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First Week of the Games

July 26th to August 2nd

Paris area

Hope in the darkness

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me. Your guidance and your support: these are my comforts.” (Psalms 2:3-4)

A Futsal athlete in Portugal, a good friend of mine, Bebé, that’s his name, after winning the Champions League and several championships and cups, was dismissed from a top-level team at the age of 33.

This Futsal goalkeeper found himself in a very difficult period, where his career could have collapsed, or even come to an end.

After some personal struggles and frustrations, he went to the darkest place. But he and his wife, along with his church, started praying for wisdom and God gave him another team, but really smaller in terms of potential to win anything.

He left professional futsal, found a job outside futsal but stayed in the Premier League, this team fighting not to drop to a lower league.

During this desert, with some questions about his age and fitness, and also about God and why God gave him the strength to continue, he worked very hard and gave his best for his team.

The Bible says in Psalm 23 that “The Lord is our shepherd”, he is always with us, in good times and bad.

If we continue reading this Psalm, we will see that “even when we are in the valley of the shadow of death…”, in the darkness, when we see no purpose, there is always hope because God is always there.

He is our best decision, he gives us purpose and it’s always worth deciding for him.

Our hope is in God, our circumstances don’t say who we are, but God says we are valued and He is our shepherd.

The Bible says He never abandons us:

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall distress, anguish, persecution, hunger, want, danger or the sword? In fact, it’s written: For your sake we are put to death all day long, regarded as sheep for the slaughter. On the contrary, in all this we are more than conquerors, thanks to him who loved us. For I am confident that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, will be able to separate us from the love of God manifested in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35-39).

My story could end here, the Psalm gives us peace that God is always with us, at all times, but…

Bebé stayed with the team for five years, they never went to the second league, always in the top 8 of our national league.

He joined the Portuguese national team and twice won the European Cup and the World Cup, the only amateur player on our national team.

He was a case study in Portugal, cited as an example of resilience, which is true, but he emphasized all the glory of God.

His testimony is always that God is faithful and that we must always trust him, in good times and bad.

Specific prayer: Pray for all the countries where the Word of God needs to be shared, so that churches can understand the importance of sport as a means of making disciples. Either in the service of sportsmen and women, or by using the language of sport and recreation in the community. We want to see people have hope in the darkness.

Présentation personnelle : Pédro Mateus is married to Miriam and father of 4 children, 2 of whom are already married. Born and living in Portugal, serving the local and global sports movement, mainly in GOPlay (leisure). His dream is to see communities transformed by Christ through sport and leisure

Project coordination : Fred Menigoz
Illustrations/conception : Catherine Jegu
Translations : Maelle Moungounga, Caroline Sans, Tom Hawkins.

Project coordination : Fred Menigoz
Illustrations/conception : Catherine Jegu
Translations : Maelle Moungounga, Caroline Sans, Tom Hawkins.