Competition is part of childhood, whether kids are competing against friends, siblings, or themselves. The Winter Olympics, February 9-25, offer a great opportunity to foster a healthy competitive spirit as our families cheer for our favorite athletes and keep track of our country’s medals.
This year’s Winter Olympics take place in South Korea, a country that has sent out more cross-cultural global workers in recent years than almost any other country in the world! In the spirit of the South Korean Winter Olympics, watch the athletes and countries that come together in Pyeongchang with an eye for what God is doing in those places and how He loves the people in each and every one.
Here are some specific ways to not only spark your children’s interest in athletics and friendly competition, but also give your family a bigger picture of God’s world. As a family watch different Olympic events together. Grab a globe or world map and help your kids locate the countries of the competitors. Take time to talk to your kids about the countries represented, the culture of the area, and the sports being played. Here are other some questions you might discuss together:
- What country are these athletes from? Where is that on a map?
- What are the typical foods in this region?
- What do people usually wear?
- What languages do people speak?
- Do people in this country know Jesus? How many?
- How might we pray for God to be known in this country?
If you have access to an encyclopedia or an Operation World book, see what answers you can discover with your kids. Use websites like joshuaproject.net to learn about each country’s current needs and progress in the gospel.
Here is information your family might discover about the host country. South Korea is a relatively small country in East Asia between the great landmass of China and the technologically advanced country of Japan. Popular foods include kimchi, a spicy fermented vegetable dish served at most meals. South Korea is 40% Christian, has thousands of evangelical churches, and is one of the largest mission-sending countries in the world. Here are some ways your family can pray for South Korea:
- Ask God to continue to use churches there to send global workers around the world.
- Ask God to spark a new hunger for Him and His Word among the youth.
- Ask God to strengthen political relations between South and North Korea and heal the divisions between these two countries.
Engaging with your kids in an intentional way during the Olympics can give your children a bigger picture of God’s world. But don’t stop there. Challenge your kids to play a part in what God is doing in our world today by joining Jesus’ “team”. Give your children a long-term vision that includes seeing people from “every tribe, people and language standing before the throne” in heaven on that last day (Revelations 7:9).
As parents, you can help build up the next generation to be God-focused and mission-minded. Your sons and daughters can be part of something much bigger than themselves and much bigger than the Olympics: they can be a part of what God is doing to bring the nations to Himself. That is a race worth joining; that is a prize worth training for!
* If you would like daily devotions, activities, or crafts to do with your children during the Winter Olympics, join the author’s Missional Olympics Facebook group!