Jared Azzarini, age 10, was devastated as he watched his coach and teammates board their flight to Goiânia for the Brazilian National Gymnastics Championship without him. He had prayed as hard as he could that the airport officials would let him on the plane so he could compete with his team. But they said he could not travel without his original birth certificate. All he had brought was a copy. The original was at home.
So while his team prepared to defend the national title that he had helped win in their age group the year before, he went home with his mother. He thought about his coach’s last words to him: “If you don’t make it to the competition, the whole team will lose. We need you.”
The next available flight was the following morning. It would get him to the competition, but just in time—without a chance to warm up or get used to the equipment.
“Mom,” he said when they arrived at home, “you taught me that when we pray earnestly, the Lord will answer our prayers. I have prayed with all my heart, and nothing happened. If I go on the flight tomorrow, I will have no chance.”
Jared’s mom reassured him that “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). She called the airport. Within half an hour, the airline called and asked if Jared could get to the airport immediately. A seat had opened up on a flight that would leave right away.
“Heavenly Father really does answer our prayers!” Jared thought as he hurried to his room to thank Heavenly Father.
Jared, a member of the Intercap Ward, Porto Alegre Brazil Partenon Stake, made it to the competition in time to earn a third-place individual finish and help his team win their age division’s national championship again.
When Jared was six, his mother enrolled him in the only class available for his age at the local university: gymnastics. The instructor was amazed to learn that Jared didn’t have any experience. The university’s coach tested Jared and helped him get a tryout with a well-known gymnastics club. Jared made the team, and four months later he earned an individual sixth place at a state competition.
His goal is to one day compete in the Olympics. To reach that goal, he trains five hours every day but Sunday.
Jared tries to keep his mind and body pure and not partake of things that are harmful. He knows he must take good care of his body if he wants to be a good gymnast. But his Olympic goals aren’t the only thing prompting him to take care of himself. “If I don’t keep the Word of Wisdom, besides spoiling my health, I will not be able to go back to live with Heavenly Father. The Word of Wisdom is a commandment,” Jared says.
None of Jared’s teammates are members of the Church, so he is careful to set a good example and treat others kindly. Jared has invited his friends to spend the weekend with him before and has taken them to church. He lent them white shirts and ties. “I always try to be ready to help,” he says. “I pray for my teammates who are competing and even teach them how to pray.”
Jared uses the names of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ reverently. He does not swear or use crude words, and he tries to help others do the same. He says, “My teammates watch each other so they will not say bad things, at least in front of me.”
Jared loves his family. “Anything I do with my family is wonderful,” he says. Jared’s brother, Sam, is one year older. The two of them enjoy doing things together, especially singing. They even sang at a special meeting where Bonnie D. Parkin, then Relief Society general president, and Cheryl C. Lant, Primary general president, were speaking.
Primary song: “A Child’s Prayer” (Children’s Songbook, 12–13)
Food: Rice, black beans, and mashed potatoes. Jared says, “And, of course, as a good gaucho [a person from the state of Rio Grande do Sul], I love a good barbecue.”
Sports: Gymnastics and soccer
Hobby: Video games
School subjects: Science, history, and physical education
Pets: Two dogs and two cats