COLUMBIA — With a cup of hot chocolate in hand, a Columbia resident will try and bring some warmth to the Winter Olympics.
Michael Kasten, a local Salvation Army church member, will be working at the Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada, as part of the Olympic Mission Team. This team will work outside at refreshment stations, offering warm drinks and hospitality in both downtown Vancouver and the nearby town of Burnaby.
Kasten, 23, was selected for the mission from a large number of volunteers.
“This hasn’t happened in the mid-Missouri area before,” said Cyndy Chapman, the local Salvation Army director of development. “We are proud they selected him.”
Kasten will join other church groups and organizations around the country and will represent the Salvation Army Columbia Corps and the Midland Division. This division’s jurisdiction covers all of Missouri — except Kansas City and six nearby counties — and Southern Illinois.
“We wanted to work with people directly and to get hands on and have people speak with us,” Kasten said.
Kasten said he also hopes to get the Salvation Army's anti-human trafficking message to an international audience.
“I’m excited to do evangelical work,” Kasten said, “and for the opportunity to talk to people from around the world about God."
Kasten has worked with various camps and was also a counselor at Camp Mihaska in Bourbon.
“I’ve been active with The Salvation Army my entire life,” Kasten said.
Kasten leaves for Vancouver on Friday and will return Feb. 21. For Kasten, this experience is more about the message than the sports.
“I just want to talk about God,” he said.