The National Prayer Breakfast & Shelterwood

My wife, Janice and I, just returned home from an encouraging couple of days at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC. This annual event brings together 4,000 men and women from all 50 states and 140 countries. Together we shared in conversations about Christ and the hope that He offers for the problems that we face as individuals and nations today.

We were moved and deeply inspired by a powerful line up of speakers. These individuals shared with us how and why Jesus is the key to peace and purpose in their own individual lives.

Roma Downey and Mark Burnett – Shared their remarkable testimonies about how Jesus is at work in the entertainment industry of Hollywood. Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe – Spoke about how Jesus has protected her and provided for her as she faces the cruelest of enemies in Uganda. She prays to God daily that she might “see Jesus in the face of my enemies, and that they would see Jesus in me.”

Dr. Ken Blanchard – Shared with us about his journey as a management and leadership expert. He invited us in to understand the specific ways in which his career led him to renewed faith in Jesus. He now travels the world talking about the leadership principles of Jesus.

President Obama – Shared in humility how the pressure of the office has driven him to his knees. He helped us better understand how faith was the key to helping him deal with fear.

Dayton Moore, the General Manager of the World Champion Kansas City Royals, painted for us a picture of how his faith in Jesus has guided his decisions, and how he has learned to “fight on his knees.”

Throughout the week, there were hundreds of gatherings of people from varied backgrounds, ethnic groups, nations, and religions collectively together meeting around the teachings and person of Jesus.

Shelterwood was well represented at the event.

Our former Board Chairman, Ronnie Cameron, was recognized at the closing dinner as one of the six key leaders in the Prayer Breakfast movement. Ronnie and Nina got involved in Shelterwood nearly twenty years ago. A good friend of Ronnie and Nina had a son who attempted suicide several times. They were luckily able to connect this family with Shelterwood. That same young man is now a seminary graduate, happily married, and the father of three beautiful children. His story is a powerful example of restoration and hope we believe in for every family through the power and healing of Jesus Christ.

Also in attendance was our current Board Chairman, Rodney Moss and his wife, Shelly. Their daughter Hannah was at Shelterwood in 2011 and 12, and Hannah is now a successful student at Texas A&M University. Rodney and Shelly not only put their hope in Christ but they also have put their hope the work of Shelterwood as they have come to see and know other families, just like them, who have been greatly impacted by Shelterwood.

One of the most encouraging parts of the weekend for my wife Janice and I, was connecting with Giovani Scardino. Gio graduated from Shelterwood in 2012. While Gio was at Shelterwood, he decided then and there to take his future seriously and he decided to take ownership of his faith. He attended the National Prayer Breakfast in 2013, and he has been an active participant in the National Student Leadership Forum (NSLForum.org) ever since. It was a blessing to visit with Gio and his family and see the personal growth in him. We are so proud of this young man and we are so encouraged to see him pursue an academic degree. It brings us much joy to see young adults like Gio pursuing all that Christ has for them.

We believe this generation needs a vision for their lives and a purpose that is bigger than themselves. We confidently believe Jesus is the real and only hope for this generation. It brings us deep encouragement to know that there will be an event this summer gathering together one million young people who will be descending on the Mall at Washington DC around the person of Jesus to pray for our country. We are not only excited about what God is doing in our country, but we are also grateful to God for allowing us to participate in His wonderful work of restoring hope and purpose in the lives of many teens and their families at Shelterwood today.