Sunday began with a good breakfast of apple pooridge, Chinese tea, orange slices, coffee, hard-boiled egg and water with my host family. Then we walked about a half hour to church. This walk helped me get my bearings about how Whistler is laid out. Worshiping at Whistler Community Church was great. It was my first time worshiping at a Mennonite Brethren church. The church currently meets at a school gym for worship services. The worship team led songs very familiar to me (although they sang them in Canadian English!) and Pastor Tim preached a great sermon from Matthew 5:43-48. I look forward to connecting with Pastor Tim later on so we can fellowship and encourage each other. You know, both of us are pastors in resort areas with great ski mountains, bobsled tracks, etc, so we have a lot in common.
One blessing at church was meeting a few other folks who are serving in various areas during the Games. Some were local to Whistler and some were from out of town like me. Another blessing was to hear that their church is mobilizing people to pray during the Games.
In the afternoon, as many chaplains as humanly possible and our backpacks plus a bit of other luggage (one of our chaplains from Austria has been waiting for the airline to bring his lost luggage up) piled into a small van/SUV and headed to Vancouver, a 2 hour drive.
To my American friends: apparently no one informed our team leader of chaplains - a Canadian - that the Super Bowl was being played on Sunday afternoon, February 7. Our meeting began at the same time as the Super Bowl. In all fairness - he did apologize to us for the schedulig conflict!
Our meeting was great, getting to connect with all of the Christian chaplains who are serving at the two different Athletes Villages. This is the only time we will all be together, and the only time those of us serving at Whistler will meet those serving at the Vancouver Village.
Chaplains are here from Canada, Australia, Russia, Norway, Austria, Great Britain, and the USA, serving as part of the Multi-Faith Centre. We are also hearing that some other nations - Germany, for instance - are bringing chaplains with them, concentrating on ministry to their teams. As we sat around at dinner, we were sharing with each other about athletes we know who are on fire for Christ. It was powerful and encouraging to hear that many of these chaplains know a handful of winter sports athletes from various nations who are believers in Jesus. One guy remarked, "It sounds like there's a mini-revival going on among the winter sports athletes." Hmmm. That's what we are praying for!
Thanks for praying!
PS. Congratulations to the New Orleans Saints for winning the Super Bowl. I am a proud alumni of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary! I hear it was an exciting game to watch.