Last week the South Carolina Synod Assembly was held at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Greenville, and United Ministries hosted several sessions as part of their “LIVE Discipleship Experience” Series.   Our participation included a showing of our DVD “Servant or Sucker”, presentations by Beth Templeton, and a poverty simulation.

If you’ve never experienced one of our poverty simulations, here is a little background:

In a typical poverty simulation, participants are placed into families made up of one to five members. They receive an envelope that describes their demographics, their income/resources, and their bills. They interact with “vendors” (trained volunteers) such as a mortgage/rental company, school, pawnbroker, banker, employer, and others.  To get from “home” to one of the vendors requires a transportation ticket…This is just the first of many challenges the participants experience within the two-hour time period. 

Designed to opens people’s eyes to the human cost of poverty, the power of this unique learning resource is that it creates, like nothing else, insight into the state of chronic crisis that consumes so many working poor families.   Last Friday, participants from the Lutheran groups described the experience as, “very enlightening”, “helpful to put things into perspective”, and “very realisitc…and somewhat frustrating to just try to make ends meet”.    It seems our mission was accomplished.