With more than two million spectators swirling around her, Angie Quantrell joined the global spectacle in London, England, known as 2012 Olympic Games. But she was more interested in the spectators than the sporting events taking place.
Quantrell, a kindergarten teacher, joined a team of 24 people from around the United States who traveled to Great Britain for the sole purpose of telling local residents and visitors from afar that God loves them.
“I saw an ad for the London mission trip in the Mosaic magazine and had immediate interest,” said Quantrell. “I told my husband that I really wanted to take this trip even though I had missed the first months of registration. We had a team leader and I was eventually asked to lead a smaller portion of the team, because this was a large group to travel together.”
A longtime Yakima, Wash., native, Quantrell has had a long involvement with Woman’s Missionary Union, an auxiliary organization of the Southern Baptist Convention which promotes missions for all ages. She is a regular writer for WMU’s online publication as well as Mosaic magazine and preschool literature, although she has had to reduce the time she devotes to writing since teaching full time.
“Service was the main goal of the trip,” Quantrell said. “We had a simple message to tell the mostly post-modern culture that we would encounter and that is God loves them. There were so many people from so many different cultures that we were trying to lay a ground work of faith by face painting, clowning and prayer walking. All of us went at our own expense, which included two married couples among the predominantly female team.”
Team members hauled their own luggage, no small feat for some of the older team members, which also included college students. WMU personnel arranged for the team to stay at a hotel about an hour away from the Olympics, which they traveled to by train and then subway each day.
“We worked through More Than Gold, the only belief-based organization connected to the official Olympics,” said Quantrell who also serves alongside her husband, Kevin, to start Amplify, a small group of believers hoping to form into a church. “There were strict requirements we followed about what we could say in order for More Than Gold to stay in compliance with OIympic organizers. In certain areas, we couldn’t say anything about our faith, so we just served. In other zones, we shared that we came to do this because we wanted them to know God loves them. In other areas around churches, there was much more freedom to share.”
Quantrell and her teammates found public transportation the best place to strike up conversations. Everyone was interested in where they were from and she found friendly faces at every turn. Her small team set up by a bridge along the River Thames between the Tower Bridge and London Bridge. Throngs of tourists milled about, so team members would offer to take pictures, trade pins and talk. The pins were provided by More Than Gold; a booklet accompanying the pin explained the gospel message.
“A lady on our team doing clowning created balloon animals and was able to give a message as she handed them out,” Quantrell noted. “I was able to attend the men’s marathon event and it was so crowded that you were in body contact with those around you. I was able to share with a young couple from north of London in more depth. There were televisions set up in areas where we could see some of the events.”
The team encountered many other More Than Gold volunteers from other countries, although they couldn’t always speak the same language.
“More Than Gold had a prayer team going along with the torch as it went around the country and that was cool,” Quantrell said. “Another small group of our WMU team prayer walked around London and ended up at Buckingham Palace, where they often prayed aloud at the same time and ended with the Lord’s Supper at that site.”
Other endeavors occurred across London during the Olympic events. One group distributed bottled water and a church hosted a children’s event. The team routinely managed 12-hour days of service, including their commute.
“God was glowing during the Olympics,” Quantrell said. “Many people don’t know about More Than Gold, but I would encourage those who are interested to consider serving at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia or the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.”
More information about Quantrell’s experiences in London is at www.angiequantrell.blogspot.com.
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