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story.lead_photo.caption Prayer breakfast attendees stand for the Pledge of Allegiance to kick off the annual Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce Prayer Breakfast Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019, at Missouri Farm Bureau headquarters. Photo by Julie Smith / News Tribune.

In the wake of the May 22 tornado and prolonged flooding this spring and summer, those attending the 40th annual prayer breakfast Wednesday in Jefferson City were reminded of the power of a grateful heart.

Gallery: GALLERY: 40th Annual Prayer Breakfast

The breakfast is hosted by the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce and held at the Missouri Farm Bureau on Missouri Boulevard. It's considered a tradition that has marked the beginning of the holiday season since 1979 in the Capital City.

This year's keynote speaker was Pastor Andre Grinston of the House of Refuge church. The church was destroyed by the tornado. But by mid-year 2020, Grinston said the church should be rebuilt on the 7-acre property it had sat on in the 5500 block of Heritage Highway.

"Our church building was destroyed, but our church was not destroyed," Grinston said. "Our faith is strong, and we believe what happened God has allowed, and we are moving forward."

Grinston said 2019 was a year of defining moments for many in this community.

"A defining moment is something that challenges the best in you," Grinston said. "If you are not careful, the defining moment will cause you to lose your faith."

Grinston told the crowd there is always something greater than what we are going through at the moment.

"We have had some challenging times this year," Grinston said. "However, those challenging times proved that we are not defined by our circumstances. It proved that there is strength in unity."

During these trying times, Grinston said, he learned he needed to become better, not bitter, about circumstances.

"We can become the worst version of ourselves if we become bitter," Grinston said. "We must become better through our challenges and experiences. Life happens, but our response will determine the outcome."

Grinston also reminded the crowd to always look for opportunities to help one another.

"There have been so many examples of that in Jefferson City," Grinston said. "Taking the focus off of yourself and assist in something greater than yourself. This is what happened this year in Jefferson City. We have helped people from all walks of faith, race and political affiliations. We have helped our brothers and sisters in need, and that's who we are in Jefferson City."

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