SAGU football standout spends semester in Zimbabwe, Africa

By Natalie Tristan
Special to Inside The Pew

It wasn’t the way Southwestern Assemblies of God University football standout Jeremiah Maat pictured his junior Maat on mission tripfootball season going.  During spring ball over a year ago, the linebacker tore his rotator cuff.  It was a season-ending injury and it changed the course of the next year.

“Having to sit out last season was the worst for me,” Maat said, “It was the first time that I haven’t played and started football in my position since I began football in seventh grade.”

It didn’t take Maat long to readjust his focus. The mission’s major from Slidell, La., decided to take an internship in Zimbabwe, Africa. He spent three months oversees, completing a semester of school while getting invaluable hands-on experience, “I worked with the missionaries on the field, and was allowed to do many things on my own such as speaking engagements, prayer meetings, and just fellowshipping with local pastors who became good friends.”

Maat worked hand in hand with local missionaries, helping to build churches, visiting villages and speaking toMaat and Group congregations. One all-night prayer meeting stood out in his memory, “We arrived at what I can only describe as a brick and mud hut. It had two rooms and no water or electricity. We had a small lantern for light and our voices for music. It was me and these amazing African people worshiping God in a hut the entire night. We sang and danced at times, cried out to God, and just sat in his presence at times.”

The semester overseas was life-changing for Maat as he came to realize people, at the core, were all the same, “It’s those moments when you make a friend despite color of skin, continent you grew up on, or amount of money you have. Those are my favorite moments.

Maat is back in the United States preparing for what will be his final season of football, “I have never worked out harder in all of my life as I am now. My shoulder is getting stronger than it has ever been, and there is no doubt in my mind that I will come in this season in my best shape.”

Being in his best shape ever is exciting news for SAGU football. In 2013, Maat helped lead his team to a 6-4 record and a Central States Football League Co-Championship, averaging nine tackles a game as a sophomore.streaming Beyond Skyline

Maat’s immediate goal is focused on his strongest football season ever, but his long-term goal is to make it back to the mission’s field, “My time overseas has changed my outlook on life a lot. I have a deeper perspective on what poverty is and what is necessary for happiness.  I learned just to love people no matter what because that is what Christianity is at the core of it all.”

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