WORTHINGTON - Bart and Sherry DeBoer have continued on what could be described as an amazing road to recovery over the last 20 months.
On Saturday, March 24, they’ll share the “amazing power of prayer” with attendees of the 25th annual Community Prayer Breakfast. The community is invited to attend the non-denominational event, which is set to begin at 8 a.m. at the American Reformed Church, 1720 N. Burlington Ave., Worthington.
The yearly Community Prayer Breakfast is sponsored by Worthington Early Risers Kiwanis.
“Bart and Sherry will talk about how the power of prayer really has made a difference in their lives,” Early Risers Kiwanis member Roger Johnson said. “It should be a very powerful presentation.”
Promotional material for next week’s event shares a small portion of the DeBoers’ story.
“On July 30, 2016 Bart and Sherry DeBoer were riding motorcycle on a rural highway when a John Deere farm tractor ran through the stop sign and hit them broadside,” the event’s poster describes. “After a combined 140 days in the hospital and 20 surgeries they continue on the road to recovery. Come hear their story of recovery and the amazing power of prayer.”
“We’ll talk about the accident and the recovery process, and talk about how we think our story resonated with a lot of people,” Bart DeBoer said in a phone interview Tuesday. “A lot of people across the country were praying for us.”
Bart was able to return to work on a part-time basis in January 2017, and not long afterward was back full-time at his post as executive director of The Furniture Mission in Sioux Falls, S.D. Sherry, meanwhile, has still been unable to work due to the severity of her injuries.
The DeBoers both grew up in the area and lived in Worthington from 1996-2004. A lasting connection with Johnson led to their invitation to be next Saturday’s featured speakers.
“He said, ‘I thought of you and thought you might be great for this, and would you be willing to do it?” Bart said. “We’ve known Roger for many years, and my wife actually worked for the Johnsons when we lived in Worthington.”
In addition to the DeBoers’ remarks Saturday, there will be a commemoration of the prayer breakfast’s 25th anniversary.
“It was Bob Demuth Sr., our former mayor, that started this 25 years ago,” Johnson explained. “He’ll speak and give a little bit of the history of the event.”
Originally known as the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast, the event was eventually taken over by Early Risers Kiwanis, club member Dale Carlson said. It has traditionally been hosted on the Saturday before Palm Sunday.
Also scheduled to be part of the breakfast on Saturday are local Boy Scouts who will provide the honor guard. The meal is being catered by Hy-Vee.
Tickets for the event may be obtained at the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce, Avera Medical Group Optometry, Hy-Vee and Fareway, as well as from any Early Risers Kiwanis member. People purchasing those tickets will learn how the DeBoers were able to not just maintain their faith, but strengthen it, during what continues to be arduous time.
“I think any time you are challenged with a major life event, it challenges your theology,” Bart said. “Theology can be easy to talk about, but when you put it in terms of your own life, it becomes more difficult.
“When things are bad you rely on faith … and my faith has grown stronger. Everything I’ve learned in my life about a relationship with God … it’s really true.”