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Jonatas Moro Soldera

 

I was born in José do Rio Preto, in the state of Sao Paolo, in Brazil, into a Christian family.  My first birthday present was from my parents: a football which I was never to let go of.  I was only four years old when my father signed me up for a five-a-side football course, and after nine years I went on to play football in full size teams.  I had my first experience outside of home at the age of thirteen, when I was called to play in the bottom category of the Santos Futebol Clube.  After that I continued to fight to see my dream come true.  I played for the Esporte Clube Rio Branco of the Americana-SP, Mirassol Futebol Clube of the Mirassol-SP, and various other teams.  Initially my plan was to go to Verona and obtain my Italian citizenship, then I could look for a football team.  But God's plan for my life was completely different.  Before setting off for Italy, I received an amazing proposal by a Brazilian agent, but when I arrived in the relevant city, I realised that that proposal had been a con and that I would have faced many difficulties.  But God who turns bad into good and has control of everything, opened a wide door in Italy using His children who, like me, believe in Him.  These people helped me and supported me throughout all my difficulties.  I will never forget everything they did for me.  Thanks to them I learned that nationality doesn't mean anything when we belong to Christ, because we serve the same God of love and in Him we are one people.  I am convinced that He who began a good work in me is faithful to be able to complete it.  Currently I play for Manfredonia Football 1932.  My decision for Christ was made when I was seven years old, in 1994.  I decided to accept Him as Lord and Saviour and to dedicate my life to Him.  It happened during a meeting one Sunday evening in the First Baptist Church of Sao José do Rio Preto.  After having explained the plan of God for salvation, the pastor in the church made an appeal, and I answered "yes" with all my heart.  From that moment, it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  Before that Sunday, I was always a headache for my parents and I never wanted to go to church.  But after having accepted Jesus, even though I was very young, my attitude towards church changed, I read the Bible with interest because I wanted to allow God to speak to my heart and let me walk in the ways set out for me by the Lord Jesus.  I remember when I asked the Lord to allow me to have an experience with football that would allow me to witness His glory and the greatness of His love.  Coming to Italy I realised how powerful He is; with Him nothing is impossible!  I witness to my friends on the football pitch every time I have the opportunity.  Some are interested, others are not, but God has His timing and His way of working...All we have to do is plant a seed in the hearts of those who will listen, and the Holy Spirit does the rest!  In our spare time, my wife and I hold a Bible Study in our home, where we invite my friends from my team.  We attend church in Manfredonia and we keep in touch with family in Brazil via the internet, as we miss them.  Chris and I want others to see Jesus in us, because He is at the centre of everything we do, even my profession: I want it to be a means to bring the Word of God to those who need it.  In the Bible we read that our life is like smoke, which appears for a moment and then vanishes (James 4:14), so we need to live it intensely, and for the Lord Jesus, because it is in Him that we find true happiness and the peace we need.  Life with Jesus on this earth is not easy, however, and is not always full of victories.  He warned us that in this world we would face afflictions, but He also promised that He had overcome the world.  God is always with us and encourages us on the journey.  With Jesus we are never alone!  Dear friend, if at this moment of reading this you open your heart and declare with your mouth that Jesus is the Lord and Saviour of your life, God will make you into a new person.  Furthermore, God promises that you will receive eternal life with Him.  May the Lord Jesus bless your life.

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