Rio chaplain's diary - part two

Date posted: 09/08/16
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 is writing a weekly diary for us while she is there. In this second entry, Jules shares some of her early highlights and an unexpected spot of hurdling.
I never thought that as part of my preparation for Rio, I would need media training. But having been interviewed on the radio a fair few times since arriving here, I am gradually getting more used to it.
In the last few days, it feels like I have spent more time talking about what I’m doing here rather than actually doing it. It was an aspect of the job that I didn’t really see coming, but I can see its importance to help people understand more about what these elite athletes are up to and how we can support them.
  • To read Jules' first diary entry, click here
The highlight for me is always meeting people and that is what I am looking forward to focusing on. It has been great to catch up with people I know and encourage them in their faith. The British track and field team are still arriving in dribs and drabs and it will be great to meet up with some of them.
The bible passages I have been sharing with athletes include 1 John 3 v 1-3.
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure [NIV].
We looked at how amazing it is to be a child of God and how nothing on earth compares to being called that.
Another passage is Philippians 4 v 4-7.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [NIV].
Here we considered how the fact that the Lord is near helps to always rejoice, always be gentle and not to worry – all qualities that are massively needed in the Olympic Village. Prayer is the key to all this.
Rio chaplain's diary - part two
Some sights from around the Olympic Village
One thing I didn’t expect in Rio was to face my own sporting challenge. The second Bible study I did was with two high jumpers. We had breakfast together and then went to an outside part of the dining room, but afterwards we couldn’t get back in. The escape route was over quite a high barrier, which was a lot easier for them with their long legs. There was quite a lot of laughing at my efforts, but we did all get over safely!
Rio chaplain's diary - part two
To hear Jules' interview on Radio 4, click here
After the excitement looking ahead to the opening ceremony, you definitely know there is a more serious atmosphere in the Olympic Village now as the competition gathers pace. We are providing a regular rota of services and Bible studies for those that come to the chapel, but sometimes we have to react to events. One of my fellow chaplains, who speaks French, went to the French team’s base to offer any support he could to them and the gymnast who broke his leg so badly in team qualifying.
It is fantastic being right next to Team GB in the Olympic Village. They have done a really good job of making the accommodation nice and having a British feel, complete with Union flag deckchairs in their garden. They have a huge TV screen and the BBC is always on, so I am able to check what’s happening with the British team as I walk past.
Rio chaplain's diary - part two
Team GB have done a great job making their part of the Olympic Village feel like home
I speak to my family in the afternoon because that’s their evening time back home, so it works well. It is great to hear from them, but I also feel very much ‘in the zone’ out here. It is something I am committing myself to 100 per cent. When I need to rest, I just go back to my hotel a little earlier.
Sometimes I will just find a shaded place in the village and sit and pray there.
I didn’t think I would get to see any sport live before coming out to Rio, but I have managed to catch some swimming and fencing so far. There are lots of tickets available.
In my first diary entry, I asked if you could pray that I would be bold and brave for God. Please keep praying that. Pray too that I would be a real encouragement to Christians and have the right words to say to those who are seeking God.