- Faith & Family
During the Olympic season, the only thing most people spoke of was the world’s greatest athletes. Around the globe, people cheered on those that represented their countries. Ten thousand athletes traveled to London to either compete, root for their teammate or attend the events. Fans of course were there too. But Apostle Carlos L. Malone, Sr., pastor of The Bethel Church in Richmond
Heights, and eight church members, traveled to London for a different reason.
Their mission was to witness to as many athletes as they could and encourage Christian athletes to use their influence and popularity as a platform to share Christ with others. They also watched hundreds give their lives to Christ, according to Malone.
The ministry was created by Lay Witnesses For Christ International [LWFCI], a global sports ministry that uses athletes of today to reach the youth of tomorrow by encouraging them in Christian love.
About 200 LWFCI volunteers were in London for 21 days. The organization sponsored about five to six events per day, said Malone, who served as the international pastoral chairman. Events included: church services and Stars of Christ events that consist of concerts, performances and speeches from pastors, athletes and authors. There were also opportunities for athletes to engage in prayer or counseling.
“It’s a lot of pressure on them to win and if they lose, so we tried to posture ourselves around the Olympics to be able to give them that moral and spiritual help they need,” Malone said.
Malone worked with several athletes and many Christian volunteers including USA Olympic Gold Medalist Joe DeLoach, who won the 200 meter race in 1988 Olympics.
DeLoach has been a part of LWFCI since 1985.
“When you know who you really are in Christ and it rains in your life, your celebrity [status] will never trump your commitment to Christ,” he said.
Malone says he is satisfied with the work that was done but there’s more to do and “more witnessing for Christ.”
By Malika A. Wright