Over the next few weeks, the world will be coming together in PyeongChang to celebrate the Winter Olympics. Four years ago I was traveling with one of our Nicaraguan teams, and even though Nicaragua didn’t have a team, they were excited about the games. The Olympics are indeed one of those moments that bring us together as a global community.
We also come together as a global community and hear amazing stories about people and places that wouldn’t usually make the daily news. As the U.S. men’s and women’s hockey team gear up for the games, there’s a fascinating story about a tiny Minnesota town that produces Olympic hockey stars. Warroad, Minnesota, tucked into the U.S. just six miles from the Canadian border, has as many indoor hockey rinks as red lights. According to the New York Times, “The town has sent seven hockey players to the Olympics since 1956—four of them from the same family, the Christians—and each one has returned with a medal.” The American men’s Olympic hockey team has never won a hockey gold without a player from Warroad. And yet Warroad has a population of only 1,781. The whole town is a tad hockey-crazy (they have a player on the women’s team this year too), but they want everyone to enjoy the game. In a wonderfully inclusive way, the town leaders say they want everyone in the community to have an opportunity to use their gifts.
It’s a powerful example of what happens when small things and places—churches, small groups, families, communities—stay focused on a compelling mission and vision. As I think about the first few weeks of this year, SDUMC has been living out our vision in amazing ways, and I look forward to the way we will help each other use our gifts.
This Sunday will be another exciting day as the Scouts will join us (if you or your children are part of Scouting wear your uniform this week), we’ll welcome new members, commission members for missional work, and head to the mountains with Jesus on Transfiguration Sunday. It will be a joy to see you at 8 AM, 9 AM or 10:30 AM!
Grace and Peace, John
PS We’ll talk more about our Nicaragua trip in coming weeks but know that we are grateful for all your donations, prayers and support! Also, thank you to the many hands and feet that helped staff the Interfaith Shelter over the last two weeks!