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Living Simply for 2012

June 19, 2011
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Had this submission from Annie Slattum, a Time for God volunteer, based where I did a gap year back in 1996. I was impressed with the hospitality in East London, too. And I find Annie’s faith, and her desire to see good come out of the 2012 Olympics, inspiring. 

It’s hard to believe the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games are still over a year away. In the two short months since I arrived in London, the buzz and anticipation surrounding them has become more and more palpable within the community. The locals here, particularly in East London, are very much aware of the potential excitement and change these Olympic Games could inspire, as well as the possible negatives. I have witnessed a definite hope combined with numerous reservations towards the changes 2012 could bring.

The decision to move across the pond from my California hometown was honestly not a very difficult one, and I have never looked back. The opportunity to live simply in the midst of such an exciting event has transformed into a chance to live wholly and completely within my faith. As a volunteer for a charity organization called Time for God, I am part of a specific group called Time For 2012 that focuses on infusing the Olympic buzz with the light of Christ. I live in East London, close to the Olympic site, where I work for the Parish of Walthamstow. With a primary focus on youth and children’s ministries, I look to help the parish use the coming Olympics to be a presence in the community, especially as the world’s focus increasingly turns towards East London as the center of the 2012 Games.

The amazing thing about my position as a volunteer is the ability I’ve had to truly live simply as a member of the community. With only food and a small allowance to live off of, I have to budget my money wisely and I rely on the support of many in the community. I use public transportation, or walk when I can, and I live with a host from one of the churches in the parish. I have been amazed by both the hospitality of those around me, and the humility and surprising satisfaction that comes alongside a simplified lifestyle. The longer I live here, the more I feel a part of this community, and the more passionate I become about making these Olympic Games a positive and lasting influence. It’s evident that feelings of uncertainty and negativity are definitely a part of the ongoing Olympic conversation in London, but I genuinely hope that the positive work of Christian communities can turn those feelings into an amazing evidence of God’s work, and make these Olympic and Paralympic Games a spiritually memorable experience.

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