Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wednesday, February 10, 2010 – Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Team Engage Russia is on the move again!Never content to stay in one place too long, we have been working on an Olympic edition ofEngage Russia. Three weeks ago we were on the banks of the Black Sea in Sochi, Russia – host city for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. And this week we are on the other side of the globe in Vancouver, Canada for the 2010 Winter Olympics!

It is not hard to get Olympic fever around here.It starts as you get off the plane and just continues to build. We even saw the Ukrainian Ski Team unloading their gear at the airport, as well as a number of athletes from Sweden. Already we are seeing similarities between the two Olympic cities. Both have a large portion of the city situated along major bodies of water (the Black Sea in Sochi and the Pacific Ocean in Vancouver) and both have spectacular snow-capped mountain ranges within eyesight of the shore. In addition, the temperatures in both cities have hovered around the mid-to-upper 40s – mild as compared to a lot of other cities which have hosted the Winter Games.

Day One was spent, as usual, getting acquainted with a new city.We spent the day walking the streets, figuring out the public transportation, and taking in the sights of the city. The day started off with a few clouds, but by the end of the day it was quite chilly and rainy. Of course, Olympic venues are under very tight security, so there are many places (like the Olympic Village) where you are only allowed to be if you have the proper credentials. However, our purpose for being here is not to actually cover the games, but to find out how Southern Baptists are using this event as a stage for outreach and evangelism.

This week more than 500 Southern Baptist volunteers will make their way north to Vancouver. Most are partnering with a multi-denominational organization called More Than Gold, a relational network organized in response to the Winter Games.More Than Gold’s mission is to extend radical Christian hospitality to the estimated 300,000 visitors expected for the Olympics. More information about the group can be found

After having just come from Sochi, it was exciting to find the “Russky Dom” (Russia House) where workers were busily preparing to cheer on the Russian athletes and to promote the 2014 games in Sochi. The Russia House is located in Vancouver’s bulbous science museum just outside of the Olympic Village.

Tomorrow we will join up with the volunteers and More Than Gold officials. It will be exciting to see how God will use the 2010 Winter Olympic Games to grow his kingdom. Stay tuned!

More photos from day one can be seen at: