Из России с любовью: From Russia With Love
I had the exciting privilege last week to visit on Zoom with several sports chaplains serving in Russia. The sports chaplaincy meeting featured a couple of American chaplains (including myself) sharing different chaplaincy outreach methods during this global pandemic and hearing from the Russian chaplains about the various ministry opportunities that they have had during the last year or so.
One of the things that I shared as being an “adaptation” during the pandemic has been sending audio prayers to different athletes, coaches, and staff. Different than a text message or even a Zoom Bible study or meeting, being able to pray over people — whether before a match or during a difficult time — has been one of the things that God has used during the last year to speak into people’s lives, even in spite of the distance because of COVID-19.
The Zoom meeting with he chaplains was impressive — our translator did an excellent job of conveying different words and American idioms as part of this chaplaincy training. Hosted and facilitated by Roger Lipe, who serves as the Southern Illinois University Saluki sports chaplain for FCA, the meeting lasted a little over an hour.
The digital, online meetings have been an increased feature for global sports chaplaincy during the past year, as well. In previous years, most sports chaplaincy training and connection happened in person and was difficult with travel costs and arrangements of schedules. The rise of technology like Zoom has offered more opportunities to connect and learn from and share with chaplains in sport from around the world (including a time of sharing with soccer chaplains in India, back in May 2020).
A curious thing for me was the makeup of the different sports that these Russian chaplains were involved in. While we didn’t have time for everyone to go around and share the ministry or work that they were involved in, most of the Russian chaplains that did share seemed to be working in the sport of basketball.
It was great to hear some of the stories (through translation) of how God opens doors for chaplains to serve and love the people in sport — even in Russia. As one of the chaplains shared, I couldn’t help but think, “that sounds like a familiar story” — God working through people who show love and demonstrate that they care for people. There is a certain irresistible attraction.
Please pray for chaplains in sport around the world — in Russia, in the United States and beyond!
Soccer Chaplains United is non-profit, 501(c)3 and depends upon the financial support of individual donors and church partners to carry out our work of chaplaincy service across all levels of soccer. Our chaplains are not employed or paid by any of the clubs that we serve. Simply click the PushPay (the big P or give tab) link below to make a secure, online, tax-deductible gift, or mail a donation to Soccer Chaplains United, PO Box 102081, Denver, CO 80250.