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Powerlifter. 198-pound weight class. Duncanville, Texas. Age 35.
Top lifts include Deadlift, 650; Squat, mid-500s; Bench, mid-300s. Has won two world championships.
"As the son of a preacher, you just tend to ride your parents' coattails, and people just assume you're saved. I had walked the aisle before. But when I was 13, I really understood what it meant to be sold out to Christ and I accepted him as my Savior." At the age of 25, Pearce was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and told he would spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair. He refused to accept it.
"I was just so determined to beat it. I kept praying that the Lord would heal my body, but I knew that God doesn't always work the way we want him to. My mindset was 'Lord, if it's your will that I be healed, then please heal me. If not, then so be it. But I'm going to try to beat this thing with every ounce of strength I have in my body.' "
As worship leader at his church, he had to be carried up to the altar to lead the singing. The more he sang, the more strength he seemed to get. "It was such a great blessing to be able to do that. It gave me a lot of strength. I gradually started to walk again, and in about nine to 10 months, I was completely healed. It was a complete miracle considering how sore I was before the Lord chose to heal me."
Six years ago, Pearce started lifting weights.
"At first, I didn't set out to break any records. I just started lifting because, to me, it was just another way to mock the disease and prove how powerful God is. It was really just to say, 'Hey, here's a guy who was completely healed of Rheumatoid Arthritis and now he's lifting weights. And he's able to do it because he serves an awesome God.' "
"After being so sick for so long, every day I walk into a gym is a highlight."
"Everybody gets close to the Lord in a different way. For me, I sing. I just go to the piano and play and sing praises to the Lord for 2 and 3 hours sometimes. It's very therapeutic, and it really helps me stay focused on the Lord."
Copyright © 2004 Sports Spectrum.
"I'd like to dead-lift 800 pounds some day. I'm at 650 now, so I still have a way to go."
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