I confess that I haven't followed Parapan events in the past, but the week that we spent serving athletes, coaches, officials and staff has really impacted me. These people are inspiring on so many levels! We watched a young runner on training runs with her guide in the village. It was amazing to watch her run. By the time the games were over she had collected 4 gold medals all while running tethered to her guide.
While we were waiting for Michelle's race, I started chatting with two athletes who were in the stands. While we were talking, I noticed the one was sipping on a can of beer he had hidden in his jacket. When I asked about their event, they told me he was a javelin thrower. What could possibly go wrong with an impaired person throwing a sharpened pole?
There's a bit of a story coming up to Michelle's race. On the Monday prior to her race, the weather was terrible. At one point, the rain was so heavy they stopped competition until conditions improved. Michelle stopped by the Faith Centre to say hello and suggested that I do speak to my Friend about the weather for the next day. We prayed with her for a safe and successful race before she left and I promised it wouldn't rain....
The next morning broke bright and clear but quickly clouded up. As we were on our way to the venue, we experienced several rain showers. By the time we got to the stadium, the rain had stopped and the track was drying. I was feeling confident until about 45 minutes prior to race time when it started to rain again. I may or may not have looked to the sky and said 'stop it' with my inside voice. :-) About 15 minutes before the race the sun broke through, the rain stopped and the conditions were perfect for Michelle to win a gold medal in the Women's 100. There's nothing like singing O Canada when someone you know has just won gold!
While these are rare opportunities, our participation at the Games is an example of what we do to support and walk with those we serve. While this particular moment is high profile and exciting, we also walk with people through difficult situations involving their health, personal and family issues. Our commitment is always to provide gold medal level ministry to those we serve whatever the need may be.
For those of you who partnered with us in our Ironman of Golf event to make this possible, we want to say thank you for your generosity and support. We could not have done this without you!