The Vancouver Winter Olympics start today in scenic British Columbia, and among the large international crowd gathering in western Canada will be more than 110 volunteers and some Answers in Genesis staff. They will share the gospel message with as many visitors and local citizens as possible and also conduct an apologetics conference in the area.1 This small army of volunteers will distribute over 150,000 new witnessing booklets (translated into seven languages and produced just for these Games) entitled Gold Rush Vancouver. As they share their faith with thousands of people, team members will wear a specially prepared pin, a hooded sweatshirt, and a hat that bears the Answers in Genesis logo for the event
Organized by the global arm of Answers in Genesis, Answers Worldwide, this evangelistic effort follows similar outreaches at previous Olympic Games, beginning in 1996 at the Atlanta Summer Olympics (when Answers in Genesis was just two years old) and then later at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. At the Athens Summer Olympics in 2004, nearly 200 individuals came to faith in Christ (as we were informed by our Greek hosts), and in Sydney in 2000, five new churches were started as a result of the Answers in Genesis Olympics outreach.
In addition to sharing their faith with those at the Vancouver Olympics, the volunteers and Answers in Genesis staff will have the opportunity to attend a creation conference hosted by Answers in Genesis President Ken Ham, February 21–22 (Sunday–Monday) in nearby Abbottsford.
“The Olympics provide a wonderful opportunity to fulfill the Scripture’s mission challenge to take the gospel to the whole world,” said Dr. David Crandall, International Director of Answers Worldwide. He is leading the team of volunteers comprised of Answers in Genesis friends from 16 U.S. states and 3 other countries.
A Man Named Paul
The ancient Olympic Games began in Greece in 776 BC. Held every four years, the Greek Games saw athletes coming from all over the known world (some taking as long as six months to arrive). History tells us that wars were sometimes suspended so that the Games could proceed.
In AD 51—long after the first Olympic Games—a man named Paul came to Greece and ministered in Athens. Luke records the historical event of the apostle Paul preaching on Mars Hill in Athens, and he modeled for us how to witness to those in a Greek-centered (i.e., secular) culture.
Almost 2,000 years later, Ken Ham wrote a book about that Mars Hill message, Why Won’t They Listen? and helped popularize the term “creation evangelism.” Why Won’t They Listen? reminds us how to witness in our Greek-type culture today. Therefore, it was natural for Answers in Genesis to be at the Athens Olympics in 2004—and now this month to take the message of creation evangelism to the Olympic Games in Vancouver. Two buses will move throughout Vancouver, loaded with volunteers who will distribute gospel literature and give their personal testimonies of the great Creator and Savior, Jesus Christ (Colossians 1). They will also invite people to hear Ken speak at the free creation conference, February 21–22 (Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Monday evening).
Please pray for this special outreach to hundreds of thousands of souls who are already in (or about to enter) Vancouver from all over the world. Also, please pray for the thirteen Christian leaders from around the globe who will be travelling to our Answers in Genesis headquarters and the Creation Museum for an intense week of apologetics/creation evangelism instruction at our annual International Training Seminar (ITS).
By the way, ITS is totally underwritten by special donations earmarked for Answers in Genesis’s international evangelism efforts so that the expenses for the leaders, some of whom come from Third World nations, are totally covered.2 This April, they will learn how to make their own creation/apologetics presentations and to establish new creation ministries abroad—and also be equipped to train other leaders when they return to their countries.
Answers WorldWide is the missionary arm of Answers in Genesis and is committed to fulfilling the Great Commission of Matthew 28. Since its inception, Answers in Genesis has had a heart for international missions; in recent years it has organized that desire under the Answers WorldWide division, working to establish associate relationships with creation ministries around the world. That includes translating and distributing Answers in Genesis resources to the mission fields of the world.To date, materials have been translated into 76 languages and ministry has been conducted in 94 countries. Plans are already underway for a similar Olympics outreach at the London Summer Olympics in 2012.