Bringing Hope to Capitol Hill by Garrett Smith

Spending a week with a Christian outreach organization in our world’s power hub.

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Last week, I was invited to attend a congressional outreach session by H.O.P.E. to the Hill. A Christian organization, their acronym, H.O.P.E., stands for “Helping Others Prepare for Eternity.” Headed by Dave Kistler and directed by Nathan Kistler, this organization specializes in spreading the message of Christ to all members of Congress, and they frequently reach out to members on both sides of the aisle.

This was my second time attending H.O.P.E.’s capitol hill ministry (I previously attended in September 2018). Starting on January 8, we began meeting with various members on both sides. Early that afternoon, we experienced a chance meeting (which I sure think beyond the shadow of a doubt was God-ordained) with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of the newly-elected Democratic members to the House of Representatives from New York, who has caused quite a stir among both sides of the aisle. No politics were discussed; she and her staff were very warm and friendly. She welcomed prayer, and we prayed with her and her staff. Following this, I was blessed enough to share a short conversation with her, during which I reminded her that she made history as the youngest-elected female to U.S. Congress. I wish for everyone to remember that, although we may disagree on policy, it is very important that we treat each other with respect, as only then can we even hope to win others to Christ, as well as connect with those who disagree with us.

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The following day consisted of meetings with several members of Congress. Before lunch, Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) held an open house, during which I had the honor and pleasure of meeting him and briefly discussing his book, “Unified,” which he co-authored with former South Carolina Representative Trey Gowdy. Senator Scott is a conservative, a member of the Tea Party, and a strong Christian.

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Later that day, we held a meeting with Representative Cathy Rogers (R-WA). A wonderful Christian lady, Mrs. Rogers spent approximately half an hour with us, and we prayed with her before departing. One of my tendencies upon entering an office is to try and find an object with which I can use to connect with a representative, senator, or one of their staff. Upon entering her office, I noticed Mrs. Rogers to have a bronze bust of one of my favorite presidents – Theodore Roosevelt. Just before leaving, I asked if we could take a picture with the bust, to which she gladly accepted. Earlier that day, as well as the day before, I had reminded several congressional staffers of Roosevelt’s famous quote: “It is not the critic who counts…the credit belongs to the one in the arena.” I even shared this quote with Mrs. Cortez, and I clarified that the quote does not mean we shouldn’t take some criticism seriously, but it does mean that we shouldn’t take everything to heart.

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The following day consisted of meetings with roughly 10 congressional representatives and senators. To me, this is proof that God is not done with Washington, and that he still has great things in store for the United States, if only we continue to seek His guidance and put Him at the front of everything. Psalm 33:12 states, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” For two years in a row, I have had the pleasure of hearing Vice President Pence state at CPAC the important piece of scripture from 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Lunch on the following day consisted of a trip to BLT Prime at Trump International Hotel. What a great way to wrap up a blessed trip of ministering to our nation’s people of authority! I am very blessed to call Dave and Nathan Kistler, as well as George Roller (another H.O.P.E. staffer) my friends, and most importantly, brothers in Christ. It was a blessing and honor to work with them last week, and I pray I can work with them much more in the future to help secure our nation in the image of how it would be pleasing to God.

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1: Nathan Kistler (center) and Dave Kistler (right)


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