Pins lead to Gospel conversations at the Olympics

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Pastor Mike Jones of First Baptist Church Lake Alfred has been sharing the Gospel internationally over the last few years in a unique way – by sharing and trading pins at the Olympic games.

“We know we are planting seeds like crazy,” said Jones.

It all started for Jones when a pastor friend of his from Georgia, Sid Hopkins, invited him to the Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympic games in 2016 on a mission trip organized by the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.

“During the Olympics lots of brand sponsors give away pins so people like to trade pins for the ones they don’t have or even buy some of the pins,” he said, pointing out that pin collecting is a very popular activity during the Olympics.

So Jones and the other missionaries give away pins specially designed to share the Gospel.

“We tell them that we’ll give them a free pin and all they have to do is listen to a quick story.”

The pin design for the 2018 Winter Olympic games is a woman in traditional South Korean clothes holding up two fans.

This is the pin and tract Jones handed out at 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

“The colors on the fans represent the Gospel story and along with the pin we give a Gospel track that is in English and Korean.”

Jones has between 400 and 500 pins, which he says is nothing compared to Hopkins, who has thousands.

At the Olympic games Jones and the other missionaries have access to people from many countries they wouldn’t otherwise come in contact with, even some from countries that are hostile toward the Gospel.

“We talk to people from places like Russia,” he said.

Rarely does the group get to be present at an actual Olympic event. For them, it is all about missions.

“We meet lots of other Christians as well and get to partner with churches from other countries,” he said. “We also spend time ministering to the local churches.”

Jones adds that while the Olympics represent a great opportunity for missions, it’s not for everyone as the cost of traveling to the host country can be high.

For those who can’t travel personally he suggests supporting other missionaries who plan to go either financially, through prayer or by helping them buy pins to share.

For more information contact Jones at 863-412-4380.

By Keila Diaz, Florida Baptist Convention, May 14, 2018

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