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Featured Articles

Local Author Offers Thriller Set in the Future

travisTravis Thrasher has written everything from children's books to suspense novels to cowriting with big stars; he's lived all over the United States as well as Munich and Australia. And now he's settled in West Michigan and written a novel set in the near-time future that pits Big Tech against the forces of God.

"My editor at WaterBrook sent an email to me and other authors asking for proposals for novels dealing with the persecuted church," said Thrasher, who lives with his family in the Grandville area. "I had tons of ideas; this one grew into something organic. It's a standalone, but there are storylines not tied up so there could be other novels."

Thrasher will talk about and sign copies of "American Omens: The Coming Fight for Faith" at 7 pm Thursday, Feb. 21, at Baker Book House in Grand Rapids.

Christian Healthcare Centers Fosters Biblical Approach to Medicine

Christian Health Centers Cutline No. 1Christian Healthcare Centers president and CEO Mark Blocher: “It just struck me that the direction of our culture, the direction of our politics, and what was happening to medicine, was becoming increasingly secularized and frankly paganized.” Mark Blocher, president and CEO of Christian Healthcare Centers (CHC), remembers the feedback he received from people when he kicked around the idea of launching an insurance-free Christian primary care practice.

They thought it was encouraging that a Christian-based healthcare practice would operate without co-pays and deductibles, but instead, a monthly fee akin to paying a gym membership.

But, they added, could it really be done?

"People told us you couldn't do this," Blocher said in a recent interview at CHC, 3322 Beltline Ct. NE, in Grand Rapids. '"You guys are nuts. There's no way that you're going to do this.'"

Now they know better, said Blocher. CHC opened for patients in July 2017.

To understand what makes CHC unlike other primary care centers – both Christian and otherwise – stems in part from Blocher's concerns about the history and current condition of the U.S. healthcare system he says is both secular and pagan. This trend reaches back to when former President Bill Clinton charged his wife, Hillary, to launch in 1993 a Task Force on National Health Care Reform, referred to pejoratively as "Hillarycare."

Christian Concert/Arts Events on the Way

Battistelli F  red largerFrancesca Battistelli performs March 24 in Holland West Michigan entered February after a cold and snowy end of January. What more motivation do we need to look ahead to a Christian concert/arts schedule that is definitely warming up?

February has a couple of already sold-out shows – Drew & Ellie Holcomb Feb 11 and NeedToBreathe's acoustic show Feb. 23. But there's more to fill up the calendar.

First let's hit the big stage at Van Andel Arena:

Terry’s Picks: February 2019

EVENTSWest Michigan Christian News writer Terry DeBoer surveys the landscape for the area's faith-based arts/entertainment/enrichment events over the coming month. Here are three highlights for February:

Volunteers for Bed-making Nonprofit, Sleep in Heavenly Peace, Serve as Jesus’ Hands and Feet

shp From left: Sid Sinnema, Sue Thompson and Aurene Sinnema display the SHP brand and a small version of a bunk bed Sid built. When it's time to call it a day, Jim and Sue Thompson do what many take for granted: They sleep in a bed.

But as Sue discovered early last year, not every child has a bed of their own to sleep in, a fact that motivated her into action when she became the Cedar Springs chapter president for the Twin Falls, Idaho-based, Sleep In Heavenly Peace (SHP).

With 115 chapters in 39 states, the nonprofit rallies volunteers like Jim and Sue to hand-make bunk beds for children ages 3 to 17 who have one of their own. Requests for beds are made through SHP's website, shpbeds.org.

Worship-Music and Culture: A Delicate Intersection

Dr. Monique IngallsDr. Monique Ingalls following a panel discussion at the Calvin Symposium on Worship A major challenge for Christian worship leaders in a shrinking world is to allow room for other cultures and styles in their music and liturgies.

That was one of several points made at a "Worship and Culture" seminar during the recent Calvin Symposium on Worship, Jan. 24-26 at Calvin College in Grand Rapids.

One of the panelists at the session was Dr. Monique Ingalls, assistant professor of Church Music at Baylor University in Waco, Tex.

"I study evangelical worship music in North America that has – for better or worse – become globalized," she told an audience in the Prince Conference Center. "We have a lot to learn from our brothers and sisters around the world."

The annual conference includes artists, musicians, pastors, academics, students and worship leaders/pastors from around the world for a time of learning, encouragement and worship.

