Keynote speaker Rev. Barry Feaker, said he hoped the nearly 900 attending the 54th Annual Kansas Prayer Breakfast on March 18 did not come “to hear me,” but “because you recognize the importance of God in our lives. He cares about you because He created you and loves You immensely.”
Feaker, Topeka Rescue Mission’s Executive Director, and all who participated demonstrated the theme of coming together in God’s name, including the New Testament reading of Matthew 14:13-21 by State Representative Tom Burroughs (D), minority leader of the Kansas House of Representatives.
The website of the Kansas Prayer Breakfast invites “leaders in government, business, education and industry” to the annual event. Kansas Governor Sam Brownback invited God.
“We’ve got a motto — ˜In God We Trust,'” he said. “We believe it¦ He’s blessed us¦Let’s invite him to the meeting!” The governor, sounding more and more like a tent revivalist, read the Amplified Bible version of John 14:27.
“Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]” John 14:27(Amplified)
He also exhorted all in attendance and the whole state of Kansas to focus on the good things that are happening in the state.
“I’d like this entire state to be a tabernacle of praise!” he said. “We’ve got a great state!”
After concluding his welcome to the meeting, Feaker offered Brownback a job in chapel service at the Rescue Mission (when he’s through being governor) and invited Loving Abiding Church of God in Christ Pastor Richard Rounds to come pray there any time.
Feaker told the history of the Topeka Rescue Mission from its beginning in 1953 in “a room on 4th Street” with “a Bible in one hand and a loaf of bread in the other” and a vision of, “Let’s bring ’em off the street, let’s give ’em something to eat, let’s give .em the good news about Jesus.”
Without the aid of government funds the Mission has expanded from approximately 50 beds to 286 beds and is in the process of completing a $3.8 million building project. Currently Feaker is overseeing a $12 million expansion project to create additional shelter space, expand the dining capacity and include a medical clinic. How did it happen?
“Through prayer,” Feaker said.
Feaker, after coming to Christ at a Billy Graham crusade in Kansas City, said he told God, “I’ve read about You. I’ve heard about You, but would you put me somewhere where You can show up like You did in the Bible?” In November 1986, he became executive director of the Topeka Rescue Mission.
Feaker shared inspirational stories that appear in his book In the Darkness, a Light Still Shines, available locally and on Amazon.com.
His first day on the job Feaker said someone called and told him, “There’s a drunk coming your way with his pants down around his ankles.” It turned out the “drunk” was suffering a disability. He needed help pulling up his pants and he needed a belt. Feaker provided him a belt, helped him pull his pants up and never saw the “drunk” again.
One day Cecil Dane, the cook at the time, reported there was no meat for sandwiches. There was plenty of bread, chips and mustard but no meat.
“Let’s pray,” Dane said. Feaker began to pray for “meat.” Dane said, “You have to be more specific. You can do more with ground beef than with pot roast.”
Shortly after they prayed for “ground beef” they got a phone call from a store in Carbondale saying they had over-ordered and asking them if they could use 900 pounds of ground beef.
That was just one miracle where God “showed up.”
A volunteer named Don said he would work for the mission but, “Don’t talk to me about God.” Feaker said he would not, but said, “He may talk to you.” One day, Don asked Feaker to give him money to buy some shredded lettuce, as they had everything needed for the evening meal except lettuce. But before he could get out the door, a woman came in with a donation consisting of nothing but a bag of shredded lettuce.
“Thank you, ma’am,” Don said simply. Later, Feaker said, he had the privilege of leading Don to Jesus Christ.
“When our back is up against the wall we have to partner with God,” Feaker said. “With God all things are possible.”
After the meeting, Feaker said, “God’s doing something in Topeka, Kansas. If you want to do something with God, come on.” Referring to the story of Jesus inviting Peter to walk on water in Matthew 14, he said, “Get off the bench and get in the game.”
The governor later said he was most impressed with Feaker’s “hometown miracles,” and described the prayer breakfast as an “encouraging event for everyone to get together.”
Information about the Kansas Prayer Breakfast can be found at www.kansasprayerbreakfast.net. Information about the history, volunteer opportunities and current needs at The Topeka Rescue Mission is available at trmonline.org.
By Carolyn Cogswell