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Missions and the Super Bowl

Updated: Feb 17, 2023

Last Sunday’s Super Bowl ended an exciting NFL season. This past season will stand out for years to come due to Damar Hamlin’s near-death injury against the Bengals on January 2nd. Through Damar’s tragedy, astonishing recovery, and the NFL’s massive platform, prayer and trust in God were brought to the forefront in American media.

The leading story of the Super Bowl focused on the first time two African American quarterbacks started for the opposing teams. Decades after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball (1947), a mindset remained in the NFL that black QBs could not be successful. Doug Williams squashed that mentality forty-one years later (Super Bowl XXII - 1988) by starting for the Washington Redskins, leading them to victory, and winning the MVP trophy.

The Super Bowl opposing QBs, Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts, are shining in the NFL. Reporters and analysts repeatedly applauded the two stars for their excellence on the field. Mahomes finished first and Hurts second in the NFL season MVP voting. In addition to their athletic ability, both stars were honored for their intense work ethic and leadership skills on and off the field.

QB Patrick Mahomes with his Parents

One aspect that stood out was the emphasis on both quarterbacks’ upbringing and its role to their success. Some bold analysts highlighted that both QBs were raised in two-parent families and how that stability helped lead to their grounding and maturity in the NFL. Deion Sanders, a former NFL superstar and current college head football coach, admitted that when he recruits young quarterbacks, he’s looks for players who have been raised by both a good dad and mom.

QB Jalen Hurts with his Family

While the powers of darkness deny and attack God’s truth, His design and plan for the family is made known despite the anti-God culture. The absence of good dads and solid families have shattered children across continents, racial lines and economic barriers. Most journalists, and even many preachers, lack courage to declare truth and proclaim that God's Word is tried and true.

The Schlehlein Family - Missionaries to the Tsonga People in South Africa

ODBM missionaries, Seth & Amy Meyers and Paul & Melinda Schlehlein, have seen firsthand the devastation of the absence of fathers in rural South Africa. Statistics a few years ago stated that less than 40% of children in South Africa grow up in two-parent homes. It’s probably far less in the rural villages among the Tsonga and Venda peoples where they serve.

Book Club for Tsonga Boys in South Africa

Since the beginning of their missionary ministry over 15 years ago, Paul and Seth have focused on teaching, discipling and mentoring boys. They lead book clubs, youth activities and Bible studies to instill biblical truth and impact the culture one boy at a time. They also teach them the importance of hard work and have led them in building their own church buildings using local resources.

Training Young Men to Build a Church Building

Two years ago, they started the GYM Camp. GYM stands for Godly Young Men. In this annual camp for boys, they mentor and show them how to be godly men. They teach them practical manly things like how to swim, do a proper pushup, use a power drill, ride a dirt bike, and shoot a pellet gun. Most of all they explain God’s salvation to them and teach them Biblical truth like the importance of getting married to one wife, sacrificially loving her, and being faithful to her and their children.

GYM (Godly Young Men) Camp 2022 in South Africa

The Meyers and Schlehleins left a comfortable life in America and chose a dusty, hard life in Africa. They went to preach the Good News and make disciples. Seth and Paul live with the boys of Africa showing them what good, godly, men, husbands, and fathers look like. May God use His Church to raise up many more godly men in Africa, America and beyond to stand in the gap for His glory.

Missionary Paul Schlehlein teaching how to ride a dirt bike.

By Dave - ODBM Director

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