Steven Malcolm: The Next Step in Artistry and Ministry

Malcolm StevenSteven Malcolm sat on the edge of his comfortable chair in a downtown Grand Rapids coffee shop.

"The past few years have brought a massive amount of transformation in my life," said the faith-based, hip-hop/rap artist. "And through it all I've been able to not only hear - but also experience - what God's been telling me.... transformation I've needed to grow as a Christian."

January Series Speaker: How Churches can be Portraits of Belonging for People with Disabilities

calvin1“If you think about it as a journey, I don’t think we’ve yet arrived at our destination.” Progress to integrate people with intellectual and physical disabilities has incrementally been reached through the years. But the same can't be said for the 335,000 churches in the United States, according to Erik W. Cater, a Cornelius Vanderbilt professor of special education at Vanderbilt University.

While society has largely moved forward from outright exclusion to mainstream integration, congregations that profess Christ's love for all can use a few pointers on what inclusion looks like in the light of the gospel, Carter said Jan. 17 during Calvin College's annual January Series.

Jamming on the Solo Side of (the) Ledger

Ledger JenJen Ledger Singer Jen Ledger is best known as the singing drummer of the hard rock band Skillet.

But now she’s stepping out in front of the stage serving as lead vocalist for her own band on its first ever tour.

Ledger and numerous other Christian music artists come to Grand Rapids Jan. 18 for the Winter Jam Tour at Van Andel Arena
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“This is the first tour I won’t be on the bus with Skillet,” remarked Ledger, 29, by phone from her home in Kenosha, WI.

Ledger (also the name of her band), released a six-song collecting of new music last year. On the Winter Jam tour she’ll be performing several of them – including her No. 1 Christian rock hit “Not Dead Yet.” The lyrics reveal a personal challenge for the artist.

Nearly 8 Years Later, What’s Happened Since the Historical Joint Synod Between RCA and CRC?

joel boot squareRev. Joel Boot: “It is my hope and prayer that it does continue to grow.” Nearly eight years ago, the Reformed Church in America (RCA) and the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRC) denominations held a historic joint synod at Calvin College.

June 2011 was the first time delegates from the two synods assembled to chart new evangelistic waters since the two denominations split in 1857.

Among the agreements reached were symbolically adopting a resolution their respective synods approved earlier of a more gender-inclusive translation of three Reformed confessions.

Another was on a larger scale that the late Amway co-founder Richard DeVos helped to engender: Launched was a joint church planting project in four "test areas" in the nation, including West Michigan, dubbed Kingdom Enterprise Zones.

Don’t Lose It, Diffuse It!

dan seabornI remember one night when my wife and I were driving and she shared with me something that was going on at the time with our teenage daughter. As I listened to the story, I could feel my blood pressure, which had just been checked during my annual physical, shoot through the roof. I could hear my heartbeat echoing in my head, and I could feel it pulsating in my neck.

I walked in the house with my fuse lit. I proceeded to make my way to the place where I thought I would find my daughter. Upon seeing her, I immediately starting sharing my thoughts and concerns about this incident, speaking to her in a volume that was way too high, with my words coming so quickly there was barely time to take a breath.

Debut Novel has Readers Considering Race, History

We Hope for Better Things-Book CoverErin Bartels didn't start out writing a novel that focused on race and generations of women who faced down the expectations of their times. She thought her story would based on an old woman who gets a box of photos taken during World War II.

"I'm not sure where, when, or why it changed. But the story got bigger and bigger, more and more complex and needing more research," said Bartels, who lives in Lansing and is Trade Catalog Manager and copywriter for Baker Publishing Group.

Now "We Hope for Better Things" is a time-slip novel that moves between three time periods: 1861 Lapeer County, 1963 Detroit, and current-day Detroit. All the story lines are linked to one farmhouse in Lapeer County north of Detroit.

Terry's Picks for January 2019

EVENTSWest Michigan Christian News writer Terry DeBoer surveys the landscape for the area's faith-based arts/entertainment/enrichment events over the coming month. Here are three highlights for January:

Frontline Apologetics Open-air Preacher Proclaims Gospel to the Glory of God

Frontline Cutline No. 1 Stephen Nylen: "(Open air preaching) appealing to God to save His people and an appeal to all people to turn back to their God.” Stephen Nylen is a talker.

