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Alan Ratliff - August 8, 2012

Alan Ratliff

8 August 2012

Hello family, friends, and prayer supporters,

My first year participating in the Olympic ministry was 2002. I remember the turning moment for me was a couple days after I first worked with a team witnessing at the mall in downtown Salt Lake near the Olympic Park. We had witnessed to the parents of a family and given them pins. Two days later, I was back at the mall, and while we were waiting on another opportunity to share, a little boy walked by and shouted, “Hey mom, look, it’s the Jesus people.” Apparently two days before, he was with his parents and had listened in on what we were saying. He remembered the pin and our logo design and outfits (red jackets, black pants, and cowboy hats). You can read the full story here (and see a younger Alan Ratliff and Donnie Martinez, a hairier David Guinn,, and read some good testimonies from Jeff and Donnie as well).

While that moment brings pause and encouragement about our efforts, it also transcends them to create a point of accountability. Donnie notes at the end of the article, “when we get back…and the pins are off, will people still see us on the streets [as] -- Jesus People?” I was reminded again this week of the importance not only of our witness during the Olympics but how the experience here should (and must) impact us upon our return. This time I was standing in a line for Starbucks after gymnastics at North Greenwich arena. A 20-something Jamaican man standing in line ahead of me looked back at me, took a second glance at my name badge (which says that we are Sport Chaplains) and then smiled and commented to his companion, “ah, look here, a man of prayers.”

Jesus people. People of prayer. Those who have accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior are both of these. We, International Sports Chaplains, are both of these in word and deed during these Olympics. These identities are a privilege, but they come with responsibilities. We are accountable to these identities and all they entail. As we go back to our normal schedules and daily lives, I can’t help but wonder again as Donnie did in 2002, how will people see us? Will we be known for being Jesus People and People of Prayer? What is it that sets us apart? For those in the ministry full time, their ministry staff position may give them a little head start, but during life outside of their job and whenever we are with unbelievers that don’t know us, we are all in the same boat.

My prayer tonight is that we will carry with us that same boldness, compassion and determination to share the Good News and pray for the lost, the weary, and burdened.

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