Rio chaplain's diary - part one

Date posted: 02/08/16

Rio chaplain's diary

Jules Wilkinson, a member of Christians in Sport’s Performance Team, is at Rio 2016 as one of three international Protestant chaplains. She will be writing a weekly diary for us while she is there. In this first entry, Jules talks about what she will be doing at the Olympics and how we can pray for her.

It’s a real privilege to be in Rio as a chaplain for the Olympics. It’s hugely exciting to be in the Olympic city, but I won’t be watching any sport! Like most others, I will be searching for it on the TV, but without the benefit of having the BBC.
I feel a great responsibility too. Just as I’m often encouraging the athletes to cling to God’s word, a verse I’m clinging to is Joshua 1 v 9. This says: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (NIV)
Seeing the Olympics from the inside
For another perspective on Rio 2016, read our insider's view with Adam Pengilly.
I will be staying in a hotel about a mile away from the athletes’ village. In the village, there will be a multi-faith centre with a Christian room, which will be shared between the Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox chaplains. On a rota basis, my duties will include responding to people who drop in and leading a short service or Bible study in morning or evening to which both volunteers and athletes could come.
At past Olympics, athletes have often wanted to be prayed for or simply have a quiet place to pray. Occasionally, the village mayor may need help with VIP visits or welcoming groups from outside. There will be certain parts of the village I can’t go to.
Rio chaplain's diary
I was interviewed by Clare Balding on BBC Radio 2 before heading out to Rio. You can listen again here. I am on after about 38 minutes.
Having been to the World Athletics Championships in Beijing last year, God has since opened so many doors for the work of Christians in Sport. I have got lots of contacts with athletes from around the world. I will be getting in touch with them before the games and when I’m there. The day before they are competing I will send them a handwritten note with a Bible verse on and they will know that I’m there if they want to meet up.
Some people who are competing early on I have planned to meet up with after their events. For example, I will be going through the whole of Simply Christianity, a course to help people understand the gospel, with one girl.
Mostly, my role will just be an extension of what I do day to day, which is meeting up with athletes and encouraging them to keep lifting their eyes to Jesus - something we all need to do.
The Olympics is the pinnacle of their sport and therefore it will be the most pressure they will experience in their careers. It’s very important to say that I’m not a psychologist. I’m not adding anything to their sport and not trying to. I’m simply there to represent Jesus and open God’s Word with people.
Please pray that I would be bold and brave for Him. There is a part of me that is thinking what am I doing here? I don’t belong in this village. Pray that I would be a real help to Christians and those who are seeking God. Pray too that the Lord will bring seekers across my path. 
Rio chaplain's diary
This photo shows some of the scale of the Olympic Village. There are 29 of these accommodation blocks