GILLETTE — Hundreds of Campbell County residents and visitors made a pilgrimage to the Wyoming Center at Cam-plex on Monday to listen to radio and television evangelists Joel Osteen and Victoria Osteen and their son, Jonathan.
It was billed as their latest “Night of Hope,” an evening of praise and worship.
Joel Osteen also is the pastor at the Lakewood Church in Houston and was in Gillette at the urging of local resident Carolyn Waldrop after the coal mines were locked out.
“It’s a wonderful thing,” said Gillette’s Myrna Christensen about the visit. “I cleared my calendar to make plans for this day.”
Patsy Allen, another local resident, watches their services on television and was excited to see Joel speak in person.
“He uses the Word of God in his messages and goes from there,” she said. “He makes it plain so everyone can understand.”
Kristy Lott listens to the Osteens on Sirius channel 128 and watches him on television. On Monday, she drove 4.5 hours from Big Timber, Montana, to see him in person.
“It’s a long family thing, but we’ve listened to him for almost seven years straight now,” she said. “My favorite thing is how inspirational he is. We have a history of depression and so he keeps us ... looking forward and keeps our hope up.”
Eric Scammon came from Billings, Montana, to attend the “Night of Hope.”
“I just like his encouragement and his message that he shares,” he said. “He has a very good hope message and he spreads a lot of hope in how he portrays the Bible and how he tells the stories of the things that are in it.”
The Osteens encouraged everyone in the audience not to linger in the past.
“It’s all about perspective,” Joel Osteen said. “How we start the day will determine how the day will be. Start your day with a grateful attitude. Let every day be a new beginning.”
If people are dragging things on that happened years ago into today such as frustrations over the closure of a coal mine, “You know what? This is in the past. Today is a new day, let that go,” he said.
“God will give you beauty for the ashes, but here is the key — you have to let go of the ashes before you receive the beauty,” Joel Osteen said. “Let’s be believers, not doubters, in Gillette, Wyoming. When we believe, all things are possible.”
It starts with oneself, Victoria Osteen said.
“If you are going through some difficult times, if you feel like you’re all alone, God is saying, ‘I have never left you, I will never forsake you, I will use every difficult thing that you’ve ever been through to grow you,’” she said.
Go outside the pain, go to someone to smile at or hold a door for at a grocery store, she said.
Jonathan Osteen talked about the role passwords play in today’s society in accessing key personal information. With God, there is one universal password — gratitude.
Focusing on what is going wrong is the incorrect password “and won’t get us anywhere,” he said.
“Instead, take that time to thank God for what’s right, thank God for what we do have,” Joel Osteen said. “With a simple ‘thank you,’ you are unlocking the greatest force in the universe.”
Joel and Victoria spoke to a small group of residents at Assembly of God Church prior to their service at Cam-plex. Their talk with residents on SiriusXM radio will air at 3 p.m. Friday.
The Osteens came to Gillette thanks to the effort of Waldrop, who submitted an entry to the network after it reached out to listeners seeking stories about communities in need of hope and inspiration.
“We just came today to celebrate what you guys do,” Jonathan Osteen said at the church. “We live in a big city, we like to have community, but I think ya’ll do it better than us.”
“You know what I love?” asked his wife. “I love that it only takes one, you know, to start this spark, and thank you Carolyn for starting that in this community at a time when it was needed.’
The spark is “contagious, faith is contagious, and when you see people doing things like this is makes you want to be a part of it,” Victoria said.
Toward the end of the radio show, Joel asked Waldrop to give listeners some advice.
“Hope,” she said. “Without hope, what do we have?”