Stories

London 2017: Witnessing God at work

Date posted: 17/08/17

world athletics championships 2017 

There were so many memorable moments at this summer’s World Para Athletics and World Athletics Championships in London. But did you know there were also a team of chaplains at each event, seeking to encourage Christian athletes and serving all those involved in the championships? Staff members Debbie Flood and Linvoy Primus were part of these chaplaincy teams at London 2017 and here share some of their highlights.

 

World Athletics Championships - Linvoy Primus (below left)

 

world athletics championships 2017This was my first time as a chaplain, so I didn’t know what to expect, but it was amazing to see God at work. The day before the champs started, there was a Bible study with 10 athletes, looking at Philippians 1. It was great to see them getting stuck into God’s word for 90 minutes and the week just got better and better from there.

With a few other chaplains, we set up a base in the lobby of the hotel where athletes from countries like GB, Jamaica, Australia and South Africa were staying. It just felt right to be there. I only went to the stadium on Thursday and Saturday because there was so much going on at the hotel! A lot of coaches stopped to chat as I think they had a bit of down time by this point.

On the Saturday, I met an American Christian who was coaching some South American marathon runners. We chatted about some of his struggles and how he looks to bring godly principles into his work. I was able to share with him and encourage him. It was a safe place for him to do that.

Day to day, it was great to simply be able to wish athletes all the best for their competitions. There was so much pressure and expectation on them to achieve something for their nations, but we could speak to them without any of that.

world athletics championships 2017

 

A big highlight was when two Aussie athletes said they wanted to hold prayer and Bible study meetings each morning. The next day, 25 athletes turned up. It was brilliant to see. The room was booked for an hour, but because everyone got into it so much, they continued praying and reading God’s word out in the lobby and more people joined them! After that, they had two-hour slots each day.

The theme of the Bible studies was character and it was great to see God at work. One of the athletes said ‘I thought I was going to leave here financially rich, but now I’m going to leave spiritually rich’.

It was great to see how these athletes were keen to meet, but also lead and contribute. After this, they plan to get together at future international meets. There were a lot of younger athletes involved, so this is something that could last for 10 years!

 

World Para Athletics Championships - Debbie Flood (below left)

 

world athletics championships 2017

 

It was a great 10 days touching base with contacts, and getting to know of some other Christians within the GB team. Meeting Wales disability chaplain Heather Lewis and seeing what she does was insightful and she introduced me to many people in the team.

Most of the time was spent in various hotels with various countries, chatting with athletes, volunteers, team staff and bus drivers. Much of this was explaining chaplaincy and explaining the need and what we do to serve and support as well as offering any help needed. This led to many faith conversations as the individuals shared what they thought or where they were with their faith, many of them clearly God encounters and His perfect timing!

Getting to know one of our contacts and chatting throughout the week with her was a big highlight. She has strong faith and was happy to be praying in the lobby together. She said it was encouraging for her having us there clearly as a chaplaincy team, as it gave a presence of faith and integration of it by us being there and everyone stopping to chat naturally with us.

world athletics championships 2017

 

Seeing many athletes praying on the track was also an encouragement for continuing warmth and open doors into the world of disability sport for the gospel.

Our service on the final Sunday with some of the Kenyan and French team was also amazing and it was wonderful to hear some of their testimonies and the work they do in sharing the gospel back home in tough environments.

 

Find out more


Training and playing commitments mean it is often difficult for professional and elite sportspeople to be regular members of a local church. The Performance Team support and mentor many of these athletes to help them live for Christ in a place the local church can find hard to reach. For more information, visit christiansinsport.org.uk/performance

 

 

 


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