by LaVonne Fosness
LaVonne is on the FHA staff as our Sioux Falls Representative
Approximately 1300 people attended the 37th Annual Sioux Falls Prayer Breakfast sponsored by the Christian Business Men’s Committee (CBMC) on Good Friday morning, March 29th held at the Ramkota Inn Exhibit Hall. Honored guests included public servants such as Sioux Fallls Mayor Mike Huether, Senator John Thune and Congresswoman Kristi Noem, along with other elected officials.
Chris Plekenpol from Austin, Texas was the keynote speaker. Chris opened his remarks by speaking of what a joy it was to share his testimony in a community like ours who honors God and gathers in unity to focus on prayer asking Jesus to bless families, businesses, those serving in the military and our leaders. In contrast, he said that atheists in his hometown of Austin, Texas, were having a 50-year reunion celebrating their unbelief including signs around Austin reading “There is no God”. That broke my heart and only reinforced the urgency and need to be salt and light in our world and to defend our Christian values.
Chris was the commander of 100 men, 21 tanks, 7 Bradley mini tanks, and a handful of hummers in Iraq. The first day and the first four minutes of his command, he received the message no one wants to hear “KIA” (killed in action). He lost the first soldier in his command. You think you know God and I was a fan of God in his early years says Chris, but the combat caused him to put his faith into action. Hebrews 13:5 became very real to him “I will never leave you or forsake you”. Chris committed himself to spending time with God every morning creating his own chapel. His desire was to share the hope and salvation that we have in Jesus with each of his men.
Chris’s testimony resonated with many realizing that we are not all in combat, but we all face battles and the most important one is that we must all be ready to meet the Lord. He said it’s not about making bad people good, but making dead people alive. He continued by saying that we are all terminal and we have a death sentence. Jesus is the only one who can offer eternal life. Some say, “I will do that later when there’s more time” Sometimes, there is no more time. The Bible says that “Today if you hear my voice, do not harden your heart“.
Chris faced many hardships and difficult times while serving in Iraq, but God was faithful and blessed him. His testimony of faith and courage was uplifting to each of us.