Jerry and Kelly Stewart never thought that they would attend a presidential inauguration, but when they saw the election results, they immediately realized that they had to be in Washington, D.C., to pray for national leaders and find ways to help heal the country.
Jerry Stewart produces several syndicated radio programs through his company, Vision Productions, that are broadcast on news/talk and Christian radio stations throughout the country. The shows, One Moment in America, You Are There and special holiday features, are broadcast on the Salem Radio Network.
Stewart also formed a nonprofit called Saving The Nation that produces lessons for children, with a curriculum of stories and lessons about events in U.S. history and on ways to build self-esteem and respect.
The Stewarts also participate in the Trojan Talk mentoring program at Trinity High School where they discuss character-building and self-esteem with students.
Although they voted for Donald Trump, the Stewarts said they were shocked when they learned that he won.
“More than any other president, Mr. Trump needed someone to pray for him, he’s got such a wave against him,” Jerry Stewart said.
“We had been praying, not for a Republican or a Democrat, but we are really concerned for our nation, our children and our grandchildren.”
Stewart said he believes that the country has strayed from the path laid by the Founding Fathers and from values like children being taught to respect themselves and others and to learn about the nation’s history.
In Washington, D.C., their aim is to “be out in the crowds” and listen to what people are saying.
“We don’t have an agenda. We hear there are some angry people out there who aren’t coming to celebrate this historic event. We think it’s important to hear what people are unhappy about,” he said.
Stewart said he wants to use what he learns from talking to people attending the inauguration to present information on his radio shows to help the country move forward.
“When you sit down with people one on one, we are so much the same,” Stewart said.
“Many have lost the sense that we are a free nation and that we have some say whether it’s good or bad. The election of Donald Trump — we don’t know if it’s going to be good or bad. People are tired of the same old thing,” he said.
Kelly Stewart said she wants to talk to women who are participating in the Women’s March
“My main objective is to listen and not put my ideas upon those women. I hope that I can be a light to a dark world and be an encouragement to those women in Washington, D.C., who have negative thoughts about themselves for whatever reason and to help them to know they are respected,” she said.
‘By the seat of our pants’
Besides attending the inauguration, the Stewarts are organizing “prayer warriors” to pray for the 537 elected officials including U.S. representatives and senators as well as President-elect Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence.
“We need to be praying for our new national leaders and to quit thinking about the Republicans and Democrats. We need to see if we can find a way to give our nation a fresh start in 2017. There is a lot of anger out there,” Jerry Stewart said.
The Stewarts also plan to stream content from their interviews at the inauguration and said they are quickly learning how to use social media and plan to have live video feeds on Facebook.
“We are doing this by the seat of our pants,” Jerry Stewart said.
Stewart said his beliefs were strengthened when doctors told him that he had two years to live after he was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2009. He came back to Texas to die, and began doing things on his bucket list. He took a Caribbean cruise where he met his wife, Kelly. Two years later, he saw his doctors in Oregon who were shocked that he was still alive.
Stewart said he had an experimental operation where 26 malignant tumors were removed from his liver.
“When we talk to people about hopeless situations, we find that they may not be as hopeless as they imagine,” he said. “We want to share the idea that there is hope and that people shouldn’t be so quick to give up.”