Growing Through Defeat

5 Nov 2019

When Ronald and Tatiana enter a room, excitement and energy follow them. Ronald is used to the attention. As a professional 1st division soccer player in a soccer-mad country, his name and face are renowned. But in this house, they are among friends.

Tatiana was an absolute unbeliever when she was invited to a Bible study by the wife of another player. She initially attended to be polite and in time went to question and oppose but, as she began to understand more, felt the lights go on in her head about who God is and what he had done for her.

At the end of that year, Ronald’s football team was demoted to 2nd division, which meant a substantial cut in salary. Why was this happening when Tatiana was getting closer to God? Wasn’t He supposed to help them? They looked for another team and moved cities to chase a higher pay packet. Half a year later, their marriage struggling, they were miserable in a new city, disillusioned with chasing material wealth, and felt the necessity of God in their lives like never before

They arrived back in Trujillo and immediately sought out church and gave their lives, their whole hearts, to Christ. They recognised His hand on their lives when the door opened for Ronald to re-join his previous soccer team.

‘I found my character changed. Instead of being anxious about the future, I felt a trust and confidence in God, that He was working out His purpose in our lives, even in the struggle,’ says Tatiana.

That year Ronald’s team didn’t do well enough to move to 1st division. They faced another difficult year. ‘This time was different. Our outlook had changed, and we saw God’s provision and care for us. We saw that He was more important than material wealth and comfort, He is all we need. We see many couples going through the same struggle, yet without God, their marriages are broken, their lives empty.’

At the end of last year, the team was one match away from returning to 1st division. Ronald wore a shirt underneath his football shirt with the words written boldly ‘I can do all things through Him who gives me strength’ (Philippians 4:13). The team won. They moved to 1st division and Ronald was offered a contract for two more years. Tatiana now leads her own Bible study, reaching out to the wives of other soccer players, and Ronald has started a devotion time with the players.

– Alison, a Pioneers worker serving in South America

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