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West Michigan Church Holds ‘Christmas in July’ Fundraiser


It’s the middle of summer, but that didn't stop Immanuel Christian Reformed Church of Hudsonville, Mich., from holding a “Christmas in July” fundraising event to support a church plant in Guatemala.

As part of the event, longtime church member Louis Van Essendelft made about 200 wooden holiday ornaments to be sold.

“Woodworking is something I’ve always enjoyed. I thought, ‘How can I use it for furthering God’s kingdom?’” Van Essendelft said.

Van Essendelft, who was a home builder for 30 years, has had more time to focus on his woodworking hobby since his retirement a few years ago. His ornaments were sold over three Sundays. “I put a suggested donation (amount) on each one,” he said.

Other church members donated handmade goods for the fundraiser, which went to support missionaries Joel and Marilyn VanDyke in Guatemala. Joel’s brother Mark attends Immanuel.

“Our church, as a whole, is excited about the whole church plant project,” Van Essendelft said.

The event raised more than $2,200 for the church plant, said Michelle Gulker, a member of Immanuel’s mission committee.

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