He can shoot the breeze with the best of them, whether it's chatting about his wife of six years, Jessica, their three daughters, the pink sock tucked in his Bible he uses as a bookmark, or the dual need for Christ and coffee represented in John Waller's song, "Awakening." (I need Jesus and a little caffeine.")

When Nylen laughs, it is easy and genuine.

Then there's another facet to this Michigan Army National Guard veteran who served as a 19D Calvary Scout in Iraq from 2007-2009, in what is known as Operation Iraqi Freedom, or simply, the Iraq War.

'Twas the night

dan seabornIt's that time of year again. The period when we take a moment and reflect on the awesome Christmas story that many people first remember hearing as little children. I thought it would be good for us to take a moment and go back to that childhood and contemplate this beloved writing.

"'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring..." Wait, wait, wait. See, that's what most people think of when they remember the Christmas story. But that's not the authentic account of Christmas.

I hope that as you take a moment to ponder your life this Christmas season, you will remember the real story. The true story. The story that continues today and goes something more like this: "'Twas the night before nothing, back some 2000 years before, came the birth of a baby boy named Jesus, the blessed spirit, small and poor."

Area Christian Nonprofits Partner to Provide Homeless Men with Transitional Housing

Mel Trotter ICCF Housing Rentals Cutline No. 1Adrienne Goodstal: “We are always looking to be good stewards of the resources God blesses us with.” Two Grand Rapids-based Christian nonprofits have partnered to provide transitional housing for men who previously had no place to live.

Mel Trotter Ministries (MTM) and Inner City Christian Federation (ICCF) have opened two housing units at an undisclosed location on Grand Rapids' West side for men who are transitioning from the MTM shelter.

ICCF is the owner and property manager while leasing the two homes to MTM, which will continue to mentor the men in their new living surroundings. Combined, the two homes have a capacity of housing five men.

A Year Ending, A Year Beginning

Toby Mac fedora and TshirtTobyMac As 2018 draws to a close it's a good time do a bit of reflecting. And add to that some looking ahead to 2019.

First, I'd like to mention a couple of holiday-related events coming up yet this month.

* This may be a bit different for the Christmas season... a live comedy sketch show, "Christmas Night Live (CNL)" is set for 7:45pm Fri. Dec. 14 at Grace For the Nations Church, 3333 Kraft Ave. SE Kentwood. Tickets and information at https://www.facebook.com/events/334162673821761/or call 616-974-9128.

For King & Country: Drumming into Christmas

For King  Country - Luke l. and Joel Smallbone2Luke (left) and Joel Smallbone of For King & Country Luke Smallbone recalls how it all started when he and his brother Joel began doing music.

"I thought, 'What do I know how to do?'" asked Smallbone, now 32.

"I knew how to play drums a little bit....and from then it was just getting some drums together and hitting on them as hard as you could."
Now the creative duo and accompanying band For King & Country have their own giant-sized Christmas tour titled "Little Drummer Boy" (with special guest Zach Williams, coming to Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids Dec. 9).

Terry’s Picks: December 2018

EVENTSWest Michigan Christian News writer Terry DeBoer surveys the landscape for the area's faith-based arts/entertainment/enrichment events over the coming holiday month. Here are three highlights for December:

Battling Alcoholism? Steve Agler Understands. ‘There is hope’

Steve Agler Cutline No. 1Linda and Steve Agler There was a time in Steve Agler’s life where everything fell out of place.

A volcanic divorce, damaged wrist bones, drinking two fifths of vodka daily that made him too inebriated to treat his patients in a once successful chiropractic practice resulted in Agler’s downhill spiral. He eventually found himself homeless and eating out of dumpsters.

That was the former Steve Agler.

Ode to Empty Nesters

dan seabornThat's me. A sort of empty nester. I now sometimes have my dad staying with me along with one of my adult daughters. Parents of younger children often dream about this time when they will be empty nesters. The kids will be out of the house and it will just be the two of them again.

For some parents that idea might be a frightening thought. Some couples have invested their entire life in the activities and lives of their children and they don't know what to talk about or how to act when it is just the two of them. I'm thankful that Jane and I have always built in time for ourselves throughout our marriage relationship so that we are comfortable spending time together without the kids.

