Sunday, January 5, 2020

A Ride on the Trump Train

Recently I got to see the President of the United States in person for the first time. My friend John and I attended the Evangelicals for Trump rally at King Jesus church in Miami, Florida. A few days before I kept perceiving the Lord wanted me to go to Miami but didn’t know why. Then shortly after Christmas, John called me from his home in the Washington, DC area. He asked about staying with me at the missionary house I’ve been living in Tampa. I had goosebumps when John mentioned going to Miami after that. Soon I learned Donald Trump was having a rally there on January 3rd.

Originally I thought of riding with John without going to the rally. I had it on my heart to evangelize on the streets of Miami. John attended previous Trump rallies where people stood in line for hours with no guarantee they would get inside. But on our way through Southern Florida, I felt more of a stirring to be at the rally. During pit stops at McDonald’s I got to lead three people to the Lord (and later had a fourth at 7/11 on the way home).

We arrived at the church around 10:45 a.m. To our surprise, the line wasn’t as long as John and I expected. Worship music playing on an outside sound system helped maintain a godly atmosphere and probably kept extra protesters away. There was one man I encountered holding signs listing the Ten Commandments and his claim that Trump is not a Christian. I felt led to tell him, “He who is without sin cast the first stone.”

John and I fellowshipped with people in line around us. One of them named Jose was a member of the church. He told us they would start letting people in at 2:00 p.m. The line began moving earlier than that. Of course, getting inside took awhile since Secret Service agents had us empty our pockets and walk through metal detectors. John and I eventually got seats in the twelfth row. I thought this was symbolic since the number 12 in Scripture refers to government (like the twelve tribes of Israel).

Around 3:30 a worship band played three songs. The first of which was appropriately titled “Freedom.” Then the same recorded music heard outside played again for several minutes. Meanwhile, many well-known Christian leaders and musicians showed up and took seats in front of us. Among those we recognized were Robert Jeffress, John Hagee, Rod Parsley, Rodney Howard-Browne, Michael Tait, Jonathan Cain and Stephen Strang from Charisma magazine.

Sometime after 4:00, Pastor Guillermo Maldonado opened the ceremony with an anointed prayer. Tony Perkins from the Family Research Council followed with a few remarks. Then Paula White-Cain emerged to introduce the president. The announced start time was 5:00 but Donald Trump appeared 15 minutes early. Paula invited seven other people onstage to join her in surrounding Trump as they prayed for him. Jentezen Franklin led the prayer followed by Maldonado.

During a speech that lasted over an hour, the President addressed various political issues but talked at length about his support for Israel and maintaining religious freedom. Before closing, Trump invited two pairs of women to speak from the podium. The first two were students at Fresno State University where they encountered persecution for promoting pro-life ideas. Among the other two was an African-American woman that nearly stole the show. Angel talked about the president assisting her in helping those devastated by a hurricane that struck the Florida panhandle. This woman also chastised the media’s skewed reporting of the president while they were filming several feet away.

Aside from perhaps Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” (which has become an anthem for patriotic Americans), the only secular song heard throughout this event was The Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” This continues to be Trump’s play-out tune. Robert Jeffress ended the rally with a closing prayer.

Despite the recent impeachment by the House of Representatives (which likely won’t get past the Republican-controlled Senate), it was encouraging to see Christians of different races and denominations unified to support a president who cares for the welfare of this country. Critics may think Trump’s supporters have blind allegiance to him. On the contrary. A few people wore T-shirts that simply stated our beliefs as American Christians: “Jesus is my Savior. Trump is my President.”

“Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.” - 1 Peter 2:17

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