Prayer & Breakfast

National Prayer Breakfast --- one of the Chapel's signature events. I was blessed to be on point this year for our Chapel Team's National Prayer Breakfast and thanks to the contribution of many folks I couldn't have asked for it to go any better.

First of all, I was most honored to have an esteemed Airman come all the way from Washington D.C. to serve as our guest speaker. Colonel (ret.) Norman McDaniel encouraged all gathered to "Keep Faith" not only with our nation, but with our fellow airmen, our families, and our God no matter the circumstances. This is something he is most qualified to speak on as he spent over 6 1/2 years in captivity as a POW in Vietnam.

I was blessed to spend quite a bit of time with him this past week. One day we visited the DMZ. Having participated in this tour I now how a healthy respect for those who stand their post there on that line and especially in the Joint Security Area. I will confess that I was very ignorant of significant history there. For example knew nothing until this tour about operation Paul Bunyan and the death by axe of a fellow Captain named Bonifas. It was earie looking north into the rugged mountains and seeing a lone North Korean sentry looking back. It was a cold and blustery place, and not entirely because winter has not fully lifted yet in Korea.

How different South Korea is. A few days later, Col McDaniel, my boss, and myself aided by our language specialist made our way into Suwon to visit the fortress there and have some lunch. Lunch was very good, as can be seen by the nearly empty table. And as we made our way up the incline to look out over the city of Suwon from the ridge the fortress topped, it began to snow - cold but beautiful, though I was wishing I had my hat. (Sort of one of the risks you run when you keep all your hair cut off.) Still yet, we took time in the cold to ring the bell of harmony. Far away from family, there was something still quite powerful about this huge solemn tone ringing out over the entire city in celebration of one's family.

The Prayer Breakfast itself was a very enjoyable event. It is hard to believe that it is already over. So much work goes into preparing a big event with lots of moving pieces that when it is over it seems like it flew by. But it was well worth it. The ROKAF (Korean Air Force) chapel here at Osan brought their choir over and they were amazing. I had the idea of inviting someone to do something like this from the National Prayer Breakfast I attended at Bolling where the AF Singing Sergeants performed. I have to say the ROKAF Choir was easily their equal. They brought their String/Wind ensemble and had liturgical dancers with 30 vocalists and I had goose bumps both for their practice and their performance.

Col McDaniel kept the crowd enraptured during his entire address. Afterwards people flocked to have their pictures made with him or to shake his hand. All week I saw how he naturally connected to folks. On the bus trip back from the DMZ, he had so impressed our Korean tour guide, that she introduced him to everyone and they gave him a huge round of applause.