Maranatha News interviewed Kimberly Parker on the eve of her trip to the summer Olympics in London. Kimberly shares why she will be attending the games.
Maranatha News: What ministry are you going to London with and why?
Kimberly Parker: I am going to London as part of a mission’s team with Lay Witnesses for Christ International (LWFCI). Since 1984, LWFCI has been ministering to Christian athletes during the summer Olympics. They also partner with local churches to hold outreach events to the visitors and communities of the host cities. We are not officially a part of the Olympics; we minister and hold events during the Olympics at locations across the host city. We have more than 200 mission team members joining us throughout the course of the Games.
MN: What will be your role there? What are your responsibilities with the organization?
KP: I have two main responsibilities. As an ex-athlete (former gymnast in the US), I will be speaking at some of the church events, using my testimony to encourage others in their faith. Second, because of my writing, I will be serving as Director of Public Relations. This will entail writing press releases, articles, and other communications with the media. The media coverage of our events is expected to be huge because of the many amazing past and present world-class athletes who speak at our events.
We are truly a mission’s team because our #1 purpose is sharing the gospel with the lost and encouraging others in the Christian faith. God has given this ministry great favor with Christian athletes and we are honored to provide them with a platform to speak.
MN: What else does this ministry do?
KP: In between Olympic Outreaches, LWFCI brings world-class athletes into schools and churches to hold “Right Track: Drug, Alcohol and Violence Prevention” Programs. The goal is using the testimony of athletes to reach the youth of tomorrow. More than 5,000 Right Track programs have been held world-wide by LWFCI.
LWFCI also gives a Christian Athlete of the Year award every year to the high school aged male and female athlete who has demonstrated great character and excellence in faith, school and athletics. This year, I attended the 23rd Christian Athlete of the Year Awards banquet in Dallas, Texas and got to speak and also witness more than 100 high school Christian athletes come together for the banquet.
MN: How did you become involved with LWFCI?
KP: I became connected to LWFCI more than a year ago through a friend who has served with them since 1992. The ministry founder, Dr. Sam Mings, recalled watching me compete as a young gymnast and when we first spoke about my joining them in their mission to preach Jesus during the Olympics I was truly moved to action. I have never come across a more soul winning ministry that simply wants to preach Christ in whatever place God allows. And they have seen Him open doors that only He could open in their past 35 years of ministry.
MN: How long will you be in London?
KP: I will be in London for the entire Olympics, as we hold events every night during the games. We have our own mission’s team lodging facility. Many former athletes from many countries (USA, Jamaica, Zambia, South Korea, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Australia, and many more) will be staying there too and I am so thrilled to get to know them and hear their stories. I am currently co-authoring a book with former Jamaican Olympian, Richard Bucknor (see, www.JamaicanTrackStories.com) in which we tell the stories of Jamaican athletes. I am really looking forward to hearing the stories of other athletes, coaches, musicians, pastors and speakers who will be there.
MN: Have you been to London or on a mission’s trip before?
KP: I traveled to England when I was in high school for a school trip. This will be very different.
I went to Haiti last year and shared the gospel in one of the poorest places on earth. Now, I get to share the gospel in a place of affluence – a place that many might not consider a “missions field.” Yet, those who don’t know Jesus in London are just as lost as those who don’t know Him in Haiti.
MN: Is anyone in your family accompanying you?
KP: I am bringing my 8 year old son Benjamin with me. I can’t imagine anything more faith building for him than spending 3 full weeks hearing people share their faith and seeing people come to know Jesus. I think this will be pivotal in his young faith journey.
I am so humbled that God has given Ben and I this opportunity to serve others. Teaching an 8-year-old what “service” looks like will be a lesson that sticks with him. He may not understand the magnitude of it now, but he will remember it.
MN: What do you expect from this trip?
KP: My expectation is to remain humble and in a position of servant-hood. To listen for the Spirit’s prompting to speak and share and to be wholly available to whatever God will do to and through me.
MN: Can people follow your journey?
KP: The ministry website: www.LWFCI.com will have daily posts and photos. We will be tweeting live through @SportsInLondon. I will also be tracking Ben and my journey through my personal blog: www.SimplyCreativeWriting.com and tweeting @KPWriting.
Kimberly Parker is an author and mother of three. She writes about parenting, autism, human interest stories and business matters from a Christian perspective.
(Photo: Carl Lewis has been a supporting team member of LWFCI from the beginning of their outreach in the 1980s).