Daily updates from the Sochi Winter Olympics

February 7, 2014


THANK YOU for keeping up with us each day during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics! Stay tuned for our wrap-up stories coming on March 19th!

February 23rd - Continue to Pray

Pray for us as we finish this part of the project and we move into the next part … as we do follow-up and discipleship … that these new believers would be discipled and be brought into bodies of believers.
Marc Ira Hooks, co-director of Engage Sochi as he was interviewed by the Christian Broadcasting Network

PRAYER REQUEST: Pray for Engage Sochi teams as they travel home. Pray that they will be encouraged to continue sharing their faith wherever they find themselves.

Pray for each person who heard the story of Jesus. Pray that the Spirit will continue to work in their lives. Pray for each person who accepted Christ as their Savior. Pray they will join a group of believers, be discipled and share their story with others.

Give praise for all God has done in and around the Games!

And, thank you for praying!

February 22nd - Making a Difference

Are you here to make a spiritual difference? Because it's working!
a Russian security officer, after watching an Engage Sochi drama team perform

PRAYER REQUEST: Continued prayers for traveling mercies right now--so many teams are in motion somewhere in the world, headed back to the States. Pray for our last team on the ground, who will be meeting people and making relationships in the city of Sochi today. Pray for bold spirits and open hearts and for Holy Spirit-inspired meetings.

February 21st - Top Sheet Highlight

Incredible day on the ground for the Engage Sochi team—our lost sheep from First Baptist Church of Middleburg finally arrived, there was at least one new soul added to the Kingdom today, and our Olympic team member, Jessica Lutz, scored the go-ahead goal to lead the Swiss team to a bronze medal victory over Sweden. And, that is just the "top sheet" highlight from the day!
Marc Ira Hooks, co-director of Engage Sochi

PRAYER REQUEST: It's a dreary day in Sochi, but things are still happening! Please pray for one team leaving early tomorrow morning. Pray that they will not only have safe travels, but also the opportunity to share their faith. Pray for the two teams on the ground who will be sharing the Gospel with the people of Sochi in two different areas today.

February 20th - Child of God

It is a huge honor and blessing to be able to go to the Olympics and to be called an Olympian, but it is so much more of an honor to be able to be called a child of God, to be forgiven of my sin and to be able to have Christ’s righteousness as my own.
Olympian Jessica Lutz, Swiss hockey team

Congratulations on the bronze medal, Jessica!!! And, nice goal!

PRAYER REQUEST: Pray for the team coming in today who were stuck in Moscow last night. Pray for easy travel today, for spiritual conversations along the way, and for hearts excited to be in the Olympic city.

PRAISE: The Dixieland band spent an incredible evening in the mountain cluster athlete's village. We met several people and were able to have conversations with them and make contacts for the team in Sochi.

February 19th - Still With Me

Hearing this was a shining light from God – Him telling me that He's still here with me.
Tanya, a San Francisco native, after hearing the Gospel in Olympic Park

PRAYER REQUEST: Please pray for our last Engage Sochi team. Due to another passenger's medical emergency in Atlanta, they are having a very difficult time getting to Sochi. Please pray for transfers, connections and calm heads, and that they will minister wherever they happen to be.

February 18th - Musical Impact

“It’s amazing to me that we can use [music] to start conversations.
Earl Brackin, lead performer of the Earl Brackin Band

PRAYER REQUEST: There are five Engage Sochi teams in the city right now. Two teams leave today, and our last team flies in late tonight. Pray for traveling mercies, stamina and endurance, and for fruitful conversations with the people the teams meet today.

Read more …

MUSICAL IMPACT - Musician Earl Brackin and his bluegrass band initiate relationships with Olympic attendees.

February 17th - Relationship Building

Church planting is based on forming relationships. So, what our Engage Sochi folks are doing here is the building blocks for new churches to be started in Sochi and around the world.
Marc Ira Hooks, co-director of Engage Sochi

PRAYER REQUEST: The Earl Brackin Band has joined Engage Sochi this week. The response to this bluegrass band has been tremendous and opened doors never thought possible. Pray for them and for the Engage Sochi team as they follow God through doors they never imagined He would open! Pray for a bold witness, new relationships, and for more opportunities to share God's great love for Sochi and the world!

February 16th - Fans

Governments may have their differences, but we are all just people.
Bulgarian journalist to Engage Sochi participants

PRAYER REQUEST: Continue to pray for Engage Sochi teams who are sharing the Good News of Jesus with Olympic fans from across the world. Pray for openness and opportunities. Pray for seeds to be sown and lasting fruit to be multiplied.

