During the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, the SBC of Virginia partnered with International Mission Board missionaries, Korean Baptists, Liberty University, and the Outreach Bible Project to share booklets that included the Book of John and the Book of Romans. These Scriptures were available in 24 different languages!
Since the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, GA, the Outreach Bible Project, under the sponsorship of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Acworth, GA, has targeted large international events for the sake of distributing Scripture.
This was the second Olympics in which the SBC of Virginia has participated. “This year, however,” says SBCV evangelism director Steve Bradshaw, “we were much more involved from the ground floor of planning and networking. And the Lord orchestrated every detail.”
The Lord Provides
Through the new IMB missionary in Seoul, God provided housing at the IMB mission house as a staging area and for cross-cultural training before the team traveled across the country to the Olympic area. Dr. Timothy Chong, professor and dean of the Center for Asian Ministries at Liberty University and a leader at 701 Korean Church in Lynchburg, introduced the team to the leadership of Korean Baptists and a network of pastors close to the Olympic Village. For the two-week trip, God provided housing at a Christian boarding school whose facilities were only five years old.
Bradshaw adds, “The Lord worked out all of these details in order that we might be on mission with Him at the Olympic Village and Park, on the streets, at the transportation stations, and in the marketplace.”
Sharing the Gospel
“Pastors and Christians in South Korea had been praying for the Olympics to be awarded to their country in order that they may influence the world with the Gospel,” says Chong.
With Outreach Bible Project’s multiple teams in various locations, 155,000 Scriptures were distributed to Koreans and visitors from around the world.
“Because it’s a fast-paced society, I try to observe and find something to generate a conversation and then naturally lead into a Gospel conversation,” says Seth Peterson, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Altavista, VA. On many occasions, one could find Peterson sharing the Gospel or praying with individuals or groups. “I was even invited to have lunch with a group who wanted to hear more, and I accepted their offer—whatever it takes to share Jesus,” adds Peterson.
One family from Canada said, “We have never had anyone ask to pray for us.” A female Olympian from Mexico prayed to trust Christ under the tent of a local Baptist church (bottom left photo).
Bradshaw says, “I was blessed to share the Gospel through the explanation of the Olympic pen, and I was shocked when one young lady invited me to sit down and tell her more. So we opened the Scriptures, and I shared with her the Romans Road. I read in English, while she followed in Korean, and she prayed to trust Jesus with her life.” SBCV church planting strategist Randy Aldridge had the opportunity to share the Gospel with some of the thousands of volunteers at the Olympics.
“Being in Korea was especially significant to me because it’s where I spent my childhood,” says SBCV administrative coordinator Mindy McCord, whose parents were IMB missionaries to South Korea. “Having the opportunity to worship the Lord in Korean again while seeing Koreans, Japanese, Russians, and Americans joining together in worship moved me to tears.”
When the world convenes at one location, it is a prime opportunity to unite with other believers in sharing the Gospel. We cannot begin to know the impact this Good News has had on those who have trusted Jesus and who, in turn, will influence others as they return to their own countries.