Salvation Army continues ministry at Paralympics
The More Than Gold (MTG) Olympic ministry continued in Salt Lake City during the 8th Paralympic Winter Games, held for ten days shortly after the Olympic Games. These games showcase the achievements of athletes challenged by physical disabilities.
The Western Territory participated by sending two volunteers to serve as chaplains in the Olympic Village, the area reserved for athletes. Representing the Army were Captain Roy Wild, Fountain Valley, Colo. corps officer, and Jan Young, current issues representative at Hawaii DHQ. Serving at water stations were other MTG ministry volunteers from the local community and the Southern Baptist convention.
Dan Williams, The Salvation Army’s Olympic coordinator reports that about 900 athletes took part in the Paralympics. He says “I was moved and challenged by these athletes who have overcome so much and who have worked so hard to perform at such a high level athletically. Our volunteers who worked as chaplains in the Paralympic athlete village and at the Paralympic venues were also impacted by this experience.”
As chaplains, Wild and Young were available in case of emergencies and provided spiritual and moral support for the athletes and volunteers.
God was present in their work. One day they read a prayer request for a U.S. skier, asking for prayers for his his mother who is battling cancer. Young and Wild immediately took the time to pray for both the mother and son.
After praying, they walked through the village, passing a variety of shops. They reached a quilt shop, where athletes and volunteers could come in and design squares that would be sewn into quilts. They had passed the shop before but never entered. Today Young felt they should go inside.
There, amid joyous activity, they noticed a U.S. athlete sitting in his wheelchair near the door. They introduced themselves, and upon hearing his name, Young exclaimed, “It is so nice to meet you – we just finished praying for you.” Out of the 900 athletes there, they had just met the young man who had asked for prayer for his mother.
Both Wild and Young marveled at the courage, strength and determination of these athletes. Wild commented: “Paul said, ‘I can do all things through him who gives me strength.’ I saw this first hand at the Paralympics. God makes the impossible in our lives possible.”