God > Gold
Thank you for all your prayers while in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the XXXI Olympiad. It was a treat to hold TWO Olympic gold medals and what an honor to return under the leadership of Dr. Sam Mings who has ministered at every Olympics since 1984 summer games in Los Angeles. Dr. Mings is founder of Lay Witnesses For Christ International and this was the second summer Olympics (London 2012 & Rio 2016) I had honor to serve as a chaplain to olympians and fans around the globe.
Jesus is Lord of The Rings @ Copacabana Beach – RIO
While in Rio, we watched God save over 1,054 souls and we had an amazing time and team. Bruce Crevier is a four time Guinness Record holder and he and his wife and 12 kids performed at Game 6 of NBA Finals this year during halftime of Warriors-Cavaliers game. He can spin 21 basketballs at one time and holds record for spinning a basketball for 23 consecutive hours. They are absolutely amazing!
We had a former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader with us with Paul &Annette Pitts. Paul is one of America’s greatest tenors and in talks with Tyler Perry about producing a upcoming project. Ronnie Dean “The Preaching Machine,” Apostle Fred Berry, Pastor Gaylan from TX and so many selfless servants. What made the difference were the prayers of you and anointed leaders on the scene like Teresa McMillan and the entire LWFCI team. Our translators were SECOND to NONE and all the hospitality and admin people were over the top! So thankful for Michelle Oliveira, Bianca Cunha, Luciana, Paula and every single person. Without one of them the mission would not have been as successful. The greatest are the servants and it was a great honor for me to serve with them!
Randy Shepherd of CrossFire Ministries is one of my dear friends and he is one of the very few people on Earth to be endorsed by Michael Jordan. Randy played basketball with MJ @ Nike Camp when they both were 16 years old and have remained friends since. Great pic of Randy and Carmelo Anthony moments after winning gold medal for Men’s Basketball.
TEAM USA Gold Medalist Carmelo Anthony &
LWFCI Chaplain Randy Shepherd
Coach Doug Collins – played @ Dr J & NBA coach to Michael Jordan
Randy & DeMarcus Cousins – USA Basketball gold medalist
(Frank, Randy, Gabrielle (Olympian) & Dr. Sam Mings)
We had honor to share the Gospel with gold medalists, silver medalists, bronze medalists and countless others. I had honor to be at the USA Women’s Basketball game when they won gold and the National Anthem STILL gives me goose bumps! What a JOY to be there in person when they received the gold around their neck.
We led THREE Uber drivers to Christ and Randy & I led our taxi cab driver to Christ and gave him a basketball on way out door!
While in line to see the iconic CHRIST THE REDEEMER statue the team shared the Gospel with a family of four and they trusted the Lord as their personal Savior. Two hours later, I ran into them on top of the mountain overlooking the gorgeous Rio skyline and they took a picture of the outstretched arms of Christ. The moment almost moved me to tears because while in line they came to meet a STATUE but they left knowing the SAVIOR!
I was told early in our ministry that EVERYONE matters to God. While ministering to the powerful and prominent we also went to the poorest of the poor into what locals told us was the most dangerous area in Rio ironically called “The City of God.” We encountered a drug lord who met the bus when we arrived and even most local police don’t like to enter that region. The drug lord had an AK-47 strapped around his back and a gun with a clip on his waist. He was riding a dirt bike with no shirt and very muscular. We were told to NOT get off the bus but what broke my heart was two children about five or six years old were climbing out of a dumpster looking for food. I broke orders and was first off the bus and followed them half a block before catching up with them and gave them Brazilian money from my pocket. I wish I could have done so much more!
Arrogance is when we depend on self. Confidence is when we depend on GOD. The Lord gave me great CONFIDENCE and when the drug lord approached us I went up to him, looked him in the eye, shook his hand and with a smile from Heaven began to talk to him with a Portuguese translator. A friend got a pic of us hugging with the machine gun strapped to his back. He gave us permission to be on “his” property and we were going to host a evangelistic outreach within the hour in the impoverished community. It literally looked like a war zone. Kids running with no shoes, playing soccer on a dirt field littered with concrete bricks and broken blocks and bottles. Nothing but dust and dirt and military helicopters occasionally flying above.
We began to go door to door inviting folks with our translator to attend the basketball ministry outreach IN THE MOST DANGEROUS PART OF RIO. They were small humble huts with no floors but dirt, tin roof and equipped with no door. Very dark, very bleak and very vulnerable. Desperation was everywhere but the Holy Spirit was in the air!
We led many to Christ before the event even started and after connecting with well over one hundred residents I noticed a motorcycle coming towards us and once again here comes the drug lord. He stopped and Randy and I said a silent prayer and we talked to him again. Randy looked him square in the eye and with the love of God and authority of Heaven boldly shared to him point blank (still with two guns on him) “You are a warrior.” The drug lord replied, “yes.” Randy went on to say, “But you are a warrior for the enemy.” At this juncture, I was trying to recall what I had for dinner the night before because it very well may have been my “Last Supper.” However, I knew those words came from God above and he after a pause he acknowledged that and no longer seemed proud of that fact. Randy, said with love – “But you need to become a warrior for God.” After translation he agreed and Randy shared the Gospel with him and within five minutes he REPENTED of SIN, professed Christ as SAVIOR and was born again into the family of God.
As long as I live I will not forget what happened next, Randy began to spin the basketball on his finger like he had a million times before and hopped on back of the former drug Lord’s motorcycle and with a machine gun between him and the new converted man to Christ and the two rode back towards where the outreach would begin. The drug lord began to invite everyone he saw encourages them all to attend the evangelistic event. Just like Saul to Paul this drug lord was now an evangelist pointing the Way and drawing a crowd. Another 250 souls were saved at that outreach! Glory to God!! On these Olympic outreaches we have seen Muslim Priests come to faith in Christ and now a drug lord. The Grace of God is not only greater than gold but greater than our guilt! #ThatWillPreach
Out of respect to him and the local pastor who lives there we were told not to post his image on social media because they could be killed. However the drug lord’s Aunt is married to a pastor in town and when she saw him she wept like Niagara Falls and said “his countenance has changed and you can clearly see the glow of God on his face.” Salvation changes EVERYTHING! We posted tons of pics on Facebook from our ministry during the Olympics and we got thousands of views and comments and grateful for everyone who helped prayed and provided to make the trip possible. Some plant – others water but the Lord brings the increase.
What a treat to reunite with nine time gold medalist Carl Lewis (above) and we spoke at an event together in RIO for our “Night of the Olympians” and I had honor to preach a multiple churches while in town and God rocked the House at every outreach. USA gold medalist Joe DeLoach called me up on stage to pray over a current Olympian from Zambabwe and he ran against Bolt from Jamaica. What an honor to lay hands over him and pray for him with two Olympians in front of a packed crowd but even greater an audience of One. The Lord was so good to us and many precious friends out of sincere concern pleaded and begged me not to go but I knew that God said, “go” and I was going. The safest place to be is in the will of God and I rather die in FAITH than live in fear.
Azerbaijan Olympic Wrestlers
Great Britain Olympic Gold Medalist Rowing
Team USA Olympic Female Rugby Player
Olympic New Zealand Silver Medalists Rugby
(Jamaican Bolt’s special edition GOLD Puma shoes)
On the midnight flight out of Rio to Sao Paulo, Brazil God had me on a commercial plane packed with Olympians trying to get home. I often feel like a pawn on His chess board moving me to where He would have me go next. Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus! NEVER let fear hold you back from accomplishing your assignment by faith. God is indeed greater than gold. #PraiseTheLord