Leveraging the Power of Mustaches for Adoption

Why grow facial hair for your own selfish gain? Beginning July 25, men are unleashing the power of their mustaches to raise $25,000 to help financially support families in our church who are in the adoption process.

Although the United States is the leading adopting country, international adoption has dropped nearly 50 percent since 2004. Last year, Americans adopted 7,092 children. However, children in Iowa and around the world are still waiting.

Mustaches That Matter assists families adopting internationally, domestically, or through the foster care system. All funds raised go toward our adoption assistance fund to support multiple families each year.

You can join the cause in two ways: by growing your own mustache and raising support as you grow, or by financially sponsoring someone else's mustache. Each man participating is responsible for inviting friends, relatives, and coworkers to vote and financially sponsor his mustache. Once they reach their fundraising goal, they can shave.

Visit www.mustachesthatmatter.com for information, or to register your mustache or sponsor a mustache.

By Jackie Wallentin
Walnut Creek Windsor Heights

Christmas in July Exceeds Fundraising Goal

Volunteers packed 1,000 shoeboxes filled with gifts and the message of the Gospel for children around the world at the Christmas In July event on Friday evening.  Photo by Graham Gardner

In just over an hour, hundreds of people from Walnut Creek Church and the Des Moines community packed 1,000 shoeboxes with gifts for children in poverty. In addition, the fourth annual Christmas in July event at Walnut Creek Downtown raised more than $4,500 to pay for shipping the boxes overseas. When combined with the money raised prior to the event, a total of nearly $9,000 was raised – exceeding the fundraising goal by almost $2,000.

“It was incredible seeing the Lord come through and answer our prayers so specifically,” said event organizer Bo Laehn of Walnut Creek Downtown. “We were a little nervous about our ability to pack 1,000 boxes in two hours. But then God thought it would be funny if we could get it all done in one.”

Each year, Walnut Creek partners with Operation Christmas Child, a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse, for the Christmas in July packing party. New this year, the shoeboxes are being sent to special-access countries, which are closed to the Gospel. The goal is for the boxes to make a way for the Gospel to get to children who would have little to no access to the truth otherwise.

“It’s a tremendous privilege to be the only church in Iowa throwing a special-access packing party this year,” Laehn said. “It’s an even greater honor to know 1,000 kids will experience Jesus’ love for them and have an opportunity to hear the Gospel because of the Lord’s work through Christmas in July.”

The event closed with a concert featuring Christian hip hop artists Beautiful Eulogy. Proceeds from the concert contributed to the $9,000 that was raised. “The concert was a great way to end the event and celebrate what was accomplished,” Laehn said. “It was also a great way to bring new people through the doors to learn about Operation Christmas Child.”

The event organizers would like to thank everyone who participated in and contributed to Christmas in July. They’d especially like to thank Operation Christmas Child volunteer Heather Rowley for her support and the Windsor Heights Dairy Queen for donating the Dilly Bars that were served with the meal.

By Tim Laehn 
Walnut Creek Downtown 

Join Walnut Creek for Christmas – Tonight

Attendees of last year's Christmas in July event packed more than 300 boxes and raised more than a $1,000 for Operation Christmas Child.

Members of Walnut Creek Church are teaming up with Operation Christmas Child to throw a Christmas party for children all over the world. The event, dubbed “Christmas in July,” will take place tonight from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Walnut Creek Downtown. The fourth annual event is free and open to the public.

Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, partners with local churches worldwide to deliver gift-filled shoeboxes to hurting children in impoverished and war-torn countries. Walnut Creek Church’s Christmas in July event will provide attendees with an opportunity to pack shoeboxes for children around the world. A meal will also be served to help defray the cost of shipping the shoeboxes overseas. Each shoebox costs $7 to ship.

The event will close with a concert featuring Christian hip-hop artists Beautiful Eulogy, who will take the stage at 8:30 p.m. Proceeds from the concert tickets, which are on sale now, will also go toward the cost of shipping the shoeboxes.

“Our goal for this year’s Christmas in July event is to pack 1,000 shoeboxes and raise $7,000,” said event organizer Jed Johnson of Walnut Creek Downtown. “This is a significant increase from years past because our boxes will be going to limited-access countries, which have an even greater need.”

Christmas in July attendees are encouraged to bring items to include in the gift boxes, such as school supplies, small toys, and hygiene items (no liquids or gels). Attendees are also encouraged to consider a cash donation to help cover the cost of shipping the boxes they pack.

Samaritan’s Purse is an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has hand-delivered more than 100 million gift-filled shoeboxes to needy children in more than 130 countries. To learn more about Operation Christmas Child, visit www.samaritanspurse.org/occ/.

By Tim Laehn 
Walnut Creek Downtown 

Spy Academy Vacation Bible School Begins Today

Walnut Creek Windsor Heights will host Vacation Bible School July 13–17. 

Grab your secret decoder ring and put on your rearview mirror glasses because this summer, your kids are heading to the International Spy Academy where they’ll train to become special agents for the one true God! This exciting Vacation Bible School program is filled with fun mysteries your kids will love and the Bible-based apologetics you trust to teach them truths they won’t forget.

The program begins today and will run through Thursday, July 17 at our Windsor Heights location (900 64th Street) from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

There is no cost for participating in Vacation Bible School. Children 3 years old through 6th grade are welcome to participate. Please register your children through our church website, https://walnutcreekchurch.org/vbs.

Free Guitar Given Away at 80/35 Music Festival

Walnut Creek gave away an electric guitar at the 80/35 music festival this past weekend.  Photo by Jill Dykstra

80/35, the annual Des Moines music festival, took over Western Gateway Park this past weekend, bringing over 30,000 music fans into the city.

Since the festival's first year in 2008, Walnut Creek Church has partnered with 80/35 to handle all of the event's recycling and trash clean up needs. About 100 Walnut Creek members volunteered for this year's event, July 4-5.

Walnut Creek also hosted a booth at the festival featuring an opportunity for one lucky winner to receive a free electric guitar. Within the two-day festival, 943 people entered to win, giving volunteers opportunities to engage in conversation and sow seeds for the Gospel.

"It was so good to serve the city in ways that make sense to different people, and it was a good chance to get to know some new friends in our church," said Katelyn Kiehl of Walnut Creek Downtown.

By Jackie Wallentin
Walnut Creek Windsor Heights

Walnut Creek Hosts Kids Craft Activities at the Des Moines Arts Festival

Families visited the Walnut Creek booth at the Des Moines Arts Festival for fun craft activities for kids. 

Braving the wet and muddy weather, volunteers from Walnut Creek Church hosted a booth with craft activities for kids and families at the Des Moines Arts Festival held June 27-29.

The multi-day festival brought thousands of people to Western Gateway Park in the heart of downtown for visual and interactive art, live music, and food.

Throughout the weekend, volunteers had opportunities to share about Walnut Creek services, meet families, and serve the staff and guests of the festival.

"It was a great opportunity to serve our community with no strings attached, we just wanted to serve and be a blessing to people," said Greg Altmaier of Walnut Creek Downtown.

By Jackie Wallentin
Walnut Creek Windsor Heights