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A/G man holds world arm-wrestling title

During the award ceremony at the Petaluma World Arm Wrestling Champion-ships in Petaluma, Calif., last October, Victor Torres, a junior high school counselor, waved a Christian flag after winning the World Championship.
Championship arm-wrestler Victor Torres (left) uses his sport to reach others for Christ. The Scripture on his T-shirt reads, "Whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31).

In 11 seasons in the lightweight division he has won 48 titles, including the World Championship three years in a row, the United States National Championship five times and the California State Championship seven times.

"God has been faithful," says the 42-year-old father of three who attends Harvest Church A/G (Pastor Scott Hagan) in Elk Grove, Calif. "I use wrestling as a platform to share the gospel Jesus Christ."

As a child, Torres was bullied, so he bought a weight set and began working out. In time, his physique kept the bullies at bay, but his search for peace was just beginning.

In an attempt to find meaning in life he studied hard and earned 14 college scholarships. But a few months before his high school graduation, his mother died. Heartbroken, he left for college where he eventually earned two bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Still empty, he began arm wrestling, but after losing every match he entered and injuring his arm, he gave up — more hopeless than before. But, after accepting Christ as his Savior at age 25, he found peace. Seven years later he returned to arm wrestling.

"The Lord reminded me that prior to coming to Him I was empty inside and searching," he says. "But after I was saved the desire to arm wrestle came back and [I realized] I could use it to minister to those who were lost like I once was."

Torres climbed to the top of the sport in part because of his dedication to practice and working out. But, he says, meditating on Scriptures, praying and wrestling for God’s glory have been his most effective strategy.

"For me, the key is a regular devotional time," he says. "I need to have God’s inner strength and peace. If I don’t have it together spiritually I know I am not going to do well physically."

Besides waving the Christian flag at tournaments he wears T-shirts bearing Scriptures, distributes tracts, prays for those who get injured and says, "The Lord’s best to you," to all his competitors.

At a recent tournament a wrestler was injured. Victor prayed for the wrestler who was healed instantly. In the semi finals they were pitted against each other, and Victor lost.

"I think the Lord was more glorified in that than if Victor had won," says his wife, DeAnna. "In humbling himself he received a crown greater than all his other trophies."

— Kirk Noonan


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