Winter Olympics begin, Christians rally

Russia (MNN) — The 2014 Winter Olympic Games are under way in Sochi, Russia. The fanfare of opening ceremonies will not only springboard the Winter Olympic hopefuls, but also the Gospel hopefuls–those who are ready to be a voice for Jesus during the games.

 Courtesy of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, RU.

Russian President Vladimir Putin Visits The Coastal Cluster Olympic Village. (Courtesy of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games)

According to the President of Slavic Gospel Association Bob Provost, “I am writing to ask you to join the SGA family in special prayer for this international event. There have been significant security concerns in the weeks building up to the Games.”

Provost says the city of Sochi is located in southern Russia along the Black Sea “and is only a few hundred miles from the troubled Caucasus Mountains region where there has been much bloodshed and terrorist activity. In fact, only a few weeks ago, terrorists linked to the North Caucasus allegedly carried out two bombing attacks in Volgograd, a major city only 400 some miles from Sochi.”

Yesterday, International Olympic Committee chairman Thomas Bach paid tribute to the 34 victims killed in the bombing, urging warring parties to cease their activities during the Games.

Provost says, “Several Russian missionary pastors sponsored by SGA partners are planning numerous ways of reaching out with the Gospel, including street witnessing and tract distribution.”

That could be difficult as many Christian organizations have been told not to evangelize on the streets of Sochi. Provost says, “It is uncertain whether the very heavy security will pose difficulties for the peaceful missionaries, who are intent on proclaiming the love of the Lord Jesus Christ to all who will hear. And we trust in the One who declares, ‘Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut’ (Revelation 3:8).”

Provost is asking you to pray. “Please join us in regular intercession throughout the Olympics. Pray for the safety of the athletes and the spectators, and for the Gospel to go forth in power. We look forward to hearing exciting reports from the missionary pastors and their outreaches over the next few weeks.”

Greg Yoder with Mission Network News will be in Sochi next week. Follow him on Twitter or read his posts on our Web site or on our Facebook page.