Ester Alencar is a gentle-hearted soul with a fierce competitive spirit. She’s a go-getter who plays on Curitiba Silverhawks, the best female football team in her home country of Brazil. She’s also an all-in volunteer with FCA who recognizes the lasting and transformational opportunities coaches have in the realm of her beloved sport, football.
Alencar grew up with a love of sports that sharpened her focus to football when her brother began playing when she was eleven. It wasn’t until 2014, when she herself set foot on the field with a women’s league at age seventeen, that the game became a huge part of her life.
As quarterback, Alencar is used to spearheading plays and used her leadership to help to start the Silverhawks in 2015, while also finding time to coach a boy’s football team. A year later, a group of football players from the U.S. came to visit, and Alencar was introduced to FCA and to the FCA leader in Curitiba, Paulo Wescher. During the week, Alencar translated and helped at practices, outings and Huddles, and she quickly realized how sports could be a platform for faith.
“I never saw something like FCA. I always knew I had to share my faith, but I didn’t see sports as a ministry,” she said. “In my time with FCA during those trips, I saw a peace, I saw God working. FCA changed my vision. I wanted to give my all.”
Alencar jumped into volunteer with FCA, working with Wescher to start Huddles with coaches and athletes. This fall, she will begin FCA’s Bold and Beautiful study with a group of women in the sports world via Zoom and has been diligently working to translate the curriculum into Portuguese. This new Huddle has Alencar stepping out of her comfort zone. “It’s something new for me--I used to run away from [ministry] because it was a lot of responsibility and I shied away from it. But I learned it’s more about what I’m doing to others; how do I truly show my testimony and bring my faith into what I’m doing?”
"FCA changed my vision. I wanted to give my all.”
Pieces began to fall into place once Alencar graduated from college last December and served with an FCA team from Florida who visited in January. Something resonated inside her at seeing coaching done in such a caring, holistic manner, and she paid attention to it. “My favorite part of the year is when the FCA team comes to visit. I felt heartbroken when the teams left, and I started to see why it was. I really, really loved serving people and being around football; I was running around like crazy translating and being in meetings and practices, but I loved it and thought, ‘Maybe that’s my calling.’”
Continuing to pay attention and nurturing the desires in her heart helped Alencar discern God’s voice amid transition. The relationships built through football trips deepened Alencar’s commitment to serve Christ through sports, and FCA provided a platform to show her a wider lens of impact. Next year, she plans to come to the U.S. to play football but senses that God has more in store for her than just the sport.
Whatever comes for Alencar, she’s leaving all in God’s care. “I’m truly grateful for [FCA]. The need [for sports ministry] exists. It’s not about always being super ready--it’s not in my hands. He wants to use me. I played because I loved it, but now there is a deeper purpose behind it.”
Ministry is on the move in Brazil--please support FCA Brazil and commit to pray for the following:
God's favor and protection over Brazilian sports leaders, coaches and athletes as they return to serve safely during COVID-19 challenges.
Brazilian Sports Partners as they continue to raise support.
Please prayerfully consider financially supporting FCA ministry in Brazil: https://my.fca.org/donation?name=fcabrazil
Photos courtesy of Ester Alencar