Russian Salvationists Ready For Outreach At 2014 Winter Olympics

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An estimated 200,000 people have descended on the host city of Sochi in Southern Russia for the 2014 Winter Olympics, and The Salvation Army Eastern Europe Territory is taking advantage of the crowds by deploying an outreach ministry team of officers and soldiers.

Based Sochi and the mountain town of Krasnapolyna, team members are linking up with local churches to offer beverages and translation support when needed. In Sochi, fun zones have been set up around the property of churches with games organized for children and other activities for youths and adults.

The event also provides the opportunity to raise awareness of The Salvation Army’s worldwide anti-human trafficking program.

“We have purchased disposable cups with the Salvation Army Red Shield (in Russian) visible, as well as small packets of tissues – again with the Red Shield and Salvation Army web address – that can be freely handed out in the streets and small cards with a calendar on one side and information about The Salvation Army on the other,” said Lieut-Colonel Wendy Walters of The Salvation Army. “We have also formed links with A21, an anti-trafficking organization, which is providing material that can be given out from the church property.”

The team, who will be easy to recognize in their Salvation Army-branded winter jackets, arrives today before the opening ceremony.

Lieut-Colonel Walters says she expects that many of the visitors from around the world will know The Salvation Army from their home countries.

“We believe this is a good way to let the world know that The Salvation Army is operating in Eastern Europe,” she said. “We see it as a good outreach opportunity but also a major awareness-raising opportunity for The Salvation Army in this part of the world.”

Read the original news release from Salvation Army International Headquarters here.