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John Chapin, director of Community Christian School in Willmar

Willmar, Minn., Mayor's Prayer Breakfast speaker: Work together with God's help

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WILLMAR -- Willmar's citizens and leaders could follow the biblical example of Nehemiah, who along with others worked together with God's help to rebuild the walls and restore the gates of Jerusalem.

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"From my experience, I think there is an opportunity and maybe today is the start of an opportunity to examine ourselves and build this city, strengthen our state and our nation. There is a recipe to make it a success. The place to start is with prayer as a group and a city,'' said John Chapin, director of Community Christian School in Willmar.

Chapin was featured speaker at the 31st annual Mayor's Prayer Breakfast Thursday morning at the Assembly of God Church. Mayor Frank Yanish announced that almost 400 people attended.

The breakfast coincided with the National Day of Prayer.

Chapin grew up in Willmar and remembers what the city was like in the past and what it's like today. He said the city has made a lot of progress, but it takes a lot of things to make a city great "like we the people.''

Chapin said he was blessed to be part of a local company that is 93 years old this year, and he remembered the relatives and friends who influenced his life and provided the moral and spiritual compass.

"Those influences are things that we sometimes don't realize at the time,'' he said. "I just encourage you to think about people that encouraged your life so you, too, might be an encouragement to other people.''

Chapin urged his listeners to come together in prayer and work together with government and government leaders to work with citizens and see what can be done.

"Are we working together, or are we working alone? Are we truly trying to build the wall in just our area, seeing the vision that God wants for our community? There will be naysayers. But I think we can to get what God has in store for us,'' he said

Maybe for Willmar, he said, it starts with tearing down walls.

"Look at your own life. Where have I built a wall in the group I'm with, friends, whatever it is. Sometimes we can't come together because we've built walls. Today I pray if there are any, that we tear down those walls, only do that because God wants to do something radical in our life,'' he said.

Chapin said he believes Willmar can be a city that's a light to the community, the state and nation.

"It can start here. We can be that city on a hill,'' said Chapin. "I believe that God has something in mind. I believe that God wants to do something. I don't know what the something is. But I truly believe that if we can work together God has something great that only God can do. We can't alone. But we can together because God will pull us together. Together we can do great things. I believe that God is in the city.''

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David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150
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