Para los que hablan Español Este enlace es un articlo de mi marido y los Gijón, Mariners que salio en La Nueva España.
In the month of March a local paper wanted to interview, my hubby about the work he does and his involvment with the Gijón Mariners. We were excited but didn´t want to get our hopes up too much. Within two weeks, we got a call saying that the article had run.
We got the paper and began looking for it. I was looking for a little interest article that would have maybe a small black and white picture of my hubby, so we looked through the whole paper without really finding it. Then, we went to the center section that was especially for our city. It´s called "More Gijón."
There in the middle was a full page article about my hubby, the ministry and the Gijón Mariners! IN COLOR!
What is so exciting, is that the picture that was taken in our church meeting place has on the wall behind my hubby, John 14:6 in huge letters.
This was circulated through out all of Gijón! The best literature distibution we could have ever hoped for!
Joe Contreras, in his church´s meeting place in the neighborhood of El Coto.
A pastor among mariners
Joe Contreras of the United States is a minister of the Baptist Church and player of the Gijón Mariners, with whom he joined shortly after arriving in Asturias in the year 2005.
Finding a Baptist pastor in Gijón is not easy, neither is stumbling across a football player. As such, Joe Contreras is a singular case because he brings together both conditions. Contreras is responsible for the Baptist church found in the Gijón neighborhood of El Coto, as well as a football player of the Gijón Mariners. Born in California 36 years ago, Contreras is married, has three sons, two of whom were born in Spain, where he has lived since the year 2000. “My first destination was Mataró, where I lived until 2005 [actually 2002], the year that I came to Asturias. First I was for a time in Oviedo and later Gijón,” our protagonist indicates. Joe confesses to had fallen in love with Spanish culture, which led him to even study Spanish guitar and to desire to live in Spain. He achieved that and is enchanted with the experience, which in addition has permitted him to practice the sport that he has liked most, but for diverse circumstances was not able to dedicate himself until now. “I always liked football and I played it with my friends, but I never played on a team because in high school and in college I was more in to music,” he acknowledges.
However, shortly after arriving in Gijón, he saw a guy with a football helmet under his arm leave a building - that was right in front of the building where he lives - and was interested in knowing if there was a team in Gijón in order to see games. That neighbor was Aaron Gonzalez, a player of the Gijón Mariners, and from that point on began Contreras´ relationship with the Gijón team. That was the year 2005 and since then has been on the roster. “First I played running back but now I play safety,” that is, one of the last defensive players on the field of play. Interestingly, his partner in that position is Aaron, his first casual contact with the Mariners. Contreras defines American football - for him simply football because in the United States, European football is “soccer” - as “a very technical game and above all very strategic for which you need a few years of experience before understanding well all that this sport demands.” The Mariners are a team that is starting and, according to Contreras, “is working very well with schools and institutes and even organizes training camps in which a number of young people attend,” through which he hopes that little by little this sport becomes more popular in Gijón. The Mariners began the season well, with two victories, but after had to measure up to the strongest teams in the league and suffered three losses. “You learn and improve playing against the best,” Contreras considers, to whom it is “a great way to take steps forward.”
Interested and concerned with what goes on in the city, the US citizen confesses to have been very happy for the ascent of Sporting [Gijón 1st division soccer team] “although I couldn´t see the celebration because I was in the US, but they told me about it, and I hope to see a game.” He also follows the basketball team and has some contact with the American players on the team.
To him, his dual activity as Baptist pastor and American football player does not seem that rare: “In the teams in Murcia and Granada there are two other colleagues, and in the NFL (the American professional league) there are a number of both players and coaches,” he assures. Joe Contreras is also very pleased about his pastoral work in Gijón. “We have formed a very interesting group,” he assures. A group that meets periodically in a small storefront on Quevedo street, so much so that they are looking for another larger in the same area, something that is not very easy.
So you see why I have bragging rights today! Or in my case, Praising Rights! I am so thankful to God for my wonderful hubby!