During the junior and senior class trip to the East Coast, our students did everything from sitting at President Lincoln’s magnificent marble feet in Washington D.C. to eating uber-sweet cannoli next to the Old North Church where Paul Revere began his warning to the American militia of the British march on Lexington and Concord. It’s all too much to record at once, but here are three historical, spiritual and personal highlights from the trip.
Perhaps one of the most inspiring locales of the trip was one typically overlooked by tourists in particular and Americans in general. The Forefathers’ Monument in Plymouth, Massachusetts is a towering sculpture that stands taller than the Statue of Liberty in a small clearing on a hill overlooking the bay. Four figures form the base: Morality, Education, Law, and Freedom. They are a testimony to the founding ideas brought by the Pilgrims to the New World in the 17th century, ideas that would one day forge a nation. Resting upon these four figures is Faith, pointing toward heaven, declaring that trust in God and His sovereignty is what compelled this small group people to take that dangerous journey that changed the world. Few people have even seen or heard of the Forefathers’ Monument, but few monuments better explain the principles upon which our country and our freedom are built.
Experiencing God’s Word
A spiritual highlight was the prayer service we attended in Endfield, Connecticut, the birthplace of the Great Awakening. It was the Great Awakening in the 1740s that in turn helped spark the American War for Independence in 1776. At this prayer service, prophetic Words were given to several of our students by a visiting evangelist and youth group, Words that proved divinely appointed.
One student had recently quit her youth choir and was struggling with whether or not to rejoin. Without any prior conversation, she was told by one youth worker that God wanted to use her voice for His glory. Another student had been struggling with a conflict between her adopted mom and her birth father and feelings of hatred toward her father. Her Word, again without any introductory conversation, was that she needed to forgive those in her family who had hurt her. She left the service declaring that although her father’s neglect had been painful, she was also thankful that God had used it to bring to her a place where she could know Christ. Yet another testimony was from a student who received a prophetic Word about persevering in his walk with God and then five minutes after the service received a phone call from a friend back in California asking if he’d gotten a Word.
Overall, six students and a chaperone received prophetic Words at this service and in each case, the Words were miraculously confirmed by the recipient’s present and specific circumstances.
Hospitality Like No Other
Of final note was the incredible hospitality that we enjoyed at the home of Adrian and Sylvia Rodriguez in Avon, Connecticut. Adrian and Sylvia consider themselves at-large members of the Lighthouse Church who moved to Connecticut six years ago. Like they did two years ago during our last East Coast trip, they opened their lovely home to our group – all 22 of us. Boys slept in the basement, girls stayed in the living room, and each shared or lent whatever sleeping bag, pillow, couch cushion or towel they could find. We had two bathrooms and one shower for the entire group. I’d be lying if I said the toilet only overflowed once.
And so … everyone had a great time! The food was delicious, the environment comforting and inviting, and the fellowship among students and adults alike to be treasured. There were football games, thoughtful car rides, and powerful devotionals. Something unique and inspiring happens when so many people come together to share a home and a journey. They learn to be patient, to get to know and accept new people, and to consider others before themselves.
We went to the East Coast for the history but most will remember the people, specifically Adrian and Sylvia. The LCA seeks above all else to provide our students with a tangible experience of God’s presence and love. Even 3,000 miles away from home, with only two toilets and a shower among us, we were able to feel that love, thanks to the hospitality, service, and friendship given so freely by the Rodriguezes.