JBLM Community seeks peace through prayer at Garrison Prayer Brunch

Nathan Wilkes, JBLM Garrison Public Affairs
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- Community members from Joint Base Lewis-McChord joined in prayer to commemorate the Garrison Prayer Brunch Feb. 6 at the Lewis Main Chapel Fellowship Hall.

The theme of this year's breakfast, prayer and peace, emphasized a connection between spiritual faith and holistic harmony. While attendees helped themselves to an assortment of breakfast dishes, several guest speakers of different faiths and cultural backgrounds shared messages on the power of prayer and the importance of peace.

"There is no greater blessing than peace," said retired Army Sgt. 1st Class Caleb Ortega, a member of the JBLM Jewish community. "Peace is at the core of why we pray."

During the event, attendees were encouraged to find unity in their similarities and pride in their differences.

"When we pray, we seek peace in ourselves, our families, our communities and our nation," said Army Staff Sgt. Ibrahim Issifu, a JBLM Islamic community member assigned to 4th Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. "Though we vary in religious beliefs, we can find common ground through prayer."

Several booths with religious garments, icons and texts were set up for breakfastgoers to learn more about the faith groups represented on JBLM. Christian, Jewish, Islamic and Buddhist faiths were showcased during the event.

"The Buddhist religion seeks to bring peace in our everyday lives through prayer," said Ann Tjhung, an emergency services chaplain and JBLM Buddhist community member. "The love and compassion taught through prayer are traits that exist in all religious practices."

During the presentation, each guest speaker highlighted their own faith and explained how their connection with God has influenced their lives.

Chaplain (Col.) David Shoffner, JBLM Garrison chaplain, shared his own experience and relationship with God through an anecdote about his dog, Nila.

Before coming to JBLM, Nila was diagnosed with liver cancer. Even though the odds of survival were low, Shoffner continued to place his faith in God and prayed for Nila's recovery.

A few weeks later, the cancer disappeared and Nila received a new lease on life.

"Prayer provides us with a direct connection with God," said Shoffner. "It is a direct line that allows us to offer up our problems and receive some heavenly advice. That connection with God is what grants us true peace."

The JBLM community hosts several prayer breakfasts throughout the year. The next will be hosted by Madigan Army Medical Center 7a.m. Feb. 13 at the American Lake Conference Center.
Religious garments, icons and texts are on display during the National Prayer Breakfast Feb. 6 at the Lewis Main Chapel Fellowship Hall on Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The theme of this year's breakfast, prayer and peace, emphasized a connection between spiritual faith and holistic harmony. (Photo Credit: Nathan Wilkes, JBLM Garrison Public Affairs)