Choices in Mission


Each month members of First Lutheran bring forward opportunities for helping others.  We call it Choices in Mission.  Donations from the congregation in support of the Choices in Mission project are matched by church funds during that month.  The Service Committee also helps in the planning and organization of educational and medical mission trips within the United States and in Africa.

Some choices are one time opportunities.  Others, like International Health Partners, Beloit Children’s Home, God’s Global Barnyard, and Lutheran World Relief, are perennial choices.  Here are a few of the choices.

Youth Mission Trip to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation

April 2014 Choices in Mission:  Our high school youth are taking a week long trip to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.  This will be our second such trip, with our first being in the summer of 2011.  Choices in mission funds will cover part of the expenses of the trip.

Lithuanian Missionaries

May 2014 Choices in Mission:  New member Sarah Boatright’s parents are Lutheran missionaries in Lithuania.  Her father, an ELCA pastor, is pastor at the only English speaking church in Lithuania.  They are self supporting for their living expenses.  Our monetary support will go entirely to fund their mission work, which is primarily reaching out to college age Lithuanians.

Megan Clausen Seminary Support

Megan grew up in our church and is currently attending seminary in Chicago. We chose her for our January 2014 Choice in Mission project. All offerings for Choices in Mission in January are matched up to $5000 and sent to Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago to assist with Megan’s seminary tuition expenses.  Megan’s letter to the congregation is in the January newsletter.

International Health Partners

First Lutheran Church is a caring community.  Part of First Lutheran’s Mission is to ‘reach out in compassion to others’. This compassionate outreach manifests itself in many ministries in First Lutheran’s local Newton community, throughout the state of Iowa, and around the world.
TanzaniaGroupOver the past decade, First Lutheran has built a strong relationship with health care providers in the country of Tanzania. Many rural villages lack even basic health care. By partnering with hospitals and clinics, First Lutheran has helped improve the conditions for many Tanzanians.  Ongoing involvement with International Health Partners and the hospitals they are building in Tanzania reached a high point in 2008 when we sent a shipping container full of supplies, and 21 of our members traveled to Mwanza Tanzania to work on the birthing center.

The trip was featured in a Newton Daily News story and a Des Moines Register article. The members of First Lutheran also contributed to a trip blog to discuss their experiences. Many photos of the trip can be found there.

IHP is now starting work on their most ambitious hospital project to date, a children’s hospital at Zinga, close to Dar es Salaam.  First Lutheran will continue to partner with our friends in Tanzania. By sharing our mutual gifts, people in Newton and Mwanza will continue to help each other improve health conditions and increase our appreciation of God’s world.  Here is a link if you want to visit the International Health Partners website.

Pine Ridge Indian Reservation

Our 2011 trip was a week long experience where your high school youth and accompanying adults learned about the Lakota Indians and perform service projects in this, the poorest county in the United States.  The trips are run by an organization called Lutheran’s Outdoors. Participants stayed in a house that was refurbished for visiting groups by a Lutheran Church group from Ames Iowa, lead by a former member of First Lutheran, David Krumm.

Some of the activities included visiting the Ogalala Lakota College, listening to an elder and eating a meal  cooked by his daughters, visiting the radio station an learning the story of the station manager.  We visited Red Cloud School (a Catholic private school for native children), and visited the burial place for Red Cloud. We learned about wounded knee, visited the ONLY grocery store on the reservation, and cleaned a woman’s yard as a service project, as well as giving cloths donated by Skiff Medical Center in Newton.  Every day we had play time and snack time with the town children, and listened to many stories about experiences of various natives living there.   Daily morning devotions and evening Bible study were an important part of the trip.  One evening Bible study was done butte in the bad lands at dusk, which was very moving.

A group of high school youth and adults are planning a similar trip for the summer of 2014.

Beloit Residential Treatment Center for Children

BeloitBuildingFirst Lutheran Church has a long history of supporting the Beloit Treatment Center in Ames, Iowa. This residential facility provides treatment and caring for children struggling with severe emotional or behavioral challenges. First Lutheran supported the new Hull Treatment Center capital project, and sees the support of Beloit, and all of Lutheran Services of Iowa, as an important part of its ministries.

Lutheran World Relief

First Lutheran is part of a larger world-wide organization of Lutheran ministries. Through its support of the SE Iowa Synod and the Evangelical Church in America, First Lutheran participates in the funding of global partner organizations like Lutheran World Relief. This ministry helps fund compassionate assistance efforts like food aid and disaster relief.