SOCHI, Russia (BP)—Amid tight security at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Baptist volunteers from across the United States arrived to be part of the international festivities and share their faith.
Inside Sochi’s “ring of steel,” consisting of 40,000 armed Russian troops, anti-aircraft weapons and myriad military surveillance tactics, the five Olympic rings welcomed thousands of athletes, fans, diplomats and dignitaries to the Sochi Games.
Visitors also include a group partnering under the name Engage Sochi—a network of Southern Baptists seeking to create opportunities for meaningful conversations with people living and working in Sochi or attending the Olympic Games. Volunteers hail from across the United States, including Oklahoma, Missouri, Colorado, Georgia and Alabama.
Groups scheduled to perform include the Singing Men of Oklahoma and Woman’s Missionary Union drama teams, working along with ministry teams from Missouri and Colorado intent on sharing the love of Christ.
Volunteers engage people throughout the community, secure in the knowledge thousands around the world are praying for them and for Sochi.
“Never in our lives have we felt the prayers of people so tangibly,” one volunteer said. “Even tonight, a casual conversation on the train turned into a person helping us, and a really good local contact was made.”
As people respond and ask questions, volunteers take steps to ensure that once they return home, they are connected with a local community of believers, regardless of where they live throughout the world.