-service agencies who already work alongside those who are in great need. They therefore aim to meet need, offer practical love and assistance, and ignite lasting passions to help back home.
"It showed me just how much more the church can do for the people in need in our area" said Mindy Lavender, from the Bethany Lutheran Church, in Spencer Iowa.
"Now I know that they are really in need, I want to do this for the rest of my life" encouraged Addison Baker, from the Messiah Lutheran Church, Oklahoma City.
"I learned that compassion is action" said Weston Grunke, from the Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Omaha.
The Urban Plunge operates all year round in Lincoln, Omaha, Kansas City, Dallas, Des Moines and Sioux Falls.
For more information, visit www.urbanplunge.com.
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