Russia (MNN) — Opening ceremonies for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia are just a couple of days away. Athletes and spectators from all over the world are converging on the Games. So are Christians from Russia and other parts of the world.
The goal of most Christians is to do something more than win a gold medal. Greg Mangione with SOAR International Ministries says their team of about 40 people will be joining local churches in Sochi. The team will be “helping them man three different fun zones, or hospitality centers, that the churches will be hosting for the community at large there.”
The team will assist the local church in introducing the community to Christ and who they are in Him. They’ll do that through “Gospel magic shows, somebody making balloon animals and face paintings, and just a variety of activities and entertainment. The primary goal is to reach out to the people. We pray it’ll be a beginning of a long-term relationship with the local churches.”
Are there restrictions? “Yes,” says Mangione. “No street preaching. No proselytizing out in the parks and all that. We want to try to create a relationship. We looking for people to ask, ‘Why are you here?’ Hopefully that opens the door to share a personal testimony and to share, ‘I’m here because I love Christ.'”
Security issues have been on everyone’s minds at the Olympics. Mangione says, “Of course we’ll be taking appropriate precautions: staying in groups and not wandering too far from the main stream. I was there in Sochi in January and was pretty impressed with the level of security at that time.”
Mangione is asking you to pray that God will protect the team physically from sickness and other attacks. Pray also that God will begin working in the hearts of people who will be attending the hospitality centers.
MNN’s Greg Yoder will be joining the team February 12. Look for special reports at that time.