by Natalie Nation, IMB
Changes and adjustments marked the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. In the same way, our IMB Tokyo team adjusted plans more times than I can count. What started as a plan to host more than 200 volunteers turned into the 20 of us volunteering for our events.
By God’s grace, we hosted 22 events throughout the Olympics.
- We prayer walked around the Olympic venues.
- We handed out evangelism materials.
- We offered English conversation at stations.
- We hosted college students in Olympic-themed games and conversations.
All this while we were bending and flexing through extreme heat, sporadic rainstorms, canceled plans, and constantly changing governmental restrictions. We could have done nothing if not for trusting entirely in the work of the Holy Spirit.
At each event, we handed out Japan-themed pins colored like the Olympic rings with Gospel words on them: Love (creation), Hope (sin), Grace (Jesus’ blood), Faith, and Community (eternal life). With these pins, gospel conversations came naturally.
These conversations were surrounded by “ooh’s and ah’s.” Laughter sprinkled these conversations. And each person left with a pin and a spectacular gift – the truth of the Gospel.
As a team, we came together during the Olympics. We stood beside each other as we led spiritual conversations and accomplished eternal differences despite ongoing difficult circumstances. It was like our ow mission trip! We prayed together before the events. We watched each other share the Gospel. We laughed while holding up signs, hoping someone would stop and talk to us. Then afterward, we shared incredible stories of how we saw God move at the end of each event.
God reminded us that He is at work in Tokyo. I am so grateful I participated in a small piece of His big plans to reach Japan.