The Olympic Games proved to be a unique opportunity to share the gospel in London. People from virtually every nation and tongue were visiting our capital city.
It made me think of Acts 2, where we read that Jews ‘of every nation under heaven’ were gathered in Jerusalem for Pentecost. We also read of how the disciples spoke to these people about ‘the wonderful works of God’ and how Peter ‘lifted up his voice’ and addressed the crowds.
The Open-Air Mission and United Beach Missions joined together for two weeks of evangelism in order to take up this great opportunity of lifting up our voices and speaking of the wonderful works of God to the people!
I was on the team during the first week and we had an excellent time. We couldn’t get into the Olympic Park, so we did open airs in Covent Garden, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and Speaker’s Corner.
There were big crowds in each of these places and it was such a joy to share the gospel with some who had never heard it before. I spoke with a German man who was so happy to hear that salvation wasn’t based on his good works, as he had always been taught, but on Jesus Christ.
I also spoke with Stephen, who was from England but had never heard the good news that Jesus died for sinners. He seemed to soak up the gospel like a sponge soaks up water!
He was so eager to know more and asked good questions about God and his character and how we can know him. Stephen accepted lots of literature and took my email address so he could be in touch if he had further questions.
One member of the team spoke to a man who was so steeped in his own religion that he had never even heard of the Bible before. We also spoke with a number of people from other religions and people from countries closed to the Word of God.
For example, we came into contact with those from Saudi Arabia and Eritrea, to name a few. These people aren’t likely to hear the gospel back home, yet here they were in London hearing about the Saviour!
One open air that sticks in my mind was in Leicester Square on the Thursday evening. We were out for just over two hours. It was amazing to see large crowds gather during the preaching. There were almost too many people for the team to get into conversation with afterwards.
I spoke with a girl in her 20s who had rejected Christianity in her early teens and just wanted to ‘live for the moment’ and ‘have a good time’. However, she admitted that she had been thinking about Christianity recently and that it was ‘weird’ that she had bumped into us in Leicester Square. She took a John’s gospel and an Ultimate Questions booklet.
I also spoke with a teenage guy named Sam, who had just lost his grandfather and the issue of life after death was something really playing on his mind. It was a joy to point him to Jesus. He gladly received a Gospel of John. Sam even stuck around to listen to the next talk, though his friends were desperately trying to pull him away.
We kept a record on a laptop of all the people spoken to during the week. I was amazed to hear that, in all, over 200 personal conversations had taken place and around the same number of Gospels of John were given away. These were given to those who expressed a real interest in finding out more about the message of salvation. Also, just over 6000 tracts were handed out to passers-by.
Better than silver or gold
How amazing that God uses us mere humans to be the proclaimers of his powerful and precious Word. Rhea F. Miller begins one of her hymns with the words ‘I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold’; I thank God that he saved me as an 11-year-old boy and that I can echo those words.
I really enjoyed my week with the team in the capital and we give thanks to God for such an opportunity. We pray that the Lord would be pleased to water the seed which was planted in people’s lives over the Olympics fortnight and that many will come to know his grace and mercy. We pray that many found this the greatest of all prizes during the Olympics!