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More than gold

Olympic soccer player discovers there’s more to life

By Jorge Amorim Campos

Editor’s note: Championship soccer player Jorge Amorim Campos (Jorginho) won the silver medal with the Brazilian team at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. Jorginho also played with the Brazilian team in the 1994 World Cup and professionally in Brazil, Germany and Japan. During his brilliant career he has won 10 championship titles.

Colombia was winning 1 to 0. If the score didn’t change, we would be kept from reaching the Olympic Games. The game was in the second half, and already the Colombian team was rehearsing their cry of victory. By then, our entire team was exhausted. We were playing in Bolivia, 12,000 feet above sea level, and it is not easy to breathe at such a height — you inhale but no air seems to come in.

Bebeto, one of our players, ran toward the penalty area with the ball. As the defenders closed in on him, he passed it to me. It looked like a wild rabbit streaking toward me.

"Lord," I prayed, "please, give me just one more ounce of strength."

The Colombian goalkeeper left the goal area and came toward me, but I managed to get to the ball and kick it before he reached me. It went straight to the net — tying the game. We held on to win the championship and qualified for the Seoul Olympics.

Since then I have played in hundreds of games and championships, including the World Cup and the Olympics. I thank God I’ve had the opportunity to play for winning squads like Flamengo in Brazil, Munich Bayern in Germany and for the Brazilian national team. Because of soccer I have been able to preach God’s Word all over the world.

I learned about God through people who spoke of Him, but I had no idea what it signified to be a true follower of Jesus. Even though I had everything this world had to offer, I wasn’t satisfied with my life. I didn’t have internal peace. This battle was reflected in my conduct as a player.

In 1985 I was one of the most violent defense players in Flamengo. I lost count of how many expulsions and warnings I received. I suffered so many punches that I was convinced that I was under a curse. I began looking for answers everywhere, ending up worse than I was. On top of all these problems, I didn’t have a good relationship with my fiancée Cristina, even though we profoundly loved one another.

One day my brother, who was an alcoholic, came to my house completely transformed. He told me that he had come to know Jesus Christ in a personal manner. The change in his life was incredible. Normally, he was always drunk and bitter; now he was full of joy and peace. But even with all that, I was afraid to trust in Jesus.

Then someone explained to me how Jesus had died to forgive my sins. I remembered the change in my brother. Later, Cristina and I accepted Jesus as our Savior. I found the peace I had been searching for. Now God would be included in all the decisions of our lives.

God has a great love for us; but, because of sin, there is a great separation between us and God. The Bible says that "the wages of sin is death," but the love of God is truly fantastic. Imagine, God sent His Son to die for us, so that we can return to have a relationship with Him. The Bible says that God sent His Son to die for us so that all who believe in Him should not perish, but have life eternal.

If you want to experience God’s turning point in your life also, then read John 8:31-36.


Excerpted from a Campus Crusade for Christ-Brazil Jesus Film tract and Athletes for Christ website. Used with permission.

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