“You can’t have faith if you don’t have hope,” Joel Osteen says “A lot of people are down, discouraged and they don’t have a vision for the their future. So we try to lift people’s spirits and let them know what’s ahead of them is better than what’s behind them. And when you really believe that down on the inside that’s what allows God to bring it to pass.” Joel and Victoria tagged team the city – as she traveled to local schools in the area reading to children and he blessed America’s legislative body praying for both the Senate and the House of Representatives. A powerful pair and very much in love, Joel tells the story about how they met, “I was with my friend Johnny at the time and we stopped by her parent’s jewelry store to get a battery for my watch. I thought she was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. A couple weeks later I invited her to a Rockets game!” The location of their first date is now the location of their ministry, Lakewood Church, where they bless people from all over the world. Joel and his longtime friend Johnny McGowan laugh as they recount when Johnny encouraged him to finally ask Victoria on a date. McGowan travels with Joel and the two have a great friendship, “He’s the same Joel wherever he goes,” he says. “People ask me all the time what’s Joel like…
and I say exactly what you see on t.v.” Joel affectionately known as the “smiling pastor” takes on a different, more serious, role as he sits in the control room framing shots and reviewing creative aspects in preparation for the event. One can easily see why Joel said “If I wasn’t doing what I’m doing, I would be working in television production. I love production and when my dad was alive that was my role at the church.”The main stage is lit, production crew and technical staff are running around getting everything in place for America’s Night of Hope. The Washington Nationals stadium is completely transformed and ready for Joel and Victoria to hit the big stage. The Osteens brought their son Jonathan and daughter Alexandra along. The siblings are both very active in serving on the worship ministry at the church and are on program regularly for the A Night of Hope tour. As Jonathan tune’s up his guitar for the big night Joel nudges him to play something for the cameras,
but Jonathan chooses to leave us in suspense. One special component of this trip to Washington DC was the Generation Hope Project. Youth came together to participate in several outreach projects in the DC inner city and when asked why they were here one participant said, “we’re just trying to show the Gospel in a different way, out here with community service” and another chimed in “we’re just excited to see what God is going to do with this place!”
This group of extraordinary young people represented youth from Lakewood Church and youth ministries in the DC/Northern Virginia area. Because of them parks were transformed, schools were enhanced and the hearts of all who witnessed the work were change. “It’s meant the world to us,” said Capitol Crisis Pregnancy Center Executive Director Janet Durit, “to have Lakewood Church, the largest church in the country, to send a team of people here to volunteer as Jesus’ servants to do anything they were asked to do. It was really pretty amazing!” The Osteens also donated strollers and necessities to help Durit and her team continue to serve the community.
It’s finally the big night!