Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ Ester Alencar:‘There’s a Deeper Purpose’ Behind Playing and Coaching

May 10, 2021

KANSAS CITY, Mo.— She’s a go-getter.That’s the definitive word on Ester Alencar, a player with the Curitiba Silverhawks, the best female American football team in her home country of Brazil.But that’s only the beginning of her story—and of her devotion to Christ. Alencar’s passion for the game led her to coach a men’s football team and to become a volunteer with Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA, www.fca.org).

“When FCA teams visited Brazil, I saw a peace. I saw God working,” she said. “FCA changed my vision. I wanted to give my all.”

Tom Joyner, FCA’s Georgia International Advancement Coordinator, said of Alencar, “Since our first trip to Curitiba in 2015, it has been a privilege to watch Ester mature in her faith and her passion to coach and play American football. As she has translated for our teams, I’ve seen her compassion to train others develop, along with her own skills within the game. We are blessed to have many Georgia staff and coaches who are encouraging Ester with her coaching and playing skills while discipling her to grow in her faith.”

Ester Alencar grew up with a love of Christ and a love of sports—and at age 11, she began playing American football after watching her brother play it. At age 17, she joined a women’s football league, and her star rose quickly from there. She started out as a wide receiver, yet soon found herself stepping into the leadership role of quarterback.

“I decided to do what was needed for the team and embraced it,” she said. “I found out I loved being responsible.”

Introduced to FCA in Brazil when she played for the Silverhawks, Alencar traveled to the U.S. in 2018—and experienced FCA Camp in Atlanta firsthand. As she ran plays with the student-athletes and met other coaches, she sensed God leading her to return to Brazil and to coach a men’s team, Paraná HP. But the jump wasn’t easy, and she was honest about that. “I realized how hard it was as a woman to choose this path,” she said.

Still, she sensed the Lord’s calling for her—and followed her faith. Back in Brazil, in a coaching role with Paraná HP, she quickly gained the respect of others, largely due to her outstanding work ethic. She also connected with another coach who shared her faith in Christ. They would pray and talk through the joys and challenges of the job.

By 2019, she had stepped into sports ministry by translating for FCA and helping out at practices—and saw how sports could be a true platform for faith.

“I used to run away from ministry because it was a lot of responsibility and I shied away from it,” she said. “But I’ve learned it’s more about what I’m doing for others. How do I truly show my testimony and bring my faith into what I’m doing?”

As Alencar has continued to meet and serve alongside FCA teams who visit Brazil, her calling continues to stir. “I really, really love serving people and being around football,” she said.

The encouragement and affirmation Alencar has received from FCA has been life-giving, she believes. “I saw God’s love for us. It felt like they all cared about me and my future in football.” She added, “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 play and coach because I love it, and now there is a deeper purpose behind it.”

FCA’s theme for 2021 is Pursue, which is based on verse 1 of Timothy 6:11: “Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.” FCA encourages its members to pursue God’s use of His Word as an anchor, grounding Christians as they look to His Kingdom.

Read more about Fellowship of Christian Athletes here, visit FCA’s website at www.fca.org, its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TheFCATeam or its Twitter feed https://twitter.com/TheFCATeam.

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To interview a Fellowship of Christian Athletes representative, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Jeff Tolson, 610.584.1096, ext. 108, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.