What a wonderful evening! If you were unable to attend, you missed a tremendous time of fellowship, praise, challenge, and inspiration.
On Saturday evening, we held our annual “Celebrate the Family” dinner, this year with Dr. Ben Carson. The enthusiasm and energy in the room was terrific! We had a full house with about 900 attendees, all anxious to hear from Dr. Carson.
Watch this video montage of 13 minutes of Dr. Carson addressing:
-What will save America
-War on Women
-Why America is Good
-What freedom is…
Dinner was then served, followed by a very emotional and touching presentation of our first annual “Family Champion Award.” The first recipient of this prestigious award was Representative Dwayne Alons. Representative Alons has served in the Iowa Legislature for 17 years, while continuing to stand firm for family-strengthening values that are desperately needed in our homes, churches, and government. Unfortunately, Dwayne was recently diagnosed with cancer, and his health made it impossible for he and his wife, Clarice, to receive the award in person. However, in anticipation of that situation, we were able to video record Representative Alons accepting the award a few weeks ago in his home, and shared that with the attendees. On Saturday, their son and daughter accepted the award on his behalf. The entire presentation was very moving. Dwayne received a standing ovation, and there were few dry eyes.
Following the award, our President and CEO, Bob Vander Plaats, shared the core reasons for why The FAMiLY LEADER is such an important organization for our nation, and what we believe to be the most critical needs for our nation. Bob stressed that while we believe that immigration, the national budget, ISIS, the undermining of marriage and the right to life are all hugely critical issues, we are convinced that none of those issues can be permanently fixed until we have spiritual awakening that crosses our great land. The issues we face are, at their core, evidence of spiritual needs and spiritual battles. At exactly 7:14 pm, Bob stopped his remarks to pray for our nation as he encourages everyone to do in his book, If 7:14.
Secondly, Bob emphasized the unique and, we believe, God-orchestrated location of TFL – in Iowa. Iowa has the privilege of being the first to vet and truly connect with potential presidential candidates. This is an opportunity that is unparalleled, and we may not have again for years – or ever.
Then it was time for Dr. Carson to speak, to which the entire congregation sprang to their feet to welcome him. Every ear was attentive, and the room was still as Dr. Carson spoke about the importance of the family unit. He shared about his youth, growing up in absolute poverty, but how his mother encouraged him to work hard and always do his best. He spoke how political correctness really bothers him as it stifles healthy discussion and is an affront to the Founder’s intent of freedom.
Dr. Carson mixed in a lot of humor as he continued to speak to a wide range of issues, from immigration and the threat of ISIS, to the national budget, personal responsibility, and the breakdown of the family in our culture.
Following the dinner, attendees were able to purchase Dr. Carson’s books and then have Dr. Carson sign them personally. This was very popular, and hundreds of people were able to meet Dr. Carson.
Be watching for more photos, quotes, and videos to be released in the coming days!