Friendship CRC to Display Dozens of Nativity Sets from Around the World Dec. 7-8

Friendship CRC cutline No. 1Bev Abma: “My journey started years ago when we were in language school in Costa Rica.” The public is invited to gaze at an assortment of Nativity sets from around the world at Friendship Christian Reformed Church, 190 100th St. SE, in Byron Center.

The Nativity sets will number more than 100 and will be displayed from 4-8 p.m. on Dec. 7 and from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Dec. 8.

A free will offering will be equally divided to support Growing Hope Globally, formally Food Resource Bank, a Christian nonprofit organization that raises resources to support farmers in developing countries to stem food insecurity; and Enyuaata e Maa Development Organization, or EMADO, that works in to substitute Kenya's female genital mutilation for Maasai women with more positive rites of passage.

Products from Global Gifts also will be available for sale.

Local Author Offers New Look at Bible Characters

LessthanperfectAnn Spangler, known for her in-depth and unique studies of biblical stories, this time turns to the flawed characters in the Bible for spiritual insight in her new book "Less Than Perfect: Broken Men and Women of the Bible and What We can Learn from Them" (Zondervan).

"I like to say that every story in the Bible is about God; I thought it would be interesting to look at these stories and offer cultural and historical context to see what they reveal to us," said Spangler. "I looked at a range of people, from the despicable like Herod the Great to some who are more like us: a mix of light and darkness."

Christmas Music…Drama, to Celebrate the Season

Hark Up  Geoff HansenGeoff Hansen’s vocals supported by dozens of musicians in last year’s “Hark Up” Since West Michigan has already experienced a taste of winter, area residents seem further drawn to the upcoming Christmas holiday. The list of  musical/drama holiday events begins this month.

One of the preeminent holiday musicals each season is "Hark Up": the multi-media extravaganza featuring hundreds of performers – choirs and instrumental ensembles and soloists. This is the 19th year for the ambitious production, which features five performances: 7:30pm Fri. Nov. 30 and Sat. Dec. 1, and matinee shows at 3pm Sat., and 1:30 and 5:30pm Sun. Dec. 2 at DeVos Center for Worship & the Arts, at Grand Rapids Christian High School, 2300 Plymouth Ave. SE.

Mark Schultz Combines Family, Music

Schultz Mark performanceSinger-songwriter Mark Schultz "I just can't stay away," said singer-songwriter Mark Schultz about his frequent visits to West Michigan. "There's a real pull for me there and I just love it."

The veteran inspirational artist was in Grand Haven just last August, closing out the popular summertime Worship on the Waterfront (WOW) series. And now he returns to the area for a solo concert Sun. Nov. 11 in Hudsonville at Fairhaven Church.

He brings with him a new album ("Follow"), several new stories, and a forthcoming Christmas release.

Sunshine Community Church’s New Location Marks Return to Foundational Mission

Sunshine Church Cutline No. 1Sunshine Church’s new location will be in the Creston neighborhood at 3019 Coit Ave. NE. Sunshine Community Church is moving to a new location that marks a return to its foundational mission when it was founded nearly 100 years ago.

Established in 1923, Sunshine has been at four locations in Northeast Grand Rapids.

Its most visible was its 72-acre campus at 3300 E. Beltline Ave. NE. It included a 2,300-seat worship center built in 1989, as well as a separate classroom building and administrative building, an activity room and a commercial kitchen. It was sold earlier this year to Illinois-based property developer Franklin Partners, which will retrofit the buildings for residential use.

Terry’s Picks: November 2018

EVENTSWest Michigan Christian web writer Terry DeBoer surveys the landscape for the area's faith-based arts/entertainment/enrichment events over the coming month. Here are three highlights for November:

Bon Appetit

dan seabornWould you sit at a table with 21 other people and then have a crane hoist that table l65 feet in the air so you could enjoy a unique dining experience? Many people have done just that and paid over $10,000 for the chance. It's called Dinner in the Sky and it's available to rent in most countries.

If that's not your cup of tea, how much would you be willing to pay for a great meal on the ground? Some of you may say $1,000 while others would go even higher. Still some people wouldn't go beyond $20 for a decent meal.

