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Pastor Jorge, shown after his surgery on his right ankle, has been a junior pastor for several years.  Photo: Oksana Ponomarova/ AL DIA News
Pastor Jorge, shown after his surgery on his right ankle, has been a junior pastor for several years.  Photo: Oksana Ponomarova/ AL DIA News

Soccer Injury Derails Spiritual Learning And Development

Junior Pastor and youth leader Jorge Garcia is an intricate part of the his Ministry. His spiritual leadership is sorely missed. 

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May 27th, 2022

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Junior pastor and the youth leader of the International Confederation of Theotherapy (ICT) in North East Philadelphia, Jorge Garcia received a severe leg injury that led to a complicated surgery of his right ankle. Garcia has been a junior pastor for youth during the last eight years, preaching in English and Spanish for the Latin community in the area. Now a deserved rest is inevitable. According to the doctors prognoses three to four months of recuperation will be needed before Garcia can walk again.

Since February 2017 Garcia has been in full time home care provided by his mother Gloria Cardona, who flew to the United States from Colombia to take care of her son. Sprinting for the ball during a soccer game on May 4, 2016 became unfortunate for Jorge Garcia, causing a severe leg injury. As a result his peroneal tendon was stretched and it began gradually tearing up later. “I felt a really deep sharp pain and what was really weird that I felt my ligament moving inside and out the tunnel of my ankle. It limited my life tremendously of what I could physically do, including the interaction with my son, any sports activity and daily work duties,” said Garcia.

The MRI scan showed that his peroneal tendon was torn and that surgery was needed. Following the insurance policy protocol in expectation for the surgery, which took more then eight months, Garcia suffered through on and off pain and discomfort since then.   Finally, the surgery was done on February 10, 2017 at the Rothman Orthopedic Specialty Hospital. “Three hours surgery went successfully, no complications had occurred. I was on painkillers and small doses of opium regularly for two months after surgery, because of strong post-surgery pain,” said Garcia. “ I can’t wait to come back to my regular life and start walking again.”

There are many people in the community who waiting for Pastor Garcia’s recuperation, but his 11-year-old son Brendon is waiting the most. It seems to be the longest time-out for Brendon before he can play soccer again with his dad. 

Meantime, the ICT has substituted Garcia temporarily with other spiritual leaders, who through the rotation process are teaching and counseling the youth. According to the main Pastor, Ramiro Madrid, the ICT is forming spiritual leaders through a cohesive Bible study and coaching, so they can lead a new church someday. 

“Jorge is missed very much in the community, he is an integral part of our Confederation and fulfills a lot of different areas not only by spreading the word through the Outreach Ministry and serving as a spiritual leader to the youth, but also is helping with translation and donations and is doing a lot of other administrative duties,” said Madrid.

The Outreach Ministry is a program that aims to bring the gospel outside of the church and to positively impact the community to reconcile not only with God, but among the families as well.  Garcia runs this program by spreading the word to the youth at schools and universities. It includes social services such as guidance and counseling for couples and families, coaching the youth in their life goals, leadership and education with the final goal to bring more people to Christian community and build a more loving society.

Bible Reading at ICT for the youth

As a junior pastor and spiritual leader Garcia works primarily with 18 to 24-years-old youths. “What I do is helping the youth to be ready for their life challenges. I always share my own experience and create that comfortable trustworthy environment so teens feel safe to open up and share. We also do a lot of other social activities, like games, plays and performances that not only are pledge of a good time, but teach them a life lesson as well,” said Garcia.

At 20 years-old, Nicolas Posada is one of Garcia’s students who have been going to ICT for the last 10 years. “Ministry is a second family for me, I learned a lot through Saturday’s Bible studies and everything we do through the week. Jorge is really missed here; he has been my leader for a while. Normally, he helps me to encounter my problems through Bible study and how to incorporate it to my personal life. He always shares his own experience and references to certain verses in the Bible.

Those are practical advices that help me to grow spiritually with God and also inspire me to take the right decisions in my life. One of the great things that he taught me was to appreciate what I have versus those things that I don’t have. He would also constantly check on how is my school work going and what my progress is to the goals I set and would give me a valuable advice about my relationships,” said Posada.

Right now Garcia is going through intense physical therapy at NovaCare medical center to strengthen the muscle and establish the balance after two and a half month of not being able to walk. “Current physical therapy consists of series exercises and massages. I attend NovaCare twice a week on a regular basis, using my crutches, plus I do certain exercises at home. My leg still hurts though, because I am trying to bring it to a regular walking routine, loading it with exercises, but hopefully I will be able to walk soon without crutches in full balance,” said Garcia.

There a big plans ahead on the agenda for Jorge Garcia. After full recuperation Garcia is planning to start a campaign called "Summer Fashion", which will help the youth to learn about their inner beauty and theocracy.  “Nowadays people spend fortunes in cosmetic surgeries, expensive clothes, stylists and miraculous diets, thinking that all of their personal problems come from the way they look and the way they dressed. Looking to the celebrities, whose life considered being bohemian, successful and “happy”, we falsely think that our life can be different, if we had a better physical appearance. Unfortunately, the truth is that many of them are not happy with their lives and some suffer with severe depression,” said Garcia.

 “Summer Fashion” campaign will start in the middle of July and will integrate through three dimensions of the being:  Spirit – Soul – Body. The program will offer a series of different sessions (Self-esteem, Image, Fashion, Diet, Make up) that are focused to help strengthen the concept of self-worth, self-identity, self-orientation and harmony of our Soul, Spirit and Body within God.  “We should be conscious that the face is the mirror of our Soul. A true beauty can be seen through a happy and fulfilled Soul. Internal happiness externalizes the inner beauty to our bodies,” said Garcia. This program will teach the youth how to be happy and fulfilled with themselves and how to find inner beauty within you. “Those who are happy with themselves, with their body, with their work, with their family and their friends and everything that surrounds them can feel what a real happiness and true beauty is,” said Garcia. 

 

 

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