FCA Philippines Dagupan City Area Director Nestor Duque compartmentalized his heart and faith, thinking he had to have one over the other. He loved God. He loved coaching. How in the world could they ever work together?
But a book changed all that, and now he does both.
How is this possible?
“Because of FCA!” he said with an overjoyed laugh.
Growing up in a traditionally religious family, Nestor’s passionate personality was channeled into attaining observance of all the Ten Commandments. “I thought I could do it, so I tried,” he said, “and it was the most difficult month of my life. I just couldn’t do it. That broke me to pieces.”
Then a pastor breathed life into his soul, telling him about God’s grace and how no amount of effort can make one right with God. Nestor stopped striving and received Christ’s already finished work on the cross and poured himself into sharing his newfound freedom.
At the same time, his passion for coaching continued to ignite.
Nestor always dreamed of being a basketball coach, but when he started living for Christ, he didn’t see how he could do both and thought he had to choose one over the other. As a high school coach, he wanted nothing more than to bring home the school’s first championship. But he sensed God asking him to give up his love to teach the Good News.
He turned the reins over to his assistant coach, and that year, the team won their first championship without Nestor at the helm.
It all but crushed him.
“I was happy for him and the history, but deep inside I was very envious,” said Nestor. In his spirit, he sensed it was confirmation from God to leave the coaching to someone else. Yet this was just one more twist to his heart in a year of obedience.
A week later, Nestor went to a mall, still distraught. Passing a book sale, he glanced at a cluster of books nestled in a box outside the store. That’s when a cover with a group of athletes huddled together and arms linked in the air caught his eye.
He picked it up and examined its contents. The devotional book, Excellence, by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, combined both the love of God and sports. His heart began to beat with excitement, and Nestor dashed to the register to make the purchase.
FCA Philippines staff Nestor Duque (left), and Jojo and Janet Villa with the FCA Excellence book.
Arriving home, Nestor visited the FCA website to learn about the ministry, and that’s when it hit him: his two worlds didn’t have to be separate.
“I come to tears every time I say this story,” he said, “because I remember the hope it gave me.”
He emailed everyone he could find that had an FCA email address on the site and shot off a query of interest. A few days later, FCA Executive Director of International Ministry Dan Britton responded, and got him in contact with FCA Philippines National Director Gary Visitacion.
This was the answer his heart had been waiting for.
Meanwhile, Nestor dove back into coaching as a head coach at a university, where his team won two championships.
Looking back, Nestor sees his wandering and trials like that of faith followers of past. “I couldn’t help but feel like I was Abraham, that God was telling me, ‘Give up the one thing you truly love,’” he said. “And right when I was about to give it up, He told me, ‘No, you don’t have to.’”
Most recently, Nestor’s hung up his coach’s whistle to concentrate on FCA and team chaplaincy. He’s the first area director in Dagupan and its vision and ministry continues to grow. “I want to make sure that players coming in will get to know Christ and be real Christians.”
God and coaching, brought together at the teetering point of faith.
“Because of FCA,” Nestor marvels.
He’s determined to live impassioned through an exhilarating freedom serving God through sports. That God brought such freedom through one small book is part of Nestor’s journey he never could have written himself. “It just gets better and better, chapter after chapter.”
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