Warming Hearts at the Winter Olympics
As millions of people across the world watched stories of teamwork and achievement unfold during the winter Olympics worldwide, YWAM teams were creating their own stories of success and partnership.
YWAM teams worked with one another, with other Christian organizations and with social concern groups to bring their vision for radical hospitality to the city.
Under the umbrella of More Than Gold, an organisation dedicated to bringing Christians together for effective ministry during the Olympic games, more than 200 YWAM members provided prayer, hot chocolate, performances and thought-provoking messages.
Jacqui Bishop, Project 2010 coordinator, pointed to prayer as the underlying foundation for everything the teams did during the games.
“Our city has absolutely been revolutionized by the honest prayers of the common man,” Bishop said. “It has permeated every other ministry we have done.”
As well as all the behind-the-scenes prayer being done before and during the winter Olympics, teams stood on the street corner offering free prayer. They became such a well-known symbol in their red vests that Bishop said one team from a local church had people approaching them, asking for prayer, before the team even reached their location.
At one point, a woman who only spoke Romanian approached the group to ask for directions. The team gathered she had just been to the hospital and was really upset, but they didn’t know what to do besides pray. They continued walking with her until they came across another YWAMer who also spoke Romanian, who was able to interpret so they could communicate more with her.
Together with the organizers and allies of the “Buying Sex is not a Sport” campaign, YWAMers stood silently in opposition to the demand for paid sex. They brought attention to the issue by standing in strategic locations outside strip bars, brothels and even outside the entrance to the hockey games, wearing shirts and holding signs reading "Buying Sex is Not a Sport." The groups had two appointed speakers, to explain what they were doing if anyone asked.
And these few weeks were only a small expression of the years of work YWAM put into preparing for the winter Olympic games. YWAM Vancouver began preparing for the games more than five years before they arrived in the city. Even now, they are not done. The team is gearing up to do many of the same things during the Paralympic games, beginning March 12.
With so many people impacted by the event, many in ways no one will know, it is impossible to find a way to measure success. And yet Bishop said she sees success woven everywhere in their efforts.
“[God] has seen our heart motivation to seek His Glory and He has given us all a greater heart for people and for Vancouver. That is success,” she said.
So as countries count their gold and athletes treasure their successes or remember their shortcomings, YWAM Vancouver looks back on the weeks as ones in which they displayed their own courage and looks forward to more opportunities during the Paralympic games from March 10 to 21.
If you are interested in joining the team for the Paralympics during March, email email@example.com and if you would like to partner with the team in prayer, visit www.ywamvancouver.com/signup.