I'm not even sure where to begin. This trip was not like any other. It was so full of God moments...those divine appointments that we specifically prayed for. I will try and give you the shortened version of our week's events, but know that so much more happened within those days in DC. God was at work mightily, but as you can imagine, so was the enemy.
Thursday: We left the house at 3:30 AM in order to catch our flight. We were tired but pumped for what lay ahead.
After landing in DC, we drove downtown in order to meet up with a few of the FCPO guys to take a private Capitol tour.
On our walk to our meeting spot, we came across a number of individuals who clearly hate cops. Their slurs and outwards signs of disdain left a lasting impression on me just how far we have fallen as a nation. Yet...God is still on the throne and He also showed us the good side of humanity as well.
Thursday was spent becoming acclimated to all the walking and getting our bearings on the plans for the next several days. We slept good Thursday night. :)
Friday: Up bright and early to Tent City. This is the hang out during the week's events for cops, survivors and those who just want to drink, shop and let their hair down. We joined up with FCPO (Fellowship of Christian Peace Officers - USA and Canada), Centurion, Hart Rescue, Light & Shield and Warrior on the Wall Ministries, hosting our own booth where we could present free materials from each prospective ministry and talk with those who happened by. This led to many being prayed with and over, free coffee given out, encouragement and laughter offered, and just a genuine spirit of Christ's love being poured out. By the end of the week a couple of folks accepted Christ and many hearts had been changed for the good!
Rick and I also went to the memorial wall this day. We were able to talk with a number of folks - one a FTO on his last week, but still grappling with the friendly fire incident that claimed an officer from his department, and the other a chaplain struggling with the phone call he had just received of a retired deputy who committed suicide.
A lot of hurt in this area, but our teams were there to bring the hope of Jesus.
We met up with another ministry - CODE3, and were put to work handing out water to the survivors during the candlelight ceremony. Rick and I were humbled to serve and enjoyed the opportunity afforded us.
After a late night dinner at midnight...ha!, we headed to bed in order to start a new day of ministry.
Saturday: Back at Tent City, we set up and got ready for the crowd. Rick was able to pray with Lynn, an officer whose 3 year old daughter got a hold of her dad's gun (he is also an officer) and killed herself. We talked with this woman who at first was struggling with no hope for her life, but left encouraged and open to the healing of God's love. We stayed there until early afternoon, then took the Metro into the heart of the city and prayer walked in front of the White House.
There was a strange feeling there and also a heavy police presence, but we prayed and also talked with a number of folks, including a Secret Service Agent, whom I thanked for his service.
Back to the wall, we again talked with a few people and passed out more of our tracts and information, then retreated to our hotel for an earlier bed time.
Sunday morning we were invited to attend a very special breakfast at a fancy mansion called The Cedars. This place is a retreat of sorts owned by a Christian organization, to bring the love of Jesus to foreign dignitaries and others who are blessed to visit there.
After breakfast, we headed to Haymarket, VA but stopped in Manassas to view the battlefield of Bull Run. Very interesting, but the wind was biting and too cool to do much looking.
Monday: Monday was our RISE Conference at a church in Haymarket. There myself along with several others, spoke to officers and some spouses about the importance of standing strong and fighting for what we believe in, but mainly pointing them to Christ.
As always, we met some great folks and talked with several struggling in their marriages.
After the conference, we were blessed to head to Arlington with CODE3, and relax with a good dinner and ice cream to follow.
Finally the day and the week's events had come to a close. Though it is always hard to say goodbye to our friends and to such a great week of blessing, we know that the work will continue and that the seeds which have been sewn will be watered by the Lord until a harvest can be gathered.
Thank you for the many prayers and words of encouragement, and also for the financial gifts that came our direction. Without folks behind us, we could not continue to do what we do.
Please say special prayers for: Lynn, Jim, Randy, and Steve. Each of these folks are struggling in one way or another and need the hand of God to touch their life.
Until next year...
Rick and Kristi