By Sue Sprang

MT. PLEASANT – Empowered by the Holy Spirit, shepherded by their pastor, and determined to “be Christ” in the community, Immanuel Lutheran congregation, Mt. Pleasant has become a key player in bringing shelter to the homeless of Mt. Pleasant and surrounding area.

Getting the word out.

Getting the word out.

Although past attempts have been made to establish homeless shelters in the town, success has –for a variety of reasons – been thwarted. Pastor Dana Hendershot (Immanuel) and other key community leaders came together in March 2013 to find a long-lasting solution to an immediate need. The result: the Isabella County Restoration House (ICRH).

As in most undertakings of this magnitude, funding is a major piece. Hendershot took a risk… and the people responded. In Nov. 2013, she put forth a stewardship challenge based on the parable of the ten pounds (Luke 19:11ff). She gave $10 to each member interested in multiplying that amount as a donation to the ICRH project.

CMU Professor Laura Cochrane is an ICRH volunteer.

CMU Professor Laura Cochrane is an ICRH volunteer.


Ways of raising money were as varied as the folks who participated.

The Geisthardts: Abby celebrated her 17th birthday by asking her friends to donate to ICRH in lieu of presents. Cheryl and Paul invited their kickball league teammates to participate in a fundraiser, “Kickers with a Cause.” Haylee sold nature photos.

Chuck Clise’s donation came through the payoff (sale of honey) of investing his $10 in his beekeeping business. Rose Prasad and her sister, Margaret, made and sold vintage beads jewelry. Ed and Bonnie Berthold took apples from their orchard to a cider mill and donated the payment they received to ICRH.

Jocelyn Strandskov made and sold bookmarks. Gail Mitchell matched any money she spent on junk food. Katrine and Mike Piatek-Jimenz made and sold blocks of peanut butter fudge.

“Raise the House” was enjoyed by caring folks of all ages.

“Raise the House” was enjoyed by caring folks of all ages.

“Raise the House”, the brainchild of a group of 12 members (including Hendershot), was a community event held at Hunters Ale House that included music, raffle, food, homelessness-awareness, and lots of good fellowship.

These are just some of the creative fundraising done by the people of Immanuel.

The amount raised? $11,810.17. Yes. You read it right.

God’s people doing great things!

Assisting with ICRH is Central Michigan University intern Amy Henderson. She will be featured in a future article. You can find out more about ICRH at or on Facebook.