Fellowship of Christian Athletes Helped a Filipino Man Combine His Love for Christ and Coaching
FCA International’s Vision and Reach Growing Around the Globe
KANSAS CITY, Mo.—Nestor Duque compartmentalized his heart and faith—he loved God and he loved coaching. How in the world could they ever work together?
But a book changed all that, and now he does both.
Duque is working as the Dagupan City Area Director for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA, www.fca.org) in the Philippines, and he found he was able to combine two of his greatest loves through one international sports ministry.
“We absolutely love when the Lords brings new team members who love God and love sports to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes,” said FCA Executive Director of International Ministry Dan Britton. “And Nestor’s story is one we are blessed and honored to share. We are very optimistic about what he plans to do to impact coaches and athletes for Christ in the Philippines.”
Growing up in a traditionally religious family, Duque’s passionate personality was channeled into attaining observance of 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. Duque stopped striving, 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.
Duque 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 of coaching to teach the Good News.
He turned the reins over to his assistant coach, and that year, the team won its first championship without Duque at the helm.
It all but crushed him.
“I was happy for him and the history, but deep inside I was very envious,” said Duque.
Yet he sensed it was confirmation from God to leave the coaching to someone else—just one twist to his heart in a year of obedience.
A week later, Duque 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—“Excellence” from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes—combined both the love of God and sports. His heart began to beat with excitement, and Duque dashed to the register to make the purchase.
Once home, Duque 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 contacted everyone on the FCA site who had an email address listed. Within a few days, Britton responded and connected him with FCA Philippines National Director Gary Visitacion.
It was the connection Duque had been waiting for. Meanwhile, he dove back into coaching as a head coach at a university, where his team won two championships. Looking back, Duque sees his wandering and trials like those of the faithful followers of the 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.’”
Duque has since hung up his coach’s whistle to concentrate on working with FCA as the Dagupan City Area Director in the Philippines and concentrating on team chaplaincy. He’s the first area director in Dagupan, as FCA’s vision and ministry in that nation continues to grow.
“I want to make sure that players coming in will get to know Christ and be real Christians,” Duque said of his newfound passion.
For him, God and coaching were brought together at the teetering point of faith. And now, Duque is determined to live impassioned through the exhilarating freedom of serving God through sports. God brought this freedom through a small devotional book from FCA, and it’s part of Duque’s journey he never could have written himself.
“It just gets better and better,” he said, “chapter after chapter.”