Tokyo 2020 Delay

    Today, Friday, July 24, 2020 was to be the Opening Ceremonies and official kick off to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.  My plan, along with millions in person and many more millions watching on tv around the world, was to spend the next 17 days focused on sports, competition. culture and the Gospel.  
    It has been months since I have written anything regarding Beyond the Rings Olympic Ministry.   I apologize to my many faithful Olympic ministry supporters for being silent for so long.  I just recently came to the understanding that I have been in mourning about the cancelling of this Summer's Olympic ministry outreach.  Tokyo 2020, like so much with the new, unpredictable COVID-19 world in which we live, took a major hit and was postponed until next Summer.
    The Summer of 2020 marks my 20th Anniversary of Olympic ministry outreach.  The Summer of 2000 found me "down under" in Sydney, Australia for my very first Olympic ministry experience.  As I have said before, and it is a bit of an understatement, that first Olympic outreach has had one of the most significant impacts on my life.  It not only awakened my passion for evangelism and missions, it sparked my concern for those in the world who have never heard about Jesus and it has resulted in profound implications for my family including the adoption of a daughter from China and another daughter pursuing opportunities to take the Gospel to the world.  I can't imagine what my life would look like without the Olympic ministry outreach as an intricate part of it. 
Every 2 years since that first Summer in Sydney, I have been "on mission" wherever the Summer or Winter Games were being held sharing the good news that Jesus forgives with people from all over the world.  That is, every 2 years until this year. (Just a reminder that while the Summer Games are held ever 4 years, and the Winter Games are held every 4 years, the IOC spaces them apart by alternating 2 years). 
With the outbreak of COVID-19 worldwide, the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo Olympic Committee wisely chose to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Games that were scheduled to start with the Opening Ceremonies today, Friday, July 24.  
    Now, Lord willing, the Tokyo 2020 Games will be held next Summer, 2021, with the Opening Ceremonies scheduled for Friday, July 23, 2021.  Just this week I marked off "TKO20" on my July 24-Aug. 8 calendars and deleted my flight information from my phone calendar.  As they say, "it's getting real!"  
    We are all trying to make the most of this uncertain and tumultuous COVID-19 world in which we currently find ourselves.  Just this week Kristine and I, along with thousands of parents across the USA, are dealing with proposed Fall school plans and the resulting impact for each of our daughters.  That has certainly been an understandable and necessary priority.  And, being one of the pastors of Chesterfield Community Church in the St. Louis area, I am also working hard to make sure we are doing all we can to keep the ministry moving forward during this time.  Needless to say, there is plenty to be distracted by.  
    As I draw my thoughts to a close, can I ask you to join me in prayer?
  • Pray for the many, worldwide, who have been impacted by COVID-19.  
  • Please pray for the Edokko, that is, the people of Tokyo
  • Pray for the IOC and the TOC and future plans, 
  • Pray for the athletes the world over who have had to adjust training, and for some, see their Olympic dreams come to an end.  
  • Pray that the Tokyo 2020 Games will be held next Summer and that many ministries will be present from all over the world to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the Japanese and the multitudes from every corner of the globe.  
  • Finally, would you pray for me and Beyond the Rings as we adjust our schedule and plans?  Lord willing, I will be in Tokyo, Japan next July - August for the Summer Games.  Pray for wisdom, discernment, planning, preparation, and finances as we seek to make the most of the unique atmosphere and opportunity that is the Olympic ministry outreach.
Praise the LORD, all nations!
     Extol him, all peoples!
For great is his steadfast love toward us,
     and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever.
Praise the Lord!
Psalms 117 (ESV)


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