The 28th Annual Family Banquet held in Arcadia on Saturday, March 16th proved to be highly successful. Despite many conflicting activities around the area, upwards of two hundred people of all ages gathered at the Arcadia School Gym to hear inspirational talks by keynote speaker Tanner Fruit and UNK distance track competitor, Jordan Bloesser as well as a beautiful musical presentation by Marshall and Anna Keough, former Arcadia students.
Next on the program was Jordan Bloesser. Jordan, a native of Colorado Springs, CO, gave her testimony about how she came to realize that, despite her success in long distance running, something was missing in her life. Once she entered into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, she began to find fulfillment and says she now runs for Him rather than for personal recognition and honor. Jordan is currently a sophomore at UNK.
Keynote speaker, Tanner Fruit, is a native of Ogallala, NE. He has completed his undergraduate work at UNK and will finish post-graduate studies this spring. He has been a long distance runner throughout high school and college and has won many national honors, both on the track and academically. Tanner began his talk by sharing that he was blessed throughout his life to have a loving, supportive family who has always stood by and encouraged each other. Although he accepted Jesus as his savior at age six, he did not cultivate a personal relationship until he was in high school and that relationship has been deepening ever since. He quoted scripture from Hebrews 12: 1-3 and said that sports parallel faith in that both are a challenge and require a great amount of endurance. Fruit said that, with the success he was achieving during his first couple of years of college, he became somewhat proud and was running for personal honor and had allowed running to become his god. He was humbled when, while preparing to compete in the Nationals, he accidently stepped on a baseball and injured his foot. Faced with the fear of seeing his dreams go down the drain, he visited with Coach Bonsall at UNK who stirred his soul when he asked Tanner, “Is God still sovereign in your life?” As Tanner pondered the answer to this question, a miracle happened and, despite all odds and much pain, he was able to compete in the Regionals and advance to the Nationals where he proclaimed, “This race is for you, God.” Tanner has found much success since that time.
Fruit says there are several lessons which he would encourage others to look for in times of adversity: (1) No matter how tough it seems, God is still sovereign; (2) You can find joy in trials and tribulations; (3) When you think you have taken your last step, stop and renew your strength; and (4) Above all, as the disciple Peter found out in Matthew 14:22-33, keep your eye on The Master at all times for, if you do not, you will sink. Tanner’s final advice for all present was to have big faith by praying big prayers. Praying big prayers leads to big things and we should expect God to call us to big things. When He does, we need to be prepared to walk with Him to achieve big things.
Several door prizes were awarded and the Benediction was delivered by another senior from Arcadia Public School, Brittany Bose.