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Crossing State Lines for a Christmas Party


Members of eight Christian Reformed churches from South Dakota, Iowa, and Minnesota team up each year to help Alfred and Shirley Old Lodge throw a Christmas party for the people of Bonesteel, South Dakota, including families from four small Indian communities in the area.

The help comes via Justice For All, a multidenominational ministry based in Rock Valley, Iowa.

“We’re helping Alfred and Shirley share the gospel message,” said Pat VanderPol, JFA ministry coordinator and member of Rock Valley’s Trinity CRC. “Their passion is to reach their people with the gospel.”

The Christmas party includes games and prizes, face painting, cookie decorating and a puppet show. Children re-enact the Christmas story. 

Adults enjoy multiple rounds of Bingo, selecting donated prizes. There are those who don’t approve of the Bingo, noted Alfred Old Lodge. “But you gotta do what you gotta do,” he said. “If I mention revival, no one will come.” 

After games and before supper Old Lodge explains the call of the gospel. Children receive new school supplies, and families receive a turkey with trimmings for family meals. 

“They (JFA) have a ministry to bring material stuff; the best part is they bring Jesus,” said Old Lodge. “We have a lot of religious folks here, but we want out of that religious spirit and to bring Christianity—Jesus Christ,” said Old Lodge. 

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