- Associated Press - Sunday, March 2, 2014

PARAGOULD, Ark. (AP) - A Paragould man spent two weeks in Sochi, Russia amongst the world’s greatest athletes at the Winter Olympic Games not as a competitor, but as a missionary.

Doug Compton, a full-time evangelist, was part of a team of 19 missionaries who traveled to Sochi as part of Action Ministries International.

“You have over 200 countries coming to one area for 17 days,” Compton told the Paragould Daily Press (http://bit.ly/1fHUGJX). “(These are) countries that I could probably never get in or not allowed in due to the fact of missions-minded people aren’t able to get in. I was able to share the Gospel with people from all over the world in one location.”

They shared God’s word not through traditional means, but by pin trading.


Like at Disney World, pin trading is also an ongoing pastime for Olympic attendees to participate in.

Compton and the other team members participated in pin trading with hundreds of people, exchanging a particularly unique pin. He said peoples’ interest in the special pin initiated the conversations.

“The crazy part about it is that never once did I have to initiate a conversation,” Compton said. “They were initiated by the local people and the people there wanting to know about the pin that we used to share.”

He said he gave away between 700 and 800 pins during his stay. “It was one of the most sought-after pins at the Olympics,” he said.

He said the trip and the people he met there were phenomenal. Even with a language barrier issue at times, he said he was able to share the Gospel approximately 350 to 400 times.

During their stay, Compton said they wore cowboy hats as a sort of a Western theme to their daily wear. He said the team had their pictures taken at least 800 times.

“They (the people) loved those photos with people from America and USA,” Compton said. “…They would speak English, and they would want to talk about English and ask about the pin. They loved hearing what we had to say.”

He said he never had any fear for his well-being during his stay at Sochi.

“I mean, I could die in Paragould tomorrow as well as I could in Russia,” Compton said. “So it was just putting my faith in God, and saying ‘Hey, I know that He’s called me to do this.’”

He said once he arrived in Russia, he never once was worried, scared or nervous.

“It was just the people were so receptive to us,” Compton said.

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