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Iowa Town Broadens Community to Include Texas Town


In the past five years, Immanuel Christian Reformed Church of Sheldon, Iowa, has redefined the boundaries of their community to include not only their whole town but also the town of Pharr, Texas.

Truckloads of goods get moved from Sheldon, Iowa, to Pharr, Texas.

Photo taken by Katie Wynia

Each February a work group travels to Pharr to build a home. In addition, the church hosts a furniture donation drive with the help of Justice for All, and the group brings all of these items with them.

The entire town of Sheldon gets involved, packing the trailer full of furniture. Members of both the United Methodist Church and the Assembly of God church, along with others, travel to Pharr to help build these houses.

Mark Dykstra, who works very closely with this project, said, “You see the hopelessness of the situation these people are in. You see the hope that being present makes.”

The project benefits the town of Pharr through its United Methodist Church. That church sells the items from Iowa for a low price, giving the people of Pharr a way to buy reduced-price goods and generating much-needed income for the church.

The annual trip was started by a Sheldon couple, Otto and Darline Lawson. Otto still actively participates each year.

“We want people to see how one couple, just being obedient to what they felt God was calling them to do, has grown into a big thing, and how God has continued to bless in different ways and expand the project every year,” said Dale Boer. “We feel this is how ministry should be done.”

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