Recently I was talking with a gentleman who told me he was one of the top chefs at one of the most elite restaurants in all of the United States and perhaps the world. I joked with him that maybe my wife and I would go there and drop a couple hundred bucks.
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Covenant House Michigan, Grand Rapids Campus to Provide at Risk, Runaway, Homeless Youth with Faith-based Residential Services

Covenant House Cutline No. 1A rendering of the three-story Covenant House Michigan, Grand Rapids campus. A first-of-its-kind faith-based residential program in Grand Rapids for at risk, runaway or homeless youth will soon be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Covenant House Michigan, Grand Rapids campus (CHMGR) is in the final stages of constructing a $3.5 million three-story building at 26 Antoine St. SW, near the intersection of S. Division Avenue and Franklin Street. It is slated to open in late November, and will have a staff of 20 with an annual operating budget of just under $1 million.

It's the second Covenant House in Michigan; the first is in Detroit, established 20 years ago.

Dove Awards Shower Christian Music Artists

WilliamsZach perf at 2018 DovesZach Williams performs at the 2018 Dove Awards. The recent Gospel Music Association Dove Awards ceremonies in Nashville, Tenn. saw dozens of Christian music artists honored by their industry and artistic colleagues.

And many of them have ties to West Michigan or are coming to the area for concerts over the next several months.

The inspirational pop-rock band For King & Country, performing in Grand Rapids' Van Andel Arena Dec. 9 , won a Dove Award for its holiday album "Christmas: Live in Phoenix."

"We were kind of shocked by that," said singer-songwriter Luke Smallbone the day after the Oct. 16 award ceremonies. "(The album) really had the band guys' fingerprints all over it, and it was great playing those Christmas songs."

Master Arts Theatre Gains Award Nominations

jobThe lead character in his mosaic costume in the stage play "The Book of Job" Karen Larabel is charged with safe-keeping the most elaborate costumes in the Master Arts Theatre inventory.

"I'm hanging on to them," said Larabel of the highly-detailed mosaic garments used last fall in the faith-based theater group's production of "The Book of Job."

"They are fragile, and (Master Arts) is having me protect them."

Jesus Culture Brings More Worship Songs

Walker-Smith KIm  studio shotKim Walker-Smith of Jesus CultureSinger-songwriter Kim Walker-Smith had a few minutes to spare for a phone interview. "I'm taking advantage of some respite time while my children are sleeping," said the mother of three from her Sacramento, Calif. home.

Walker-Smith is part of Jesus Culture, a worship band firmly connected to a church of the same name. The band members were about to embark on a new tour coinciding with the release of their latest album, "Living With A Fire." (The tour comes to West Michigan on Oct. 16....see details below).

Terry’s Picks: October 2018

EVENTSWest Michigan Christian News writer Terry DeBoer surveys the landscape for the area's faith-based arts/entertainment/enrichment events over the coming month. Here are three highlights for October:

New Music Review: Jeremy Hoekstra

Learning the Hard Way - Cover ArtWest Michigan singer-songwriter and worship leader Jeremy Hoekstra has released a new song that provides commentary on his recent life experience.

"Learning the Hard Way," is actually a cover version of a song by the band Gin Blossoms. But the lyrics resonated with Hoekstra in light of his family's struggle with his wife Lindsay's persistent health issues.

The couple has walked a protracted trail of doctor visits, tests and insurance squabbles.

The keyboard and acoustic guitar-based anthem has fairly bouyant pop rhythms. Yet the words tell of an uncertain journey in which "we're just too close to quit."

Basking in CityFest’s Afterglow: What’s Next?

CityFest Cutline No. 1-1A combined 33,000 people attended the Sept. 8-9 CityFest to Ah-Nab-Awen Park. The recent two-day CityFest West Michigan drew a collective 33,000 people to Ah-Nab-Awen Park in downtown Grand Rapids that resulted in more than 2,000 making commitments for Christ. But now that the evangelistic outreach is finished, the larger question remains: what happens next?

Cornerstone University president Joseph Stowell, who served as the CityFest's co-chair, said the evangelistic outreach, produced by Portland, Oregon-based Luis Palau Association, succeeded in crossing denominational lines by bringing 435 Grand Rapids-area churches and nonprofit ministry organizations to work in unison toward one goal.

New Music Review: Tiffany Coverly

Tiffany Coverly EP coverSinger-songwriter Tiffany Coverly has issued the lead single/video from her forthcoming extended play (EP) recording. The song she selected to front the self-titled project is a version of the For King & Country song "Joy."

