STURGIS — Amanda Culver, the new director of Love INC (In the Name of Christ) Sturgis, said when she read the mission statement and the philosophy of Love INC, she felt drawn to serve.
Love INC’s purpose is to walk alongside people on their journey to wholeness through mutual service, education, friendship, and prayer, she said.
“The relationship part of Love INC’s mission is just so important. We’re here to lead people through their difficult times to make their lives a little better,” she said.
Love INC mission is to mobilize local churches to transform lives and communities in the Name of Christ.
Culver likened Love INC’s mission to that of an amplifier.
“In a sound system, an amplifier receives the electronic input (music), increases its strength, balances it, and sends it out to be heard. The amplifier doesn’t produce the music, it amplifies it,” she said. “The music is the offering or outreach of local churches, and Love INC balances and amplifies it. The mission of Love INC isn’t to produce the music, it is to amplify it.”
Culver came to Sturgis about 14 years ago from California.
She met and married her husband, Gabe, they lived for a time in Dickinson, N.D., during the oil boom. Gabe Culver was born in Dickinson, but grew up in Spearfish.
The couple have three sons, Lane, 12, Haiden, 10, and Wesley, 18 months.
They attend LifeSpring Wesleyan Church in Sturgis.
Culver admits she didn’t know a lot about Love INC when she first applied for the job. She believed Love INC was a benevolent organization.
But after suffering a back injury that took her away from her business as a residential house cleaner, Culver noticed the job posting.
“I had been praying for the last year for the right job. I didn’t want to just apply for any job,” she said.
Friends encouraged her to apply for the Love INC position.
“This was definitely something I felt moved to do. God was just tugging on me,” she said.
She applied and the rest is history. She started her new job on March 2.
“I have a ton of ideas,” she said.
She will work alongside Christy Meisner who serves as Love INC Sturgis’ Connection Center Coordinator.
Meisner coordinates volunteers for the connection center who take calls from those in the community going through a hardship. The volunteer works to gather some information about the situation, but also talks to the individual and lets them know they care.
“We want to help and encourage in any way we can,” Culver said
Through this new relationship, Love INC Sturgis tries to meet their need (maybe a mattress, diapers, school items, even getting involved with a church etc...) through local church group volunteers and ministries that have felt called to help, and our resources with Love INC of the Black Hills in Rapid City, she said.
“We are usually able to meet their physical need but most importantly we make sure to remain in contact with them, which meets their emotional/spiritual needs,” she said.
Culver said she isn’t sure how many people are hurting, or where it’s happening, but she said Love INC wants to be available as a shining light in the community.
“We want people struggling to know that no matter what, they have worth, they are loved and we really do care. Also, that they are not alone,” she said.
Love INC Sturgis offers classes during winter, spring, and fall quarters. Topics include finances, parenting, Christianity, nutrition, and marriage. The classes provide incentives for people as they complete their homework and achieve life goals. Life INC classes are generally held on Thursday evenings from 6:15-8 p.m. A free meal is offered at 5:30 p.m.
Love INC Sturgis also offers the Clothe-A-Kid program which helps parents make their back-to-school dollars stretch. Anyone struggling financially or in a place of need can participate. Starting in June, Love INC works with churches over the summer to match the family’s contribution so parent and child or children can go shopping in August. Last year, families received $100 per child for shopping.
Parents and children participate in pay-it-forward activities to earn the shopping dollars. In the recent past, families have done yardwork, planted flower beds and finished other needed community projects.
To learn more about Love INC Sturgis, call (605) 718-5683, Ext. 4.