Strength on the Mat
I was born into a broken family. My parents were separated. Their priority was to make money and they didn’t even have time to show love to me or my siblings. As a young boy I was looking for a hero, a person that I could look up to. I admired people from the Silver Screen like Sylvester Stallone. But during that period it was my brother who became a real idol to me. He was involved in martial arts. When I was 12 years old I began to practice wrestling in an attempt to seek his acceptance. After several wins I felt like I was finally someone in his eyes.
My brother went to fight in a war in Yugoslavia. When he went off to war he became even more of a hero to me. When he came back I admired the fact that he was using his strength in bars and night clubs. I even began to take after his actions. However, the hidden truth was that we both felt empty in our hearts and were searching for something more significant in life. I asked myself questions such as, “What happens to me when I die?” Not having an answer I was filled with fear and afraid of dying.
One day when my sister came home she was different, she was full of joy. At first I thought that this was unreal, but I soon realized that my anxiety came from lacking the joy she had. After I came back to the house from a party one night I didn’t know what to do with my life anymore. So I went to my sister and asked her to pray for me. I felt the presence of Christ. I asked Him to come into my heart and then my life began to change.
Three months later my brother also committed his life to Jesus. I admired him more than ever, because he was telling everyone about Christ and what He had done in his life.
I believe that God puts us in specific places. He has a plan for each one of us. I was filled with love for kids who live in orphanages. I knew that God was calling me to proclaim Christ’s love among children and youth. Together with my wife we have been serving youth for seven years so far.
I continued to practice wrestling even though it wasn’t very easy. I attempted to finish my sports career, but there were always many obstacles to overcome. I went to the Olympic Games in Athens. The fact that I even qualified was a miracle.
Through reading the Scripture Jesus has changed my way of thinking. The Lord Jesus says, “Come to Me all of you who are burdened and weary and I will give you rest.” I was competing in a very demanding sport and many times I felt that I had had enough. But when I recalled the words of Jesus, they helped me on the mat. Now however, His words help me in a different match: the match called life!
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