By Todd Starnes, Baptist Press
(Used with permission)
SAN DIEGO (BP)--A weeping security guard was the last thing Super Bowl intern Kim Guyton expected to find outside a San Diego hotel, but it proved to be an important ministry assignment for the Oklahoma Baptist University student.
Guyton, serving as an intern for the San Diego Host Committee of Super Bowl XXXVI, was returning from an errand when she encountered the distraught security guard. Guyton was accompanied by a fellow intern who was not a believer.
"I told my friend that we should go over and see if there was anything we could do to help," Guyton said. "The security guard told us her manager had been in a terrible car crash and died. She had just received the news. I asked her if I could pray with her and she said yes."
Guyton, 22, prayed with the security guard as her fellow intern looked on. For Guyton, it was one of the most powerful moments of her Super Bowl internship. "Hopefully my friend got to see how a Christian handles adversity," she said. "And being able to pray with that lady could have been the reason that I was here this week in San Diego."
While most sports fans would consider an internship at the Super Bowl the pinnacle of athletic achievement, Guyton said she sees it as a mission opportunity.
"I'm on mission for Christ this week and I love it," said Guyton, an exercise science and sports medicine major at OBU. "As much as I love sports, I love Jesus even more, and this is totally what this experience is -- a mission trip."
Guyton accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior when she was 6 years old. Her parents led her to Christ in their home. But it wasn't until a few years ago that Guyton realized she could use her athletic abilities for ministry purposes.
"I finally realized the connection between missions and real-life experiences," she said. "I had this mentality that I couldn't be on mission unless I was in Africa living in a bungalow."
As an intern with the San Diego Host Committee, Guyton works nearly 17 hours a day, supervising volunteers at the NFL Experience, a sports-themed attraction sponsored by the National Football League. The Houston native has been assigned to the committee for the month of January.
She found out about the internship through Tim Knopps, a Southern Baptist evangelist who organizes local Baptists to work in sports ministry. Last year, Knopps arranged for New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary students to minister in the New Orleans Super Bowl.
"It's so awesome to be here and to have the opportunity to witness in a secular environment," Guyton said. "There are two things I have a passion for. One is sports and the other is witnessing."
Guyton's first assignment was to establish relationships with her colleagues. "We didn't want to just start shouting out Scripture to them. We wanted to earn their trust and the way we did that was through our work ethic."
Since the internship doesn't come with a salary, Guyton has relied on the support of her parents during the month-long adventure.
"They have been so great," Guyton said. "On top of everything else, I'm getting married in a few months and my parents have just taken over all the planning."
As for the Super Bowl, Guyton said she probably won't get into the big game, but she may be invited to a few VIP parties. And her 16-year-old brother has become her biggest fan. "He calls me every day and wants to know what I bringing back for him," she said.
Guyton said she hopes more evangelical college students will apply for internships at future Super Bowls. "It's so important for us to be in the marketplace so that we can be a light for Christ," she said.