June 27, 2019 : By Lillian Abbatacola - Office of Communications & Public Engagement
President Donald Trump publicly recognized a group of Liberty University students during the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority annual conference in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, just days after the group returned from Tulsa, Okla., where they helped residents recover from extreme flooding.
“Today we are excited to be joined by hundreds of college students, including eight students from Liberty University, a great school, who just got back from a mission trip to Oklahoma,” Trump said.
He asked the students, part of the LU Send NOW disaster relief initiative, to stand, and conferencegoers applauded them.
“(Liberty) is a great school, and (LU President) Jerry Falwell is a friend of mine. He was with me right from the beginning,” Trump added.
He then read a quote from LU Send NOW team member Phoebe Swavely: “Being a part of LU SEND Now blessed me with the incredible opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a practical and necessary way. By serving others during moments of their greatest need I’ve been able to reflect the restoration and healing that is found in the Lord. Every day on a trip is a chance to love others the way Christ loves us: sacrificially, selflessly, and unconditionally.”
In May, Tulsa suffered the worst flooding since 1986. Storms flooded the Arkansas River and stressed the levee system in Tulsa. The area suffered at the hands of 85 tornadoes and 47 flash flood warnings. The river doubled in size.
LU Send NOW partnered with Samaritan’s Purse to get Tulsa homes “contractor ready” and aided in the removal of debris, nails, carpeting, damaged flooring, and drywall.
Students connected with local homeowners and helped reclaim valuable personal possessions.
“This trip allowed me to share my faith in a practical and real way. Serving people in their hour of utmost need is a small reflection of what Christ did for us in our hour of need,” said Catherine Morales. “The physical work we did was nothing compared with the blessing of being a part of showing God’s love to others.”
Team members had the opportunity to minister to locals. Through conversations with residents, students led two Tulsa homeowners to Christ.
Student Taylor Swartz said the trip showed her how service and humanitarian efforts can be used to glorify God.
“LU Send NOW has been such a blessing in showing me the value of not just meeting someone’s physical needs, but their emotional and spiritual needs as well. Seeing the hope and perseverance of the homeowners during their suffering really pushed us to see how much we need Christ as our solid foundation.”
Team member Johnathan Newsome said the trip was a true lesson in servanthood.
“This trip helped me to serve the Lord with gladness at all times and never simply out of obligation,” he said. “The fact that Jesus suffered the ultimate discomfort for me has helped me to push through any kind of momentary discomfort for the sake of serving others, just as I have been served by the Savior.”
Trump also recognized Liberty MBA graduate Natalie Harp (’15), who addressed the crowd about using Trump’s 2018 Right to Try Act to fight stage 2 bone cancer. After a medical error and failed chemotherapy sessions, Harp’s doctors started coaching her on how to die with dignity, including tactics on how to stop eating and encouraging her to take medical marijuana. Harp decided she did not want to go that route and found the Right to Try Act, which allows her to use non-FDA approved drugs to battle cancer. She has been experiencing great results and credits her life today to Trump’s legislation.