Friday, September 16, 2016

Chaplaincy, what is it?

What does a Chaplain do in the Paralympic Village?
I was in a laundry mat the other day to get my clothes washed. The attendant there spoke Portuguese. Needless to say I had trouble understanding her. There was another lady in the laundry mat who saw my difficulty communicating and helped translate for me. After the conversation she asked,
Why do internationals volunteer to work at the Olympics? I shared two reasons with her. I shared for me it was my profession, that I was a Chaplain. She then asked me a question I thought everybody knew, what is a Chaplain? Which is why I write this blog today. We begin each day like everybody else, rubbing the sleep out of our eyes and eating breakfast at the hotel we stay at. At some of the  events we actually stay with families in the area. Then we head to the village (by bus or walking). Here in Rio we walk to village.  Then we enter through the service entrance.As seen in the picture to your right.

We then make our way to the Multifaithcenter. This is a place where all of the Religions of the world are found. The center house Imams (Muslim  prayer room), Buddhist priests ( a mini temple to chant and seek there God), a Counseling area, Christian/Roman Catholic room (we hold Sunday Services and Bible Studies and Mass), Hindu room and Krishna prayer room. The building in Rio is not as prominent as other villages I have been too. In this particular village it is hard for the athletes to find us here, but if they look hard enough they can find us. We are the small building underneath the athletes condos in the picture on the left.

After arriving at the Multifaith center we have prayer time and our first Bible study of the day, if some athletes come. Otherwise we take turns handing out Bibles, tracts and books sharing Christ in most of the languages of the world.
If a athlete is facing a crisis and needs a counsellor we often do that as well. When we are not sitting in the chapel we go out into the village and make contact with the athletes that are done training or competing. Often times we do a prayer walk through this big village. We do a second bible study for those who have been away competing and training. Then after our shifts are completed, in the night time, we return to the hotel. Often times we go out to dinner in the area we are staying. If you are brave you try the food of the culture you are in. If not you try to find the food you like.

Is chaplaincy worth the time and money spent?
Yes! In John 10: 14-16  Jesus states, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”
We must help the other sheep from all nations! Whether it is to encourage them through Scripture, or let them know about Christ. It is an opportunity unparalleled. The world comes here every 4 years. We as Christians must be there to share the love of God with them ( the athletes of the world). Coincidentally this years slogan is "a new world". Um mundo novo. We must take the Gospel to this world.