Posted on January 23, 2017
FPDS Spanish Teacher and Soccer Coach Antonio Mazuecos has said that a few years ago he never would have believed he would be living in Mississippi, but the Lord has led each footstep he has taken and been by his side in every moment.
When Antonio was three-years-old, his parents became Christians. His father, an electrician, was called to a job at a pastor’s home. They were invited to his church and began to attend services, which, by God’s grace, led to a conversion for both of his parents. “My parents taught me to pursue a relationship with the Lord,” said Antonio. “They taught me to memorize the Bible and read the Bible. I was really, really good. But there was something in me that didn’t fit it. I was very afraid of what would happen to me if I died.” Deep down, Antonio knew the answer, but he didn’t truly believe. “I knew I wasn’t ready to be before the Lord, and the idea of dying without Christ terrified me more than anything in the world because I knew I would be the one to pay for my sins.”
When he was nine-years-old, Antonio attended a Christian camp in the summer. The teacher at the next table was sharing the Gospel with a few of the campers. “I was hard inside, but I heard the gospel one more time and that time was different,” he said. “The weight of my own sin hit me very hard. I saw right then my own sin and felt it very deeply.” Antonio began to cry and went to his room at the camp and asked God to forgive his sins. “After that moment, I wasn’t terrified anymore because I knew that Christ had died for my sins.”
At 18-years-old, Antonio went to college in Madrid and majored in physical education because he has always had a love of sports. However, out of a desire to help people in a “meaningful career,” he pursued a job as a detective with the Spanish government. Finding a job proved difficult in an economy with a 26 percent unemployment rate, and he found himself wondering what he was going to do.
“A pastor friend of mine invited me to the States,” Antonio said. “So I came to the U.S. to live and find a job. I was really scared, but I prayed to the Lord on the plane, thinking this was impossible.” He had many interviews, including one in Jackson, but over two years, suffered many setbacks and disappointments with his work visa. During this time, he worked in Belfast, Ireland, for seven months, all the while learning and practicing the English language. His sponsor applied for a work visa on Antonio’s behalf with a 50 percent chance of being accepted, but he was denied. Not giving up hope, Antonio returned to Spain and waited another year. His sponsor applied again on Antonio’s behalf and that time, when everyone thought it was impossible with only a 30 percent chance, the Lord answered, and he was accepted! (The rate of chance is due to the amount of applications vs. the amount of work visas available.)
“So many people were praying that I could be here that the Lord heard their prayers, and I got the visa and moved here last year to in Jackson,” he said.
This fall, Antonio joined the FPDS faculty as Spanish teacher and soccer coach. “The first thing we do in Spanish class and after soccer practice is pray because I realize that, because of the Lord’s providence, he has brought me here not only to teach or coach, but to make a difference in other people’s lives and to share the power of his grace which transforms lives. I am doing it through the talents, gifts and opportunities that he is giving me as a teacher and coach. I know the Lord has a plan for me, and he has also a plan for each one of us. If we trust in him, he will take the lead in our lives, and he will accomplish things that we would have never imagined. Christian life is not easy, but it’s worth it because we have been redeemed and we are called to be faithful wherever he leads us, and that is everywhere, from class or work or the grocery store, to the playground or soccer field.”
He recently told students in chapel: “The Lord has changed my life in a very powerful way. Now I can share Jesus with you, and I am not terrified anymore of facing God because I know my redeemer lives. I want to make him proud, and I look forward to being with him. And you can have the same hope as me. He’s waiting for you to come to Him. All your life, He waits for you. Don’t wait too long, as today is the day of salvation.”