Olympic fever captured the hearts of many Christian Reformed Canadians in February as the 2010 Winter Games came to Vancouver, British Columbia. But some did more than just watch the Games on television. They carried the torch, housed guests, and even won gold for Team Canada.
Eric Staal, a member of First Christian Reformed Church in Thunder Bay, Ontario, won a gold medal with Canada’s men’s hockey team.
Rebekah Posthuma, Heidi Siebring, and Dave Alexander each took a turn carrying the Olympic torch as it wound its way across Canada.
Posthuma, a member of Maranatha CRC in Edmonton, Alberta, was chosen for being physically active and environmentally green. Siebring, a member of Terrace (B.C.) CRC, was nominated for her work with the Canadian Wildlife Federation. And Alexander, a member of Immanuel CRC in Langley, British Columbia, was nominated for his environmental efforts, including selling his second car and cycling to school.
Others volunteered for the Games, providing rides, security, lodging, or fulfilling other duties. Tim VanHemert, a member of Willoughby CRC, Langley, offered his computer skills. “I was statistician during the men and women’s gold-medal curling events,” he said. “It’s a thrill.”
Roommates Meghan Mast and Sheri Poelman, both members of First CRC, Vancouver, opened their apartment to Olympic guests. “We’d heard so much about the negative aspects of the Olympics, about all the people being displaced in the Downtown Eastside, and this was a tangible way we were able to turn that into a positive.” The young women are donating the money they will receive to two charities.
The Olympics were literally in Rev. Mary-Lee Bouma’s backyard. Bouma, the pastor of “downtown friends,” a CRC church plant in Vancouver, participated in silent vigils held at strip bars and hockey games, organized by a group seeking to raise awareness of the harm done to women and children in the sex trade. “This campaign [was] not anti-Olympics but anti-exploitation of women and children,” she said.