Man Holds World
by Kirk Noonan
During the award ceremony at the Petaluma World
Arm Wrestling Championships in Petaluma, Calif., last October, Victor
Torres, a junior high school counselor, waved a Christian flag after winning
the World Championship.
In 11 seasons in the lightweight division he has
won 48 titles, including the World Championship three years in a row, the
United States National Championship five times and the California State
Championship seven times.
?God has been faithful,? says the 42-year-old
father of three who attends Harvest Church A/G (Pastor Scott Hagan) in Elk
Grove, Calif. ?I use wrestling as a platform to share the gospel of Jesus
As a child, Torres was bullied, so he bought a
weight set and began working out. In time, his physique kept the bullies at
bay, but his search for peace was just beginning.
In an attempt to find meaning in life he studied
hard and earned 14 college scholarships. But a few months before his high
school graduation, his mother died. Heartbroken, he left for college where
he eventually earned two bachelors and master?s degrees. Still empty, he
began arm wrestling, but after losing every match he entered and injuring
his arm, he gave up ? more hopeless than before. But, after accepting
Christ as his Savior at age 25, he found peace. Seven years later he
returned to arm wrestling.
?The Lord reminded me that prior to coming to
Him I was empty inside and searching,? he says. ?But after I was saved
the desire to arm wrestle came back and (I realized) I could use it to
minister to those who were lost like I once was.?
Torres climbed to the top of the sport in part
because of his dedication to practice and working out. But, he says,
meditating on Scriptures, praying and wrestling for God?s glory have been
his most effective strategy.
?For me, the key is a regular devotional time,?
he says. ?I need to have God?s inner strength and peace. If I don?t
have it together spiritually I know I am not going to do well physically.?
Besides waving the Christian flag at tournaments
he wears T-shirts bearing Scriptures, distributes tracts, prays for those
who get injured and says, ?The Lord?s best to you,? to all his
At a recent tournament a wrestler was injured.
Victor prayed for the wrestler who was healed instantly. In the semi finals
they were pitted against each other, and Victor lost.
?I think the Lord was more glorified in that
than if Victor had won,? says his wife, DeAnna. ?In humbling himself he
received a crown greater than all his other trophies.?
?Reprinted from March 12, 2000 Pentecostal Evangel by permission?.