Every four years, top athletes from around the world gather in one country to compete in the Winter Olympic games. The goal of these athletes is simple: to have a gold medal placed around their neck and to hear the national anthem of their country played while they stand on the top step of the podium. The goal is simple, but achieving that goal is extremely difficult. It takes years of hard work and dedication, along with countless hours of practice, to be able to compete with the best of the best from around the world.
Not only do athletes from around the world come to this one country, but spectators from many countries come also. Their goal is also simple: to cheer with every ounce of enthusiasm within them for the athletes from their home country in hopes that their heroes will be standing on the top step of the podium receiving the gold medal. Many will come dressed in traditional attire from their country, a flag draped over their shoulders, and faces painted the colors of the flag. They want everyone to know what country they call home and that they are proud to be a citizen of that country.
This was the scene that I had the privilege of witnessing in February as the Lord allowed me to travel to Pyeongchang, South Korea for the 2018 Winter Olympic games. I was part of a team that was present during the first week of the Olympic games. Just like the athletes and the spectators of the games, we also had a simple goal: to put a copy of a portion of God’s Word into the hands of as many people as possible. Bearing Precious Seed had printed and shipped 100,000 Scriptures to South Korea for distribution, and we now had the awesome privilege and responsibility of personally sharing the Scripture with these people.
From the moment we arrived at the airport, it was apparent that the South Korean people were a very kind and receptive people. This belief became more evident as we hit the streets to distribute God’s Word. We encountered smiling face after smiling face that was so eager to receive the free gift we were offering to them. It was such a tremendous blessing to watch as many people would stop what they were doing to open the John and Romans they were just handed and start reading. Several of these people would stand for five to ten minutes before continuing on where they were headed. I will never forget watching a man that was given a John and Romans as he was stopped at a traffic light in his delivery truck. He pulled his truck to the side of the road, still in the way of traffic, and read from God’s Word for at least 15 minutes as cars were honking their horns for him to move out of the way.
Another unforgettable experience was when we distributed Scripture in a very large open-air market. The missionary we were working with had informed us that many of the elderly vendors in this market were looked down upon in the South Korean culture. As we approached these precious souls, they seemed shocked that we had a gift to offer them. It was priceless to see the smile of appreciation that swept over those sweet faces once they realized that we expected nothing in return for the copy of Scripture we handed them. Our prayer is that many of them read about a loving Heavenly Father that is “... no respecter of persons:” (Acts 10:34) and that they accept the free gift of salvation offered to them through Jesus Christ.
We were also able to distribute Scripture near both of the Olympic parks that were constructed for the Olympic games. It was in these two locations that we encountered people from all over the globe (Poland, Russia, Finland, Denmark, Norway, China, Japan, and Canada - just to name a few). The Scripture we were distributing was in the Korean language; however, it included a tract in the back that had been translated into 18 different languages. Due to this fact, we could give a copy of the Scriptures to these people from other countries, knowing that they would be able to at least read the tract portion. As I stood at this area and watched people from all over the world pass by, I could not help but think of Revelation 5:9, “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;” My prayer is that many of those we encountered during our brief stay in South Korea will be part of the redeemed people mentioned in this verse.
As I reflect on what the Lord allowed our team to accomplish during our short stay in South Korea, I am in awe of His goodness. We, along with the other teams that were there during the two weeks of the Olympics, were able to distribute 100,000 copies of God’s Word. My prayer is that many people will come to know Christ as a result of the efforts that took place to make this distribution event possible. You see, this distribution effort is similar to the effort it took for each athlete to make it to the Olympic games. The athletes sacrificed much to train and prepare for this event. In order for the Scriptures to arrive in South Korea, it also took much sacrifice from many people. Money had to be given to buy the paper; the Scripture had to be printed; churches assisted in the assembly of the Scripture which then had to be shipped across the globe; strategic planning took place to target the best locations for distribution; and many, many prayers were offered. This was a team effort, and it was an honor and a privilege to be able to represent our Lord and Savior to so many people from so many different countries. Please join me in claiming this wonderful promise from God’s Word found in Isaiah 55:11, “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”