Luisa Avaiki

Luisa Avaiki

Sports has always been a big part of my life. I grew up in a traditional Samoan church and went to Sunday School. So I was always aware of God. But it wasn't something I thought you lived. I went to church every Sunday because I was forced to go, but during the week I did the opposite. I always tried to get out of church, so if we had a tournament on Sunday, I was happy.

My life revolved around my friends and doing what they were doing. I started drinking when I was 12, and by 14 or 15, I was a heavy drinker. I thought life was about having fun, being with friends, going out and playing sport. I basically lived two lives. One with my family, going to church and another with my friends, partying. However, at school, my family had high expectations for me to achieve. With all the partying, my grades started to suffer and I began to rebel.

During all this, one of my friends kept nagging me to come to her Youth Group. Finally, I went. The message was convicting, but all I could think about was that I had a big party to go to. Before I could make a bee-line for the door, another friend came and asked me if I wanted to go forward and accept Christ. Deep down, I knew things weren't right. People saw me as a happy-go-lucky person, but I knew my life wasn't right. I knew I was living a temporary happiness with friends, alcohol and basketball. So I went forward and accepted Christ.

Everything was different from that night that I gave my life to the Lord. My life was a mess in my studies, family and with my drinking but I felt everything was going to be alright.

A couple of years later I started playing Rugby League. Right from the start I felt God wanted me to play Rugby League. I had a Christian friend playing and a Christian coach. In the second year of playing League I got into the New Zealand team. God has taught me to not only be thankful to Him for placing me in Rugby League but also to play my best for His glory.

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My favourite verses are Philippians 4:6-7 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." and Isaiah 40:31 "but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."