Preparations for Winter Games nearing completion
SALVATIONISTS WILL PROVIDE spiritual assistance to thousands of visitors during the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah.
BY KAREN GLEASON –
The Olympics are days away, and Salvationists from around the territory and the nation are preparing to gather in Salt Lake City, ready to provide a cup of water or a prayer and spiritual counsel to those visiting or volunteering at the Games. As with all the Army’s caring relationships, the motivation behind our commitment to “others” is a desire to share Christ’s love.
For those in charge, preparations involve more than just making sure everyone has cold weather gear. The Army’s Olympic teams have been carefully designed both to meet the physical and spiritual needs of those at the Olympics.
Teams will take the love of Jesus to the streets through performance (music and drama) and outreach festivals. They will lead prayer walks each day. The Chicago Staff Band will be on hand for opening weekend, offering their musical ministry at several locations, including City Hall, where they will open for the Beach Boys, and at a local Presbyterian church.
The Salvation Army has worked with many denominations to assure the success of More Than Gold, a united Christian interdenominational effort. Part of the collaborative effort was the design of the More Than Gold pin. The pin will be distributed to all team members, who will take to the streets to engage in pin trading. By explaining the pin’s design, mission team members have the perfect opportunity to offer the everlasting gift of eternal life.
Territorial Programming and Creative Ministries Specialist Kevin White and More Than Gold Task Force Coordinator Dan Williams have worked for over a year to bring all these efforts together.
Based in Salt Lake City, Williams has worked with the Olympic Organizing Commit-tee, making sure the Army will be able to provide canteen or tent service at all major venues and arranging locations for performing teams. He has overseen the extensive security checks. Williams has been involved with the Home Hosting Program, which provides accommodations for families of athletes who otherwise, due to the expense, would not be able to attend the Games. He formed a relationship with Coca-Cola, an official sponsor of the Olympics, allowing Army teams to serve water at venues in cups provided by Coke. Williams also worked closely with representatives of the other churches involved in the More Than Gold program.
At Western Territorial Head-quarters, Kevin White has been busy placing 119 Salvationists into mission teams. Each team member had to pass through several security checks. White feels a personal responsibility for each member, making sure each will have shelter, food and transportation needs provided. White then had to assign each team to nine different venues, for each day and time period, also noting if the team was involved in service, performance, or ministry.
White has spent a lot of time making sure each team member knows exactly what to bring, what will be provided there, and what to expect. He made sure everyone received cold weather and high altitude tips, and he also explained how to navigate the streets of Salt Lake City, which can be a challenge until the realization that everything is named by its relation to the Mormon temple.
Is everybody ready? Beginning February 8, the More Than Gold mission teams are set to make a positive impact, bringing the love of Jesus to the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.