By Mary O’KEEFE
The Crescenta Valley 3rd Annual Prayer Breakfast was held on Tuesday in the early morning hours. About 200 people were in attendance at this year’s breakfast held at the First Baptist Church – La Crescenta. The event celebrated the diversity of beliefs in Crescenta Valley.
The foundation of the CV prayer breakfast, which was organized by several local residents and organizations and led by the CV Town Council, is to bring everyone together in support of children.
On Tuesday morning, the CV High School JROTC presented the colors followed by a breathtaking version of the “Star Spangled Banner” by the CV High School Charismatics acapella group.
The keynote speaker was Roger Kamstra, pastor of Church of the Nations in Glendale. Kamstra’s resume is impressive and includes performing duties as a teacher at Vienna’s International Christian School and working with outreaches in Los Angeles, Folsom State Prison and California Youth Prison as well as internationally in Africa, Ghana, Mexico and Guatemala.
He spoke of the decline in spiritual guidance and belief within the younger generation, comparing it to ancient times.
“The Book of Judges tells about the history of the Israelites,” he said. He spoke of the generation that saw great works from the “parting of the Red Sea” to the “Battle of Jericho.” This generation had children and spoke firsthand of the wonders they had witnessed. With the birth of the second generation, the parents told the stories of their parents.
“These were the children of the men who fought next to Joshua,” Kamstra said. “They had been told these stories day in and day out … this generation remained faithful.”
But by the third generation after the Exodus, he said, the children did not grow up knowing the Lord.
“Their parents had given them many things, but they did not tell the stories of how God had led them from Egypt,” he said. “They had drifted away spiritually. How does this happen?”
He reminded the audience that today adults need to guide children, to talk to them about their spirituality and about God.
“There is [now] a generation out there that is being influenced less and less by their parents and more by the culture,” he said. “We have an obligation and a responsibility to these kids.”
Kamstra said in all of his travels there has been one constant with children he has met: “Every single kid responds when I show interest in them.”
To not lecture but listen to kids is the way to reach them, he added. But before adults reach out to children, they have to make certain they know where their own heart is.
“It is time for us who say the Lord is our God to act like He is our God,” he said. “Do we have a rhythm of life that has God attached to it?”
The morning began with a prayer by Pastor Bill Flanders of the First Baptist Church and ended with a prayer by Mark Yeager, chaplain at the YMCA of the Foothills.
Master of ceremonies Arick Gevorkian thanked all who attended and then ended on a personal note. He spoke of how his life had gone down the wrong path when he was a young man. When he was lost, it was a Boy Scout leader that saved him.
“He took me under his wing,” he said.
That adult mentored him, guiding him through his education and toward the life he now leads as an active community volunteer.
“Everyone asks me, ‘Why are you doing so much?’ I do it because somebody did it for me,” he said.
He then spoke of his daughter in high school who just volunteered 72 hours coordinating and participating in Relay for Life, and his son who is a Boy Scout. He was helped; he helped others and has taught his children how to pay it forward.
“Our kids are a reflection of us,” he said.