This week I’ve been in Washington, DC attending the 67th National Prayer Breakfast. It’s been amazing — and I left with a sense of hope.
Staff members Arnie Adkison, Adam McKinney and Sarah Klotz accompanied me, along with several Buckner International friends and supporters, including Dr. Jeff Warren, senior pastor of Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas; his wife; Dr. Elijah Brown, general secretary of the Baptist World Alliance; Susan Jasper, co-founder of Jasper Ventures, Inc.; Carrie Ann Jasper-Yearty, chief people officer for Jasper Ventures Inc; and Jason Yearty of Legacy Mortgage Group.
We started off the week with a Friends of Buckner Dinner Tuesday, hosting several friends from the Washington area, including Jedd Medefind, president and CEO of Christian Alliance for Orphans; Victor Boutros, president & CEO of the Human Trafficking Institute; Chuck Johnson, CEO of National Council for Adoption; and Sarah Gesiriech, special advisor on children in adversity for USAID.
The Middle East Prayer Breakfast was an interesting gathering of Palestinian Christians, Jewish Rabbis, Muslim friends and an American-born Christian Arab attorney who is making a difference in the spirit of Jesus and His teachings. One of the speakers noted that Jesus was asked 187 questions but only answered three; he asked 307 questions during his three-year ministry, as recorded in Scripture. The speaker noted, “Love’s first task is to listen.”
In between Prayer Breakfast meetings, I had Capitol Hill appointments with Congressional leaders such as Congressman Michael Burgess of Texas’ 26th District, Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Senator John Cornyn of Texas and Congressman Van Taylor of Texas’ 3rd District. I was honored to share the Buckner story with these men: How we are shining hope in Texas, south of our border and in countries like Kenya. These were excellent meetings and we explored how we might collaborate to benefit vulnerable children, orphans and families.
The highlight of the week, though, was the Prayer Breakfast Thursday. The breakfast is hosted by the members of the U.S. Congress with the President Donald Trump as their guest. Senator James Lankford and Congressman Chris Coons led the program.
We heard scripture passages read from the Old Testament and New Testament; prayers offered by Manuel Espina, Guatemalan ambassador to the U.S., and Mo Anderson, vice chair of Keller Williams Realty.
We heard music presented by Chris Tomlin. Our keynote speaker was Gary Haugen, CEO of International Justice Mission and, of course, we heard remarks from President Trump. He focused on the sanctity of human life, adoption and forever families through faith-based organizations like Buckner. He also emphasized the importance of religious liberty, to widespread positive support from the crowd.
I was honored to be seated next to Senator Cornyn and his wife Sandy and was able to meet Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi; Dr. Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing; Dr. Jack Graham, Senior Pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church; Dr. Bob Roberts of Northwood Church; and Senator Ted Cruz.
To sum up the week, I came away from the experience with a sense of hope. So many people of different political parties and 140 countries enjoyed time together, prayed together and worshipped together in the spirit of Jesus of Nazareth.
It did not erase political differences, but it did bring hope to the table, to our nation and among our national leaders. Hope Shines Here in the District!