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Sioux Falls Human Trafficking Conference

On Wednesday, August 13, the Family Heritage Alliance hosted their first Church’s Response to Human Trafficking Conference at the Sioux Falls First Assembly of God Church. Close to 200 friends and partners of faith joined together to learn about the scourge of modern day slavery in our state. FHA Executive Director Dale Bartscher served as the evening’s program Emcee. FHA Human Rights Director Tess Franzen started things off by covering Human Trafficking 101, and sharing an update from this year’s Sturgis Rally. Each of our guest speakers ROCKED the house! Michael Bartel, Executive Director of F.R.E.E. International, U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson, Attorney General Marty Jackley, and Keynote Speaker Congresswoman Kristi Noem shared from their hearts and their experiences, and imparted practical wisdom to the audience. These individuals are each champions in the effort to end human trafficking, and we appreciate their generosity in taking time away from their very busy schedules to speak about human trafficking in our state. Audience members learned what human trafficking looks like her, what is being done to end it, and how the church is uniquely equipped and called to stand between innocence and evil in this fight. Not only are these individuals generous with their speaking time, they have each been actively participating with the FHA’s Human Rights Division and the West River Human Trafficking Task Force in this effort. We are honored to be partnering with them, and we’d like to thank each of them for all they do. People of faith often ask how they can get involved in the fight against human trafficking, and there’s a definite and essential role for each of us to fill. Believers know they can pray and donate money, but they often desire more practical involvement. This event clarified the role of the church in this fight, and audience members left with the challenge to become world changers. Thank you to everyone who helped to make this a great event!

Click here for KELO's coverage of the event.

Click here for the Argus Leader's coverage of the event.


Sioux Falls Office Open House

On Friday, July 25 and Saturday, July 26, the FHA officially celebrated the opening of our office in Sioux Falls. It has been a long road, and truthfully, an enormous step of faith, but we are open for business in the Sioux Falls. Our Executive Director, Dale Bartscher was there of course, and he had the following to say: “Right at 50 friends walked through our office door and the 'good will' expressed by all was especially gratifying. It was a special treat to see our own FHA Board Member Gayla Meyer walk through the door on Saturday. It was helpful having FHA Student Intern Cape Molstad (Baltic, SD) join us on Friday all day.” Several legislators were among those visiting, and so many commented on the attractive and spacious accommodations. It would be impossible to adequately thank LaVonne Fossness who serves as our Sioux Falls Area Representative, and without whose diligent work and networking, the open house and the office itself would still just be a dream.


FHA Campaign Takes Aim at Human Trafficking

Ahead of the Sturgis Motor Cycle Rally, the FHA is launching an awareness campaign.  Beginning next week, just ahead of the rally, the Family Heritage Alliance, with the assistance of Free International and other ministries and organizations, will launch an awareness campaign against human trafficking and sex slavery. Radio and TV PSAs with Representative Kristi Noem, South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley, and U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson will hit the airwaves for the campaign.  Also, you will see a billboard on Interstate 90 right outside of Sturgis, as well as several digital billboards around the area.

Update:  Be watching for the video spots below on your local TV stations.  Also, a second billboard is up on Mt. Rushmore Road just past Tower Road.  And lastly, due in large part to the work of our Tess Franzen, SD Governor Dennis Daugaard has proclaimed August "Human Trafficking Awareness Month"!  Click here to read the proclamation.

Last year, nine men were charged with sex trafficking during the Sturgis Rally.  You might be interested in reading:  Belle Fourche man found guilty of sex trafficking during rally.


July 30 BH Area FHA Luncheon

Wednesday, July 30 found almost 100 friends (which may be a record for this time of year) of the FHA gathered at South Canyon Lutheran Church in Rapid City for our Summer Black Hills Area Luncheon. The Keynote Speaker for the event was Family Research Council’s SD field representative, Bruce Lau. Also on the program was a report from our Tess Franzen, Director of FHA’s Human Rights Division regarding the ongoing work toward stemming the tide of human trafficking in our state. As always, we want to thank Pastor Bruce Thalacker and the wonderful folks at South Canyon Lutheran Church. Also, a huge thank you goes out to the army of FHA volunteers that helped make this event a success!


