‘Tis the Season for Giving

Volunteers packed 125 boxes for Operation Christmas Child during the East Village Promenade on November 21.

As the East Village kicked off the holiday shopping season with the annual East Village Promenade on Friday evening, Walnut Creek Downtown hosted a gift-packing event for children in need.

Part of the church’s ongoing partnership with Operation Christmas Child, the event gave holiday shoppers and passersby an opportunity to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate while packing a gift for a child in an impoverished, war-torn country. More than 100 people came through the church’s doors Friday evening and packed a total of 125 boxes.

When combined with all congregations, Walnut Creek donated more than 250 gift-filled shoeboxes to Operation Christmas Child this season. This year, all boxes packed in Des Moines will be sent to children in one of five countries: Tanzania, Uganda, India, Belize or Trinidad and Tobago.

Earlier this year, Walnut Creek’s annual Christmas in July event resulted in 1,000 gifts being sent to children in countries with limited access to the Gospel.

Operation Christmas Child is a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse, 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 

Record Number Attend Women's Coffeehouse

Peggy Kenoyer shares her testimony of God's redemption in her marriage and family at the 2014 Women's Coffeehouse held Friday at Walnut Creek Windsor Heights. Photo by: Jen Engdahl
The ninth annual Women’s Coffeehouse brought over 600 women to Walnut Creek Windsor Heights on Friday evening. The Women’s Coffeehouse aims to encourage women of all ages in their faith through fellowship, music, and personal testimonies of God’s great love and faithfulness. 

The verse of the night, stamped on bookmarks that were given to all attendees, was 2 Timothy 4:7-8: "I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. There is reserved for me in the future the crown of the righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day." 

The first speaker of the evening, Peggy Kenoyer of Walnut Creek Windsor Heights, shared how God woke her up as an 18-year-old bride. What seemed like a huge mistake to Peggy turned out to be the best blessing the Lord could have given her. Her husband Larry and three sons have greatly impacted her life, causing her to cling to the Lord and mature. 

Chelsie Towne of Walnut Creek Downtown unpacked how God healed her heart after a destructive high school relationship. She was eventually blessed through the opportunity to share that healing with young women in Cambodia. 

Dena Bennett of Walnut Creek Downtown was the last speaker of the evening. She revealed her story of a broken home and a life ruled by relationships, atheism, and worldly pleasures. After reading C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, Dena admitted that belief in God was not only logical, but that God was now the only one she wanted to chase.

Tables overflowed with treats donated by women of the church, and over 100 door prizes were donated by local businesses as well. The evening was a way for women to invite their friends, neighborhoods, coworkers, and family members to hear about the power of the Lord.

The night began with worship music led by Laura Brill, Jillian Aurelio, Hannah Wright, and Dayna Meyers. Between speakers, Allie Crummy, accompanied by Ricki Meyer and Liz VanderSchel, performed two original songs. 

“It was good to be reminded that God is looking out for me in all the steps I take, big or small,” said Jen Cameron of Walnut Creek Windsor Heights. I loved Allie’s song about God being our refuge, a place where we leave the battle outside and come in to safety and rest. It’s not often how I choose to quiet my heart.”

By Brigitte Haugen 
Walnut Creek Windsor Heights 

Five Financial Tips from the Money 101 Seminar

D'Angelo Johnson presents helpful financial knowledge at the Equip Class, Money 101. 
As part of the Equip Series, Walnut Creek Downtown hosted a free financial seminar, Money 101, to introduce basic financial principles and share knowledge about wise financial stewardship.

The Saturday morning seminar was geared toward families and individuals interested in learning how to have more control over their finances. Luke De Vries, D’Angelo Johnson, and Greg Altmaier, all of Walnut Creek Downtown, lead the audience through ways to engage wisely with money. For those unable to attend the seminar, below are their top five financial tips.

1. Consider Your Goals and Make a Personal Financial Mission Statement

A personal mission statement toward your finances can guide you throughout your life, no matter your financial circumstances. Describe your purpose as it relates to God, family, friends, and service to others. Summarize your purpose in a few sentences and choose a Bible verse that reflects that purpose. “Christ talks a lot about money and investments,” said Luke. “My mission is to be more like Jesus and bless others with the abundance He’s given me.”

2. List Tangible Short-and Long-Term Goals

  • Spiritual Goals
  • Personal Goals
  • Ministry Goals
  • Financial Goals

Adding your “bucket list” can also help you approach your finances in a more practical, manageable formula. To achieve your goals, make sure to account for financial, time, and energy costs. “Getting these goals in mind will help put your finances in better perspective,” said Luke.

3. Be Disciplined and Responsible 

Develop a detailed financial strategy beginning with a budget. Many organizations offer financial help like this free personal finance budget guide. Find someone that you trust to help you stick to your goals.

“Overcoming financial obstacles is attainable, but a lot of times we have no one to hold us accountable to the goals we made,” said D’Angelo. “People don’t plan to fail, they merely fail to plan.” Unexpected hardships like illness or death can be especially catastrophic if you’re unprepared.

4. Consider Financial Philosophies and Develop Your Own Convictions 

Ask people what they do financially and why. Gather ideas to help make an informed decision about what’s best for you. Take a greater level of ownership over your finances and remember that even small steps will eventually lead to great results. Don’t wait to plan ahead–be proactive with your finances. “You won’t get fit by watching a workout video. The same goes for finances.” said Greg.

5. Aim to Get Out of Debt

Utilize financial tools provided by your banks and lenders or visit the U.S. Department of Education for help on consolidating loans or finding programs that could save your family money or forgive debt.

By Brigitte Haugen 
Walnut Creek Windsor Heights 

Double the Trunk-Or-Treat Fun

Lily and Nora Cornell 'fish' for candy at the Under the Sea trunk at the Windsor Heights Trunk or Treat event.
Photo by Glen Cornell. 

Young Spidermen and Princess Elsas gathered candy and other festive treats at the Trunk-Or-Treat events held at Walnut Creek Windsor Heights and Johnston Thursday evening. More than 125 families came to both events to celebrate Halloween the Walnut Creek way.

Trunk-Or-Treat is a family-friendly alternative to traditional Halloween trick or treating. Parents brought their children in full costume gear to the church parking lot for a safe night of fall fun as their children went from car to car collecting Halloween treats.

At the Windsor Heights location, nine Community Groups volunteered to host a trunk and decorate their car with a theme. Trunk themes included: Candy Land, Monster's Inc., Frozen, pirates, sharks, camping, under the sea, and Hall of Fame athletes.

Making their scariest or silliest faces, guests took pictures at a photo booth inside. Children also enjoyed face painting, a bounce house, games, and festive treats.

"Our first annual Trunk-or-Treat went extremely well. The volunteers did an excellent job decorating their trunks and even having a few interactive games for all the kids. It's going to be quite the challenge to come up with better trunk ideas for next year," said MaryBeth Meyer of Windsor Heights, who organized the event.

By Jackie Wallentin  
Walnut Creek Windsor Heights