World Congress on Sports
Tom was standing in front of the Seoul Olympic Complex in South Korea where the next day 13,000 athletes from 160 countries would open the games of the 24th Olympiad. But Tom wasn’t there to watch the Olympic Games even though he would have loved that.
He was there in Seoul as a delegate from the Philippines to the World Congress on Sports. The Congress brought together Christian sportsmen from over 100 countries taking advantage of the gathering of so many for the Olympic games. The plan was to meet and pray together and to try and encourage each other to use sports in the different countries represented to win people for Christ.
One morning during prayer time, Tom looked around to see hundreds of men and women on their knees with every tongue confessing that Jesus is indeed Lord. Every direction he turned he heard a different language. He heard Mandarin, French and behind him, German. To his side he heard Spanish. The room was filled with praise and requests from people from many different lands around the globe.
Sportsmen who love Christ
And what was so encouraging was that these are people who are sportsmen who love Christ. To Tom’s left was a woman from India in traditional dress who competed for her country in the Olympics in swimming and is now a coach who has two kids on the Olympic team! She wants to have a sports ministry and indeed was already using sports to win Indians to Christ.
While eating some traditional Korean dishes which included seaweed and hot kimchi, Tom fellowshipped with a Russian wrestler, a field hockey player from Pakistan, a professional soccer player from Brazil and a quarter miler from Madagascar. Tom was in a full sweat with tears running down his long American nose trying to take in that nearly combustible kimchi and these great testimonies at the same time!
For nearly two weeks Tom exchanged testimonies and stories of how God was winning athletes to Christ and using them to reach to the remotest lands. Some have won Olympic gold, while others were respected coaches or officials, referees or trainees, or pastors and laymen.
Tom’s Taiwanese roommate was once a basketball player and judo player but now was a pastor in Taipei. Though he spoke no English, snored unmercifully, and kept putting Tom’s slippers outside the door with his, they had a great friendship. Tom would try the 25 words he knew in Mandarin and then they would go into frantic waving and gesturing trying to communicate. But every morning when Tom woke up he was already up with his Bible open and knees and forehead touching the ground in prayer. That communicated plenty!
There are many in sports who will win gold, silver, and bronze medals
Others will become professionals and earn huge amounts of money. But Tom considered it the greatest privilege to use his sports ability to serve the King of Kings in reaching people from the remotest lands!
“It is no secret that I love sports. I hope it will never be a secret that I love Jesus Christ.” Tom Randall
Psalm 67 “…send us around the world with the news of your saving power and your eternal plan for all mankind… How glad the nations will be, singing for joy because you are their King… God will bless us. And peoples from remotest lands will worship Him.”