Pastor Yorba Takes Faster Pastor West Trophy

Sunday, July 13, 13 area ministry leaders gathered to duel it out in what has become an FHA tradition. The Faster Pastor Go Cart Race West, postponed from its regular spot at the conclusion of our Celebrating Family event, was every bit the grand finale we were expecting. Pastor George Yorba of Open Range Bible Outfitters fame took the trophy. He officially took possession of the coveted trophy in front of the Hills Alive crowd on Sunday, July 20 at 2:50 pm. The other participants were: Pastor/Elder Jim Price (Black Hills Church of Christ), Pastor Troy Carr (Faith Temple Church), Pastor Karman Blake (Good Healing Voice Ministries), Pastor Jon Fiester (Bible Fellowship Church), Pastor Wayne Titus (Rapid Valley Community Church), Father Jonathan Dillon (Cathedral of OLPH), Father Nathan Sparks (Cathedral of OLPH), Pastor Karl Kroeger (Piedmont United Methodist Church), Pastor Rob Crumb (Dove Christian Center), Father Mark Horn (Cathedral of OLPH), Pastor Layne Lindberg (Freedom Life Outreach), Pastor Steve Selfridge (First Wesleyan Church).  See more pictures from the event on our Facebook Page.


FHA Opens New Sioux Falls Office

As the ministry of the Family Heritage Alliance and FHA Action expands, the logical next step has always been a permanent, brick and mortar presence in Sioux Falls. As of Tuesday, July 1, that next step was achieved as we received the keys to our suite in the FCA building located at 1601 East 69th Street. Our suite is #206.

We are still in the process of getting utilities set up and ready to go, so it may be a day or two before a phone number is published.  However, we are "chomping at the bits" to get operations up and fully functional in Sioux Falls.

We are excited to announce that we will be hosting an Open House Reception at our new office on Friday July 25 from 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM and Saturday, July 26 from 9:00 AM to 11:30  AM.  Refreshments will be served.  We are looking forward to seeing you there.


First Annual Sioux Falls Walk Run

Saturday, June 28 was a beautiful summer day for our first annual Sioux Falls Run Walk for Faith, Family and Freedom. This year, we partnered with the Joe Marrowbone and the Ram Center. It is the heart of the FHA to reach out to our Native American brothers and sisters in Christ and this was our first successful attempt at doing so. Our Sioux Falls Area Coordinator, LaVonne Fossness did a superb job lining up this event which raised over $1000 for the two ministries. Just so you know, Dale and LaVonne weren’t in any trouble, the two Sioux Falls motorcycle police officers just dropped by to wish us well.


FHA Action Endorses Mike Rounds


Celebrating Family West 2014

Many of the mini-golf (pardon the pun) holes were under water, but still the hearty golfers golfed on. At times they watched intently to see if their golf ball managed to find its mark under the surface of the water. Talk about a water hazard. The climbing wall seemed the best idea, since you could at least get to higher ground that way. Yes, the rain came and the temperatures were less than cooperating, but still around 250 folks from the Rapid City area came out to enjoy fellowship, food, and fun. On June 21, the weather was far from ideal, but the 2014 Celebrating Family West came off quite well considering. When the FHA does an event like this, there is always an army of volunteers who make it all possible. To those volunteers, and the wonderful folks at the Ranch Amusement park, we extend a great big ‘thank you’.

Many of those attending waited patiently for 3:00 as that was the scheduled time for the “Faster Pastor” race. However, because of the waterlogged race track, the grand finale had to be scrubbed at the last minute. But be of good cheer, we already have the Faster Pastor race rescheduled for July 13. As a result of the reschedule, a few of the contestants had to bow out, so we are looking for a few who might be interested in filling their place. If you are interested, call our office at 605.718.5433.


