PLIA returns following pandemic-related absence

Emma Bennett—Staff Writer

It’s no secret that COVID-19 put a damper on many of Dordt University’s community-driven events this past year. 

AMOR, a summer missions initiative to Belize, and Putting Love Into Action (PLIA), were two of the pandemic’s casualties.

PLIA is a student mission program that sends Dordt students to 10-15 cities within the United States for service work during spring break. These students are divided into 10-12 teams. Students select their top five locations they wish to serve at during the application process, with it being PLIA’s goal that each student will receive one of their top two trip choices. 

Some sites have partnered with Dordt for up to 20 years, with work that varies from landscaping a ministry site, to running a spring break program, to ministering to the homeless. 

PLIA is student-run. They create agendas, drive the vans, plan activities for the team, and lead devotions. However, there is a solid web of accountability present. Students who have either been on PLIA or planned it before coordinate trips, and chosen leaders receive training in spiritual and practical guidance within the weeks leading up to their trip. 

Through driving together, living together and eating together, the atmosphere at PLIA is tightly-knit and secure.

Senior Sarah Holmberg, a co-chair on PLIA since her freshman year, has been on two trips with PLIA, one to Kentucky and one to Missouri. 

“The people who make up the teams are from all different ages and all different backgrounds and majors, so it’s fun to get to know people who you wouldn’t normally know in your activities,” Holmberg said. “Some of the people who I went with who have graduated I still keep in touch with.” 

For students who want to be part of the PLIA experience but cannot commit to the trip, it’s possible to hold a role on the committee and plan for others. PLIA’s first meeting will be held on Dec. 8, they plan to meet two more times at the beginning of next semester. 

“[PLIA teams] kind of become a safe place to be who you really are for the rest of your time at Dordt,” PLIA head Sam Ashmore said.

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