I was privileged to be part of there own awards ceremony for the medal winners. Then I got to take a humble tennis coach named Mikail to Heathrow Airport. All through the delays of heavy traffic I was able to share the gospel with him.
I also bumped into a group of happy Latvian athletes - Martins, Sandra, baby Eduard and Edvins - who were very surprised to hear that I'd ministered in Latvia for 20 years and supported 23 orphanages in their nation. One morning I was distracted by a baby crying. I turned to see a Ukrainian couple, Viktor, Viktoria and baby Diana – the team mascot, who had her own accreditation badge.
They were also surprised to hear that we supported 19 orphanages in Ukraine. This always invokes the question, "Why do you do this? What motivates you to help the forgotten children?" That always opens the door to say, "50 years ago I embraced Jesus and began a relationship with Him. His love motivates me to do this." What a privilege to share Jesus this way with top athletes.
Rushing back from taking Belarus athletes to Gatwick Airport, I saw two tall Australian athletes leaning against a tree talking strategy. They were Brad and Aliks, great guys from the Australian basketball team. Aliks is originally from Serbia and was touched at the fact we supported an orphanage of handicapped children in Panceva in Serbia. Brad and I have met up quite a few times in the past.
When at the Athletics in the Olympic Stadium with some 80,000 people cheering, I was enthralled by the Holy Spirit reminded me, "Just you wait until that great day in Heaven when an innumerable number of people from all nations throughout history cheer and applaud Jesus for the great salvation he achieved for us.
Early one morning I was passing the athletes coffee vending machine when I heard a South African accent. I walked across and introduced myself to Marc Mundell, a 50km walker from South Africa. He came from a town I frequented as a teenager when visiting my cousins whose dad (my uncle Horace) was a South African soccer captain in the 1950's. Marc and I spoke about the needs of the country and how sport was a great factor in diminishing social barriers, but only one thing could bring lasting healing – a relationship with God through Jesus.
Later that day in the dining hall I met the Jewish Chaplain, Rabbi Maurice. He asked if I'd been to Israel to which I replied, "Yes, five times." He said that I must really like tourism. I told him the reason I went was to conduct seminars to the marginalized Jews, from Russia, Latvia, Ethiopia and Finland to encourage them in their faith in their Messiah. He was very impressed and surprised that the teenagers were being touched as well.
On one occasion I was asked to drive the Belarus Chef de Mission to the Excel Event Centre the come back to the Olympic Village. Upon my return I had planned to have lunch, but that was aborted (that happened often) by an instruction to drive to Gatwick Airport to collect Belarus athletes and bring them to the Welcome Centre of the Village – normally a three hour round trip.
Heathrow Airport was the venue of another exciting divine encounter. I was having a snack and a crowd of young guys with an older man sat down right next to me. They introduced themselves as Korean table tennis players, gymnasts (and their manager) who'd won a bunch of medals. When they heard I'd been serving the athletes for five weeks all around their Olympic Office, they gave me a beautiful Korean banner and all signed my Olympic Shirt.
They asked me why I did all the volunteering for the Olympics and Paralympics. So I shared my testimony with them and told them how the Love of Jesus motivated me to do such service. What a divine encounter. These are just a few of the many Spirit led encounters.