2014 Celebrating Family East

Well the clouds rolled in early in the morning on June 14.  The rain fell, the wind blew, and they pounded the FHA’s tent, but it was founded on something substantial enough to withstand the storm and provide shelter for the FHA team preparing to spend some time celebrating family in Sioux Falls.  And, when the sun finally came out, so did about 150 folks looking to share in the “Celebrating Family” experience, and wow did we make up for lost time.  Sure, we were hoping for 500, but the fact that 150 braved the rain and wind and came out to spend the morning with us is a win worthy of any trophy case.  We were blessed to have a great team of volunteers who efficiently worked to make the best of weather.  We can’t say enough about Al Novstrup and the great folks at Thunder Road who donated tickets to the attendees, and just generally made the experience a great one.

As is our custom, the grand finale to the day, was the Faster Pastor race.  We had 11 participants, and the event was a goodhearted perfect conclusion to our “Celebrating Family” in Sioux Falls.  The following pastors participated, and represented their respective ministries well.  Pastor Tyler Tufte took the checkered flag.

  • Pastor Spencer Aalsburg – United Reformed Church
  • Pastor Aaron Asmus – Memorial Lutheran Church
  • Pastor Chris Ascher – Resurrection Lutheran Church
  • Pastor Joe Marrowbone – First Assembly of God church
  • Pastor Dave Tims – First Reformed Church
  • Pastor Tyler Tufte – First Assembly of God Church
  • Pastor Brian Narcomey – Center of Hope Church
  • Pastor Larry Fossum – Cowboy Way Church
  • Pastor Jon Sanders – The Rescue Church
  • Pastor Kurt Schiferl – Volunteers of America
  • Pastor Chad Weidenbacher – Faith Temple
Our special thanks to LaVonne Fossness (our Sioux Falls Area Coordinator) who, as always rallied an amazing team of volunteers, and did a great job getting everything lined out and ready for the event.


JWC's First Commencement Exercise

John Witherspoon College is the first and only institution of its kind in a five-state region that includes more than 300,000 people living in a 2000-mile radius. One biographer said that John Witherspoon transformed Princeton into an institution that equipped "the revolutionary generation." God has given this school that bears his name, the resources, the vision, and the passion for equipping a "new revolutionary generation." All to the glory of God!

On Friday, May 9, JWC celebrated both her FIRST Commencement Exercise and graduated her FIRST Graduate. That Graduate is Scott D. Wiggins pictured here second from the left standing beside FHA Executive Director and Vice-Chairman of the JWC Board of Trustees. Also pictured are JWC's President Dr. Richard Wells and her Associate Professor of Biblical Studies and Dean, Dr. Ronald J. Lewis. Mr. Wiggins graduated with an Associate of Christian Leadership and the FHA congratulates him and wishes JWC God's speed.


UPDATE : Bible Curriculum in Public Schools

By Perry Lewis

One year ago the Bible Curriculum in Public Schools was presented to Superintendent Tim Mitchell of the Rapid City School District, which is the largest district in South Dakota, and then presented to this audience.

We believed this great curriculum of history and literature was well received by Dr Mitchell and we know you received it well. It seemed to be moving in the direction for approval as an elective course in Rapid City High Schools.

A few weeks ago I met again with Dr. Mitchell. The climate of this meeting was substantially different than the first meeting in the following ways:

  1. Up front he told me he had been attacked by several people soon after it was announced the Bible Curriculum would be considered. Note: You may remember a very negative editorial by the Rapid City Journal followed by several negative letters to the editor. Shortly thereafter Dale Bartscher of Family Heritage Alliance had published in the same paper a very positive response.
  2. Dr. Mitchell told me he was overwhelmed (my word) by the Common Core planning and execution.
  3. He also said he works at the direction of the School Board and they gave him six directives to be his priority.
  4. Dr. Mitchell then told me, “There is no room for any electives that do not apply to higher education”.
  5. Finally he told me the Bible Curriculum concept is back to square one, and frankly it appeared to me he is not at all interested at this point in trying to move it forward.
May I suggest that Dr. Mitchell’s position, in view of Common Core [Standards], is probably not much different than Superintendents across the state, and nation for that matter.

Does Common Core and its dictates mean the end of the effort? Wars are seldom won with a single battle. Is it time for our legislature to become more proactive in school curriculum with legislation that reflects the standards we would want for our children?  How many Christians are serving on school boards?