Village life... but not as I knew it

Date posted: 30/12/16

Rio chaplain's diary


Performance Team member Jules Wilkinson was one of three international Protestant chaplains at the Rio 2016 Olympics. Here Jules reflects on her role.

I didn’t really know what to expect before going to the Games, but it was a real privilege to serve God out there and to meet lots of the athletes and staff who made Rio 2016 happen.

A lot of what I did was similar to my ongoing work with Christians in Sport - supporting elite athletes in their walk with Jesus. Instead of me travelling around the UK and overseas, it was all happening in one place – the Olympic Village. It was great to see God’s word at work.

A highlight was seeing athletes, who had learned lessons from the Bible in the good times, remembering them in tough times.

At the start of the Olympics, athletes arrived early to prepare for their events. We had dates and times in the diary to meet up. Later on, I just had to be available as and when needed to fit in with the athletes’ schedules.

JulesChaplainThe whole Games was a great reminder of God’s sovereignty. For example, while I waited to meet people, He gave me opportunities to chat with others I could never have planned. It was a great chance to rely on God. Particularly on my busier days, I often had no alternative!

I never thought I would need media training to prepare for Rio, but having been interviewed on the radio a fair few times, I gradually got more used to it.

However, sharing God’s word with athletes remained my focus. One Bible passage we looked at was Philippians 4 v 4-7. We considered how the fact that the Lord is near helps us to always rejoice, always be gentle and not to worry – all vital qualities in the Olympic Village.

You can read Jules' Rio 2016 diary here.

Pray that Jules and the rest of the Performance Team would have increasing opportunities to encourage elite sportspeople who are Christians and share the gospel with those who don’t yet know Jesus.