Cedarville students experience growth and encouragement in D.C. (D.C. Go Trip Part 2)

By Noah Tang

My trip to Washington, D.C. encouraged me in various ways and was a much-needed change of pace. Our team had been preparing for this mission trip since last semester and met weekly since January, and it did not disappoint. The Lord showed me His faithfulness in D.C., in both my life and the lives of my teammates.

I learned several significant lessons from this trip. First, believers can get along as they strive for the kingdom and glory of God together. To the best of my knowledge, no one argued during our trip despite the close quarters of our Airbnb’s. I do not exaggerate when I say that each person displayed a servant attitude and kindness to everyone else. Our camaraderie was palpable throughout the trip, and by the end, we had all become good friends.

Second, I learned that God is sovereign in saving souls and answering prayer. We had the privilege of doing street evangelism on a couple occasions. At the University of Maryland, one of my teammates was able to lead one person to Christ! I was blessed to be part of that conversation. The rest of our team and the pastor we were working with were not far off, praying the entire time. Praise the Lord!

As I looked back over our trip devotional, I rediscovered a prayer from my first day in D.C. that God would allow us to share Christ with at least one person. I was amazed at how God was faithful to answer that prayer—by giving me a literal seat to watch Him save someone in real time. This was only the second time in my life that I had seen this happen! Please pray for this individual as they grow in Christ and connect with other believers.

I also learned that I need to grow in conversational evangelism; and at the same time, to depend more on the Holy Spirit. I am less intimidated by evangelism when I understand Christ is the one that saves, not me.

My third major takeaway was learning to trust God instead of our government. While God ordained that the authorities should keep order (Romans 13:1-7), He did not promise to bring about His kingdom by political means. King Jesus is the one who established the kingdom through His death and resurrection, and will consummate it when He returns. As a politically minded person, I worked to suppress the urge to talk about politics, because the purpose of our trip was to advance the gospel and not a man-made political agenda.

This mission trip helped me better understand the intersection between faith and politics. I was interested to meet various groups–some more political, others more faith-based–and to see them navigate the interplay of the two spheres. Listening to the chaplains of the House and Senate was quite informative due to the similarities and differences between their beliefs and ours.

Perhaps the best take on this issue was given by several CU alumni whom we met in an apartment. They shared how they lived out their faith while living and working in Babylon, so to speak. They also gave wise, genuine advice on pursuing the vocation that God has for one’s life.

Fourth, I understood my call to ministry somewhat better. The pastors we met with shared what ministry looked like for them in the D.C. area. They confronted issues such as the transient nature of college ministry, the spiritual barrenness of their surroundings, and the lingering effects of racism. They gave invaluable advice, along with the pastor who led the trip. In particular, the trip leader and one local pastor were able to share their wisdom with me regarding my desire to pursue academic ministry.

Of course, we were also able to do some sightseeing. We toured the National Mall twice, visiting many memorials, a few museums, the Supreme Court, and the Capitol. I had never been to many of those places, especially the Supreme Court and Capitol. I felt a sense of awe upon entering the heart of our democracy, yet also sadness for the division and lostness that plague it. Those feelings reminded me that our hope and our citizenship are in heaven (Philippians 3:20, Colossians 1:5).

The trip included an ample amount of fun. We ate from diverse sources including a food truck in the National Mall, a barbeque place, a Honduran restaurant, and a pizza establishment, among others. We rode the D.C. Metro multiple times. We observed the beautiful flora and fauna at the Mall, including mallard ducks, house sparrows, gulls, and a few cherry blossoms that had blossomed early. Some of us recreated iconic scenes from Marvel movies. We got to tour the Museum of the Bible near the end of our trip.

All in all, I praise God for this wonderful, insightful, edifying spring break.

Noah Tang is an M.Div student and a writer for Cedars. He likes drinking coffee, riding his bike, and making terrible dad jokes.

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