I won a gold medal!
Yes, I actually did… and I received it on the day of the Opening Ceremonies for the 2018 Winter Olympics!
Now, for the rest of the story. During the 2016 Summer Olympics, I prepared my Bible Study workbooks to be published in a print-on-demand basis and made them available through Amazon.com. I thoroughly enjoyed the Summer Olympics, with a memorable moment being that of David Boudia and Steele Johnson winning a silver medal in synchronized platform diving. Their skill was amazing, but their bold declaration of reliance upon Jesus Christ as their Savior was even more wonderful to observe. I learned more of Boudia’s story by reading his book Greater than Gold which tells of his pursuit of Olympic victories, his failures, and how he experienced salvation through Christ which is truly greater than gold.
What does this have to do with my Bible studies? The 2016 Summer Olympics serve as a landmark event during which I followed God’s leading to make my studies available to a broader audience through on-demand printing and Amazon.
In 2017, I entered 2 of my studies into the Illumination Book Awards contest, knowing that the winners would be announced in 2018. I awaited the announcement of the winners, and I looked forward to the 2018 Winter Olympics with curiosity regarding what my experience with them would be.
I learned in mid-February that I won the Gold Medal Award for Come, Let Us Worship (click title for link) and was notified that I would receive an awards packet. On the day of the Opening Ceremonies of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, that packet arrived, with a real gold medal! The excitement of the opening ceremonies brought much attention to all the gold-medal hopefuls, and I have to admit that I wore my gold medal to my daughter’s house for our Korean barbecue and Olympics party!
Because of the time difference between the US and South Korea, I followed many of the events online, through Facebook and Instagram. I was very interested in the special stories of athletes who had succeeded in making it to the winter games despite unusual circumstances – the female bobsled team from Jamaica, the Ghana skeleton slider and the Tongan cross-country skier! Because of my interest in these athletes, I was cheering for them to do well in their events… to enjoy them, do their best, and cross the finish line. Pita from Tonga is humble and funny and said he just hoped to finish before they turned the lights off and not hit a tree! The most special moment of the Winter Olympics to me was seeing the Tongan cross the finish line, and then greet his friend from Mexico as he crossed the finish line. German Madrazo was the last to finish the race, but he was celebrated almost as if he were the first… he carried the Mexican flag during the last sprint in front of the fans and he was greeted by several other skiers with warm congratulatory hugs and cheers.
For many athletes, the Olympics were not about gold medals, but about following their heart, pursuing their dreams, inspiring others and persevering through challenging circumstances.
I’ve won a gold medal, but I feel much more like the athletes who dedicated time and effort to accomplish something greater than gold. I have been teaching and writing Bible studies for more than 10 years because I want to share the love of Jesus with others. I want others to know God as He has revealed Himself in the Bible. I want others to enjoy a personal, meaningful relationship with God through His Son Jesus.
I haven’t written this article because of the gold medal. It’s not important. Before receiving it, I was already writing and teaching and sharing. In Acts 3:6 “Peter said, ‘I have neither silver nor gold, but what I have, I give to you.'”
Instruction from the word of God is better than thousands of gold and silver pieces. (Psalm 119:72)
During the 2018 Winter Olympics, I prayed for athletes and attendees to hear the gospel. To hear about Jesus. To be drawn to God for salvation. While I prayed, and watched, that cute little white tiger mascot caught my eye. Soohorang was given to the gold, silver, and bronze medalists when they won their event. Just for fun, I posted picture of Soohorang on ice, and asked if anyone could bring one home for me. My sweet mother-in-law knew of a friend who was going to the Olympics to share the gospel and asked him if he could do it. I was very excited to learn that someone was at the Olympics with the clear intention of telling others about Jesus. I had been praying for that! It was just a nice little bonus that I too was given the gift of Soohorang to go with my gold medal! (I really asked for Soohorang because he’s cute, and I thought my little granddaughter would like playing with it!)
The 2018 Winter Olympics will be just as memorable for me as the 2016 Summer Olympics! God is always doing something.
I posted this on the Jenkins Group website on the day I learned of the award: