Friday, February 26, 2010

More Than Gold - Update

Teams of people from churches in Canada and from many states in the USA have joined together with several Christian ministries under the umbrella of More Than Gold to provide "Radical Hospitality" to people throughout Vancouver during the Olympics.

My friend Pastor Rick Wilburn from Tupper Lake Baptist Chapel (NY) has been blogging about his experiences. You can read his blog and see some photos HERE.

Also, here is an update of some of the ministries from More Than Gold's Janet Campbell:

I wish we could be sending you all daily updates, but things have been moving at a fast pace and it hasn’t been possible. Thanks for your prayers though!

We have had report after report of volunteers having conversations with spiritually open people - conversations that have led to people giving their lives to Jesus. Praise God! The More Than Gold pin has continued to be our most popular item to give away – most people have turned into enthusiastic pin collectors during the Olympics, as happens in all Olympic cities. Our volunteers have found it easy to start conversations by offering a free pin.

Others have prayed with people, encouraged them, and delighted them with free hot chocolate on cold mornings and evenings. People are SO appreciative of the hot drinks at the transit stations. We’ve got people in some places at 4:30 a.m. and other places til 12:30 a.m. at night. Even our B.C. premier (like a state governor) commented on the service of the volunteers - he had personally noticed it as he went around the city.

Most volunteers have come and gone, but we still have several teams here serving away. We had 2 volunteers who, in separate incidents, fell last night, leading to trips to Emergency, but nothing serious. We had 2 people last week who had to go home suddenly due to deaths in the family. Please especially hold up in prayer the family of Barbara Webb from GA (a More Than Gold volunteer) whose 8-year-old grand-daughter was killed in a car accident.

Many of you contributed to the welcome kits and care kits. Just today a load of the care kits was taken to the Union Gospel Mission, probably the best-known ministry to homeless and low-income people downtown. The people they care for are receiving the beautiful hand-knit scarves made by many of you (along with many other items in the kits)! Thank you again.

Local churches have been busy. My church had a children’s program one day and had several new-to-us families participate. Both Kevin’s church and mine are “perking locations” for More Than Gold – ie the kitchens are in use as sites for making the coffee and hot chocolate that are served at nearby transit stations. Other churches in our Association have had children’s programs, held big-screen viewing parties, taken shifts at the More Than Gold beverage stations, and more.

Kevin and I went up to Whistler last week one day and were able to briefly visit with a couple of mission team members there, plus our chaplain working within the Athletes’ Village. All had good reports of ministry opportunities and spiritual conversations. There is another group in Whistler right now – they will be working as official VANOC volunteers Friday and Saturday so please pray for them that they will “let their light shine”!

We have been blessed to have “extra-special” helpers who have been tireless in their service behind the scenes this week, last week, or both. From Texas, Georgia and Colorado: Dan & Joanne Crawford, Les and Darla Dobbins, Peggy Colbert, Beth Ann Williams, Steve Hoekstra, Jeff and Ruth Wagner. From here in Metro Vancouver: Kelly and Jeanne Manire, Gary and Carol Oaks, Marsha Davidson and others as called upon! What a great support team. Thank you all. We could NOT have done this without you!!

We are tired, but happy with all of the wonderful reports of open doors, “stretched” (in a good way!) Christians, and new believers. We have greatly enjoyed meeting the mission teams face to face after so many months of emails and calls. And we’ve enjoyed seeing our city come alive – the people on the streets and buses are excited and much more open to talking with strangers than usual.

More after the dust settles….meanwhile, send us your stories of what you have seen God doing. Thanks!

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