For Orlando Perez, athletics are more than a pasttime or hobby. They changed his life; now, they’re an outlet for sharing his faith.
Perez, a guest speaker hosted by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship USA, is a gym teacher and part time staff member of Athletes InterVarsity in Philadelphia. He uses his story to help disciple and encourage students.
Finding a New Path
Growing up, Perez felt worthless. His family was big, but most members were poor role models. Many of his relatives were incarcerated or had been deported for drug activity. That was the path he assumed he would follow as well.
So it was a shock when his doctor told him drugs did not have to be his end.
Perez explains, “There was a point when I was at the doctor’s office and he said, ‘If you don’t change your lifestyle, you’re going to be dead before you’re thirty, and coming from where I came from, I thought that that was going to happen through either selling drugs and getting caught up in that game. But it was just being inactive and so that that actually helped change my mindset.”
Sports became a way for Perez to leave behind destructive health habits and stay away from drugs. Coaches and sports mentors invested in Perez and helped him gain confidence in himself. Their impact changed him. Now, Perez wants to do the same for kids he teaches.
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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Anna Deckert