Initially the song was proposed by her vocal coach, Anthem Lights singer Spencer Kane. "The more I listened to the lyrics, the more I realized how much it resonates with us as Christians," she said. "It's about choosing joy above our feelings." (See and hear the rhythmic track online.)

Tiffany is the wife of Christian illusionist Tom Coverly. And she officially released her music video just before the end of August when the couple re-located from the Grand Rapids area to Gulf Shores, Ala.

“Unbroken: Path to Redemption” is well worth seeing

Unbroken image from imdb"Unbroken: Path to Redemption" is a stirring film, which touches the emotions and offers hope at the same time. Based on the best-selling book by Laura Hillenbrand, and the true story of Louis Zamperini, the film powerfully tells the story of the former Olympian who lands back in America after he is freed from being a P.O.W. This sequel to "Unbroken" picks up where that film left off, with this one focusing on Zamperini's salvation, following his battle with alcohol and his bitterness toward the Japanese prison guard who beat him while he was incarcerated. This faith-based film definitely focuses on the spiritual life of Zamperini, much more so than the first film. And it features Billy Graham's grandson, Will Graham, as the world renowned evangelist, Billy. Zamperini's life changes when he attends an L.A. tent meeting held by Graham. His wife, Cynthia, a Christian, keeps at Zamperini to attend. His drinking is destroying his family life, including putting a damper on the birth of his first child. So, after Cynthia's unflagging perseverance in urging Louis to attend, he finally caves in and does. In a dramatic moment in the film Zamperini is literally walking out of the meeting when Dr. Graham himself tells him there is no running from God.

Art Prize A Connection for Churches

Blessed“Blessed are” – The expressive painting is an ArtPrize entry displayed at First (Park) Congregational Church Sally Lundquist is happy to see this year's ArtPrize entries going up on display at her First (Park) Congregational Church in downtown Grand Rapids.

A year ago, the congregation wasn't sure it would be a venue for the 2018 art competition.

"We were all concerned about our sanctuary repair project, and weren't sure it would be completed," said Lundquist, Art Prize committee chair for the historic downtown church at 10 E. Park Pl. NE.

The church's large social hall, usually filled with temporary gallery walls for ArtPrize displays, was still being used for worship during the first part of September as sanctuary repairs were completed.

Capernaum Campers Demonstrate Leadership Skills

Sara Webb Cutline No. 1Sara Webb’s 13-year-old son, Malachi, was not a Capernaum camper but served as a volunteer, nevertheless and made friends. “They’re fun people,” said Malachi. "What might the church look like if people with profound and complex intellectual disabilities were conceived of as disciples with a distinct vocation—a calling given them by Jesus?" author John Swinton.

While the summer camp season is in the rearview mirror of history, Sara Webb is filled with the conviction that hope springs eternal.

The reason for Webb's optimism is because of what she experienced with a group of young adults with cognitive disabilities at a four-day discipleship camp at Timber Wolf Lake camp in Lake City.

Terry’s Picks, September 2018

EVENTSWest Michigan Christian News writer Terry DeBoer monthly surveys the landscape for the area's faith-related entertainment-enrichment events that might otherwise be overlooked. Here are three highlights for September:

Upcoming CityFest to Mingle Sports, Music, Kids’ Fun with Messages of Hope

CityFest Cutline No. 1Luis Palau has spoken to more than 30 million people in 75 countries.The Sept. 8-9 CityFest West Michigan promises to be an inspirational blend of liveliness.

Think of the two-day faith-based gala at Ah-Nab-Awen Park in downtown Grand Rapids as part heart-pounding concert, part sports derring-do, part kid-friendly amusement, with a healthy dose of a ageless human essential: the Gospel of hope.

In other words, CityFest is more of an emphasis on making it a festival than the crusades previous generations have known.

Admission is free and the start time is 3 p.m. for both days.

Crowned Free’s Fashion Line Funds ‘Massive Need’ to Restore Victims of Human Trafficking

Crowned Free Cutline No. 1Heidi VanderWal: “God has spoken supernaturally through this whole journey.” Heidi VanderWal purposely keeps a journal next to her bed.

The direct sales entrepreneur keeps pen and paper at hand because she never knows when a concept will unexpectedly sprout in her mind that she can use for her custom fashion business named Crowned Free that her and a friend founded.

The ideas VanderWal says she receives from God are vital because they are fused to Crowned Free's mission of helping survivors of sex trafficking.
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