2021 Clark County Prayer breakfast with a focus on faith and freedom

20th prayer breakfast salutes the American Dream with Patrice Tsague

The 2021 Clark County Prayer Breakfast began and ended with the booming and inspirational voice of Rey Reynolds singing the National Anthem and Amazing Grace. There were prayers of thanks and gratitude for area first responders, those who serve to keep citizens safe and those who keep us free.

The 20th Annual Clark County Prayer Breakfast is scheduled for Thu., Nov. 4 from 7-9 a.m. at the Vancouver Hilton.

The theme of the 20th annual event was “Our American Story” with stirring remarks and an amazing personal story by Patrice Tsague.

Patrice Tsague shared his story of being an atheist emigrant to the United States at age 11. He was introduced to a Christian businessman who became a friend and mentor. He shares the American Dream via his faith and entrepreneurship. Photo courtesy Patrice Tsague
Patrice Tsague shared his story of being an atheist emigrant to the United States at age 11. He was introduced to a Christian businessman who became a friend and mentor. He shares the American Dream via his faith and entrepreneurship. Photo courtesy Patrice Tsague

“God, what do you want me to do today,” asked emcee Jason Hattrick. “What can I do” was a heartfelt request from Heidi St. John, reminding the attendees that each of us can step forward and be a force for good. “We’re all here because we care about our community,” she said.

There was a special recognition of people who had served in the military by George Golden. Dixie Hotaling was the honored citizen who had not only served in the military, but is a Gold Star grandmother. She lost her grandson Timothy in 2005, while serving with the Army in Iraq. 

“An empty chair at the table reminds me that my beloved grandson Timothy, gave his life on October 15, 2005,” Hotaling said.

Hotaling was a cryptographer in the U.S. Army, earned her BS/MS in Criminology, a four-year certificate from Children’s Institute of Literature, was a Curriculum writer and a Workshop facilitator in the mental health arena. She also was a Foster Treatment caregiver to 71 teen age girls from 1989-2003.

St. John told the story of Sophie Scholl, a young 21-year-old woman who was an anti-Nazi activist in Germany. She joined the White Rose movement of protesters. She was ultimately caught, imprisoned, and sentenced to death. Moments before she was beheaded, she said: “how can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give up individually for a righteous cause?”

Keynote speaker

Patrice Tsague shared his inspiring story. He was born of royal lineage in Cameroon. His mother owned several businesses and later became a politician. She was ultimately elected mayor of her town five times, after having served in the nation’s parliament. 

“You Americans take for granted what you have,” he said. “I have been a naturalized American. I know where I’ve come from, and I know what you’ve got. And what you’ve got is good.”

He was sent to America at 11 years old, “to become responsible, and to get an education.” His perspective is “we all have immigrant roots, no matter how far back we go.” 

“On this day, as we pray for our city, and our nation, let’s commit to protecting and preserving the guiding pillars that enable all of us to realize the American dream, however you define it,” Tsague said.

We live in a rare place on earth, “where people can pursue the desires of their heart without persecution,” he said. “A place where people can celebrate year after year without fear, where they can worship day after day without threats. That is the American dream.”

We are a nation of faith and values. He cited George Washington.

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens.”

He also quoted John Adams. “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Dixie Lee Hotaling is a military veteran and a Gold Star grandmother. She was the Honored Citizen of the prayer breakfast. Photo courtesy Dixie Lee Hotaling
Dixie Lee Hotaling is a military veteran and a Gold Star grandmother. She was the Honored Citizen of the prayer breakfast. Photo courtesy Dixie Lee Hotaling

He met his wife Gina at age 16 while living in Washington, D.C. Her family had emigrated from Haiti. 

Tsague grew up as an atheist. In Cameroon, he was raised in a tradition where they believed in the power of their ancestors. It was through a Christian businessman in the U.S. that he was introduced to God and the Christian faith. This man became a friend and mentor.

He uses entrepreneurship as a tool to empower people and share his faith. He also specializes in helping families incorporate their faith into their business practices,

Along with his wife, Gina, Patrice created the Biblical Entrepreneurship Certificate Training to help individuals build Kingdom businesses. He is a sought after speaker, trainer, and coach with over 20 years of experience. He serves as a business coach for several small and medium-sized companies and has trained over 20,000 entrepreneurs and business executives.

“My story is not a unique American story,” he said. 

He talked about descendants of singer Gene Autrey who came to Portland and ultimately owned a local media outlet. He also spoke glowingly about George Propstra, an emigrant who created Burgerville USA right here in Vancouver.

He reminded the audience that we are a nation that embraces free market economics. “Thomas Jefferson asserted the exercise of free trade as a natural right of the American colonists,” he said.

“We are a nation of optimists and risk takers,” Tsague said. He noted that no other nation on earth enjoys more optimism than America. He cited a 2014 study that found that Americans were more likely to describe their day as “particularly good” than any rich European. There is nothing like the enduring part of the American dream.

Hattrick thanked Tsague and then encouraged the attendees to move forward. “We have an opportunity, as we need to write the next chapter today, tomorrow and every single day.”

The event’s primary sponsors were US Digital, Holland Partner Group, and Jett Wealth Strategies.

Photo by John Ley.
Photo by John Ley.
Photo by John Ley.
Photo by John Ley.
Photo by John Ley.
Photo by John Ley.
Photo by John Ley.
Photo by John Ley.
Photo by John Ley.
Photo by John Ley.
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