SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA
If soccer is the world’s most popular sport, then the various World Cup soccer tournaments can surely be counted among the globe’s most popular sporting events.
Costa Rica recently staged the Women’s Under-17 World Cup, becoming the first Central American nation to host a World Cup tournament. The international competition drew top teams from 32 nations and captured the attention of “futbol” fanatics worldwide.
While the athletes and coaches plied their trades in soccer stadiums across Costa Rica, a tireless Relief Society sister named Yolanda Camacho directed the massive event outside the lines.
A lifelong soccer fan, Sister Camacho served as the managing director of the prestigious sporting event. She oversaw almost all key administrative aspects of the competition which was followed by soccer fans worldwide.
The 2014 U-17 Women’s World Cup — which was claimed by Japan — is being called a success thanks largely to the efforts of Sister Camacho. The lessons she learned from decades of Church service served her well during the event.
“As Church members, we are accustomed to participating in activities and sports,” she said. “After my World Cup experience, I can attest that the things we learn in the gospel can help us succeed in our lives. God supports and protects us.”
Sister Camacho joined the Church 43 years ago. She’s developed a lasting love for the scriptures and the Church’s educational resources. Their teachings have also helped her become a bridge builder, forging relationships with people from all over the world.
Staging a World Cup event is no small task. But Sister Camacho had high hopes for the tournament in her homeland after witnessing New Zealand and other relatively small nations host successful World Cups. She spent three years meticulously preparing for the two-week sporting event.
The planning and execution of the competition demanded leadership, perseverance and plenty of hard work. “But seeing the World Cup come to Costa Rica, and then seeing the tournament go so well, gave me great satisfaction,” she said.
Sister Camacho earned her reputation as a skilled organizer following years of volunteering at soccer events in Costa Rica.
A chiropractor by profession, Sister Camacho lives in the interior city of Alajuela with her husband, Gregory Kortman. Their two adult children, Francis and Jessica, reside in the United States.
Her various civic duties have provided her many opportunities to share her testimony of the Church.
“I consider myself an ‘anonymous ambassador’ for the Church,” she said. “Everywhere I go I speak with people — members and non-members, alike — and I always talk to them about what the gospel has done in my life.”
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