February 15th - Safety

We’ve never felt safer, to be honest.
Dave Watson of Oklahoma in a USA Today interview

PRAYER REQUEST: Give thanks for the safety Engage Sochi teams and everyone attending the Games have experienced thus far. Pray for continued calm and openness for the story of Jesus to be told.

February 14th - Openness

Sochi today, since the Olympics started, is 180 degrees different than Sochi in January 2010. Never have I seen Russians so open. This openness has led to opportunities for relationships which leads to opportunities to share the Gospel.
Marc Ira Hooks, co-director of Engage Sochi

PRAYER REQUEST: The Singing Men of Oklahoma have left, but two new groups of friends arrived in Sochi last night. Pray for today's orientation to prepare them well for what is happening here, and pray for a fruitful and productive day of ministry on the ground.

Read more …

SINGING MEN - The world responds to The Singing Men of Oklahoma at the Sochi Olympics.

FIRST-PERSON - A BP reporter spends a day hanging out with the Singing Men of Oklahoma at the Olympics in Sochi, Russia: http://www.commissionstories.com/eurasia/stories/view/a-day-with-the-singing-men.

February 13th - Singing Men of Oklahoma

It’s not asking what you can do for God, it’s making yourself available for God to use you.
Russian Pastor to congregation at Singing Men of Oklahoma concert

PRAYER REQUEST: The Singing Men of Oklahoma left today. Pray for the person who chose to follow Christ at one of their concerts. Pray for other believers who will come alongside this new Christian and disciple him.

February 12th - Witness on Ice

I was able to spend some time with our Engage Sochi Olympic athlete, Jessica Lutz, this afternoon. We are proud of her. Not just for her accomplishments on the ice, but for being a bold witness for Christ in the world of sports. Please pray for her as you continue to #pray4sochi
Marc Ira Hooks, co-director of Engage Sochi

PRAYER REQUEST: Many Christian athletes are competing in this year’s Winter Olympic Games. Please pray they will have opportunities to share their faith and be bold in their witness for Christ both on and off the ice or snow.

February 11th - Old Glory

I will never look at an American flag the same again.
John Christensen, with Engage Sochi

Read Old Glory to the Gospel, the story behind this quote.

PRAYER REQUEST: Transportation has been a challenge. Many Engage Sochi team members are required to walk 45 minutes to the nearest transportation point and still face riding one or two more hours to reach an event or a ministry site. Please pray for endurance and hearts willing to share the Good News despite the wear and tear of getting around.

February 10th - Camaraderie

The world arrives, allowing Sochi, a city of security, to also become a city of competition and new camaraderies.
William Bagsby, videographer in Sochi

PRAYER REQUEST: Our largest Engage Sochi team is on the ground doing ministry today. Pray for boldness for our friends as they share what God has done in their lives, and what He can do in the lives of the people they meet.

February 9th - Day Two

Sochi will be a famous city after the Olympics.
expressed in broken English by a proud Russian volunteer

PRAYER REQUEST: As the Olympic events start to take place, the excitement in the city of Sochi is palpable. Pray that Christian workers and friends from the United States will capitalize on this spirit of excitement as a way to meet people and share the Good News.

February 8th - First Day

They[Russians]’re proud. And I’m proud to be here with them. Pray for Sochi.
videographer Byron Stacey

PRAYER REQUEST: Pray for the shopkeepers of Sochi and Adler, that they may see Jesus in each of the Engage Sochi team members who frequent their shops. Pray that a business transaction might turn into a conversation with eternal significance!

February 7th - Opening Ceremonies

Who knows what God is up to here? It’s humbling to have a front row seat. It really is.
Southern Baptist volunteer in Sochi

PRAYER REQUEST: The North Caucasus region of Russia, in which Sochi sits, has long suffered from political unrest. Evangelical churches in the region work hard to reach people with the good news that following Jesus Christ offers eternal hope – hope that cannot be found in any political dogma. Pray for the pastors and members of these churches to have boldness and stamina as they reach out to those around them.

Have you seen the Engage Russia Olympic pin?

Southern Baptist volunteers will be passing these Olympic pins throughout the Games. Each pin will include a Gospel presentation. In fact, each color found on the pins have a meaning.

Learn what each color means and find out how you can be on the winning team!