AI was born into and grew up in a middle class family. Although my parents were practising Catholics and called themselves «Christians», they were participating in seance meetings. They were «Christians» only by name. We are three children in my family of which I am the youngest. My brother was a soccer player also. In my home, I was a «good» kid but outside the home, my behaviour was different. By the age of 16, I had every bad experience a young person could have. In 1989, my brother moved to Sao Paolo and I went to live with him. I continued my studies and worked towards a career in soccer. This was invited for tryouts at my first soccer club, Sao Josees. My brother used to play for this team. The day of the tryouts came very quickly. Although there were 200-300 participants, I was one of the chosen.

I began to stay in the house that the team provided for out of town players. Even though those were hard days, I never went hungry aw my brother provided for me. Soon after, I helped a friend of mine make the same team. We used to play togother in my home town. What I didn' t know was that he had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He immediately started talking to me about it. I listened but also laughed and made fun for him. Awhile later, a new player joined our team. I didn' t know anything about him, but soon learned that he also had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Those two friends continued to share openly with everyone about their faith. They had such an impact that 10 out of the 30 players on our team accepted the message and began their walk with Christ.

In 1990 my interest in the things of the Lord was growing. A new, well-known coach joined our team by the name of Emerson Leao. He was impressed with my playing. Although there were many experienced players on the team, he decided to give me a chance. I was only 17 years old, but for a whole week he played me in the starting lineup. It was about that time when several of my Christian teammates asked me to go with them to church and to seek Godãs will for my life. After continuous petition, I decided to go with them. I didn' t uinderstand a lot but I liked it. At the end of the service the pastor came to pray with me. I asked God to help me in my soccer playing. That day I scored my first professional career goal. The next day, the newspapers named me MVP (praise the Lord). After the game I went to my brother's house. I didn't Know how to pray. I found a small room and began to praise the Lord for what had happened that day. I believe I was born again that day. I started to understand more and more. I knew I belonged to Godãs family. If I could never stop because each day he brings something new in my life. I' m praising the Lord because my family belongs to Him today: my parents, my brother, and my sister. Recently my sister was healed from cancer... blessed be the Lord.

Today I am sure that both in hapinness and in sorrow, I can turn to the Lord. He is full of promises and is always with us.

In the beginning of my career my mind wa only on fame and money. Shortly after I discovered that the best thing that could happen in someoneãs life to ask Jesus Christ into his heart. Only Christ is the truth. He offers us peace and hapinness. Only with Him can we be sure of our salvation and eternal life.

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