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Marcos Tavares: A gifted new director in Slovenia

BRANCHES - Slovenia

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Posted on: 
12 Jan 2013
Marcos Tavares: A gifted new director in Slovenia

The Bible tells us that we as Christians have been given different kinds of gifts. While some have received the gift of prophecy, others have the gift of healing. Marcos Tavares is truly blessed with spiritual gifts as well as physical ones – especially the gift of playing football.

Marcos is a professional football player, as well as a pastor, a husband, and a father of five children. In addition, he now is slated to become the National Director of ICEJ-Slovenia.

His story begins in 1984 when he was born in the city of Porto Alegre, in southern Brazil. As with most Brazilian youngsters, Marcos grew up playing football andbefore he knew it he was playing on the Brazilian national youth team for players under 15 years old.

At the age of 19 he met his wife, Letitia, and together they moved to Malaysia, where he landed a contract for a local football club. It was in this southeast Asian nation – where the majority of the population is Muslim – that Marcos and his wife came to faith in Jesus.

“It all came about thanks to a Brazilian couple from the same city as me”, recounts Marcos, who was 21 at the time. “They shared the gospel every day, and prayed for us, and it was in this way that I came to believe in Jesus. I and my wife later were baptised back in Brazil, and in May of 2011 both of us were consecrated as pastors by Apostle Antonio Melo of Portugal. So for me and my wife, we have had the same spiritual journey all the way through – it is amazing!”

Since 2008, Marcos and his family have been living in Slovenia, where he serves as captain of the club NK Maribor, champions of the Slovenian football league. Since he started to play for the team, he has won numerous accolades, including the most valuable player and top scorer awards for not only his club but the entire national league, along with the best foreign sportsman in Slovenia.

“It’s been a big blessing! This season I am already in the first position with ten goals, and I hope I will be the best scorer again”, he recently explained. “We are now in the UEFA Europa League and are playing our last game against Lazio. We can’t advance but at the same time we are the only team in Slovenia playing in the Europa League.”

In addition to a successful sports career, he and his wife also are overseeing the international fellowship Kairos Slovenia, with several dozen members.

Every day, our congregation is growing. Visitors are coming all the time. The Slovenian players are not often coming to church, but when the Brazilian players on clubs from across Europe come to Slovenia, they visit my church”, said Marcos. “Now I have another Brazilian on my team who has accepted Jesus. God is making sure to catch all Brazilian players who come to my team. Several players from Brazil have already accepted Jesus, along with a Croatian player.”

“Our church is also engaged in humanitarian activities, and outreach where we teach Spanish and English classes and collect clothes for poor people”, Marcos continued.

Today, Marcos is committed to living for Jesus while pursuing excellence on the football field.

“I am a football player and a minister of the Gospel. God chose football so that I would be able to provide for my family, but the main mission is to share the good news.”

When he moved to Slovenia, Marcos asked the Lord how to share his faith with other players and God gave him a vision to write “Jesus is the way” under his club shirt.

“So I wrote it and every time I score a goal, I show them the t-shirt. Everyone has now recognised this, including the media, and when they see me on the street they scream, ‘Jesus is the way! Jesus is the way!’”

Marcos has also become very clear and open about his support for Israel.

“Jesus was born in Israel, he died in Israel, was resurrected in Israel, and one day will come back to Israel,” he stated. “So I am teaching the members of our church about the importance of Israel and how to pray for, love and support the land of the prophets.”

In early 2013, Marcos will be formally installed as the national director of the new branch of ICEJ-Slovenia, a position that he is eager to assume. His love for Israel and the Jewish people has come from a visit to the Holy Land as well as through his pastoral overseers, Antonio and Carla Melo, the long-time national directors of ICEJ-Portugal.

“The connection with the ICEJ is a gift from God. For me, this is a big honour! It is God’s way for our life and a true miracle.”

Marcos has started to organise for the upcoming visit of Rev. Juha Ketola, the ICEJ’s International Director, to officially launch the Slovenian branch.

“We are currently inviting pastors from all over Slovenia to attend so that they can learn more about the dangers of anti-Semitic theologies, the importance Israel holds in the Bible, and that the Jews remain the chosen people of God”, Marcos said.

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