A Sports Missionary

A Sports Missionary

Having our scriptures and the church magazines on display where our friends and family who are not LDS can see them, can be a great missionary tool and can lead to unimaginable consequences. This is what happened to 30 year old South African, Solomon Tumane.

He is very passionate about soccer, and spends many hours coaching young men in a football club who share his love for the sport. They not only learnt better playing skills from their coach, but eventually they learnt better life skills from this sports missionary. The young players noticed something different about their coach and were impressed by this. There was something more important in his life than soccer, and the young men became aware of this.

“Every week he used to come [to practice] with scriptures,” observed 17-year-old Siyabulela Manyakanyaka. “We could see the scriptures and Church magazines in his bag, so we started asking questions, and to answer, he would read to us,” said 17-year-old Thapleo Benjamin. The players learned that before coming to practice, Coach Tumane attended a class of religion for Mormon college students where he studied the doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“The players surprised me one day,” recalled Coach Tumane. “They said, ‘We need to visit your church.’” That was a day he will never forget. He cared about the boys and wanted them to follow the right path in life. He visited the parents of each boy one at a time and asked for their permission to fulfil the boys’ request to attend his church. After visiting the church, five of the young players were taught by the missionaries and baptised by them.

After joining the church, the young men made new friends with other young men in the church. They gain support from their new associates and are inseparable. They desire to work together for good. Although their love of soccer hasn’t diminished, they now have a greater love, the gospel of Jesus Christ, just as they had noticed in their coach.

Now their goal is to serve full-time proselytizing missions for the Church. Nothing could make their soccer coach happier. “I was eager to teach these young ones because I love them so much. … I can’t wait for them to serve.” The light of the way he lived his life and conducted himself attracted his young players, and the church literature caught their eye and gave them a clue to the goodness they saw in him, and led to the enquiry which changed their lives.