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Spiritual Warrior

Former Ninja, Alexio Gomes, joins Crossroads Church By Laura Latzko For “American Ninja Warrior” Alexio Gomes, carving his own path has brought him to Anthem to the Crossroads Church, where he is the new youth pastor. Gomes just started in his new position in June, moving to Anthem from California after graduating from Hope International University. He competed in seasons seven through nine of “American Ninja Warrior,” and on season three of “American Ninja Warrior: Ninja vs. Ninja” with his brother, Lucas. The pair were known on the show as the “Brazi Bros.” As the new youth pastor at Crossroads, Gomes will work with sixth graders through high schoolers. Soon, he will incorporate his fitness and ninja training into his work at the church through a series called “Tough Mudder.” He’ll share his experiences as an athlete and competitor during these talks, but he’ll emphasize the importance of godliness and religious study and devotion. “As hard as we’re willing to work for whatever sports we’re involved in, or maybe even to get to the level of professional athlete or be on a TV show where you can win a million dollars, all of the efforts and hours of practice that we put into that, we should see there’s more value into putting that effort and hours of practice into a relationship with Jesus,” Gomes says. Gomes and his brother wrestled in high school in southern Florida, but their family pursued fitness more seriously after their mother had a heart attack in her 40s. Born in Pasadena, Gomes says the majority of his family still lives in Florida. Being away from his family has been difficult, especially while his father is being treated for cancer. Crossroads has been supportive and allowed him the time he needs to be there for his family. “It’s been hard because I’ve been pulled back home, and I also have responsibilities here and things I really want to accomplish here,” Gomes says. “That’s been hard because my focus has been split between work and my

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Alexio Gomes continues to stay healthy by rock climbing and exercising in the gym. (Photo courtesy American Ninja Warrior)

dad and family.” Gomes’ brother is a worship pastor; his sister, an assistant attorney and his mother, a personal trainer. Back home, he often felt like he was living in the shadow of his family. He is still in a period of adjustment to his new surroundings. “I think being uncomfortable is something that no one wants to be, but that helps us grow. It strengthens us to find ourselves, to become a little more independent,” Gomes says. The most difficult part is he doesn’t see a strong community of people in their 20s here. “I grew up always having people my age around me, and now moving to a place like this, it’s just really hard to find community around, especially my age,” he says. He hopes in the future, people in their 20s will become a big part of Anthem. “I would love to see that group of people rise up and bring a powerful culture for students because it’s our job to bring up the next generation,” Gomes says.

Working out He is no longer competing in ninja compe-

titions, but continues to stay healthy by rock climbing at a local Phoenix gym and working out at his apartment’s gym. When he goes back home, he trains with his brother, who made it to the city finals round on “American Ninja Warrior” season 11. Gomes believes his background as an athlete and competitor will allow him to connect with others like him. “I want to use it to reach athletes and students that already know how to have discipline in their life when it comes to physical fitness. I want to show them that there’s a good translation there when it comes to church ministry,” Gomes says. Gomes initially got involved with “American Ninja Warrior” because of his brother’s interest in ninja training and competition. The community he found made the experience more meaningful for him. “I just realized there is this crazy camaraderie in the ninja community and that kept me involved,” Gomes says. During his first two seasons, Gomes made it to the national finals in Las Vegas. His most memorable moment was during season seven when he completed the salmon ladder to advance to Vegas. Three months earlier, he broke his nose during the obstacle. “It was this big moment where I was terrified because I had literally touched the salmon ladder two or three times after I had broken my nose because I was so petrified of it,” Gomes says. “I got up the four rungs and that was enough to punch my ticket to Vegas.” Having his brother on the sidelines, cheering him on, made the experience more special. He says the show has taught him the importance of having a support system. “I think the biggest thing for me that I’ve taken from that show is that no matter what obstacles we face in life, we always want someone on the sideline cheering us on,” Gomes says. “It makes the world of the difference if you

Profile for Times Media Group

85086 Magazine September 2019  

85086 Magazine September 2019  

Profile for timespub