Pacific Communications

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Our contact in the Pacific, Nev Wells, is in need of cell phones for CS leaders in order to be more efficient and carry out their mission throughout the Pacific Islands. Additionally, the CS teams are in need of legropes/leashes for their various missions throughout the islands. Would you consider supporting our CS family in the Pacific Islands by donating?

NEED:

  • 10 cell phones (can be used, but unlocked and in good condition)
  • $500 for transport and phone set-up costs.
  • 15 leg ropes/leashes

If you would like to donate a cell phone or legrope/leash, please send to:

Nev Wells
75 Cross Rd
RD3
New Plymouth 4373
New Zealand

If you feel prompted to donate financially, you may do so here (please make a note designating the funds towards 'Pacific Communications Project').

Team Trip: Mercy Huts

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An update from Dave Lovell on a recent trip to Rote, Indonesia to visit Mercy Huts. Matt and Nat Thistlewaite, the founders of Mercy Huts, welcomed a team from CS Australia, who came to encourage the local mission and start the process of building a new pool which will expand the reach and impact Mercy Huts has in their community.

“Mercy Huts was established in January 2012 when Matt & Nat Thistlewaite moved to Rote the first time to immerse themselves in the local community. They shared a mutual desire to empower people living in poverty in remote Indonesia. In 2010 we were personally impacted whilst visiting communities in East Indonesia. This region is the most severely affected by poverty and has the highest malnutrition and infant mortality rates in all of Indonesia. Locals live on less than USD$1/day. Tourism is currently being promoted in East Indonesia and can often have negative impacts on remote communities. Mercy Huts hopes to be part of the solution in reversing this trend.

Mercy Huts exists to benefit local people living in poverty in Indonesia through the provision of education, employment and training. This will be achieved through the development of beachfront retreats for holiday-makers that give back to the local community. The first of these is located in Rote Island, Indonesia. Rote Island Huts is almost complete.

We believe that everybody should have the opportunity to flourish in life and want to empower communities living in poverty in remote Indonesia. We believe in promoting human rights, preserving the environment, and helping create a sustainable, community-based tourism industry. We want to give others the opportunity to enjoy beachside holidays that empower indigenous communities – to enjoy holidays with purpose."

Jeff Ryan gave us the update on the new Mercy Huts pool; the team came not only to build the pool, but also to use it as an opportunity to work alongside the locals and empower the "new generation of Rote pool builders!"

"The pool shell is poured. It has to cure for a couple of weeks before the next phase of building. The pool will not only lift the level of accomodation but give community access to swimming. Hospitality staff will be trained in swimming and in turn teach the younger children to swim. Drowning among fishermen is an ever present danger. Also the pool operation system will model environmental sustainability to the regional development council. With filter systems that don’t chemically change the water table or impact the fragile marine ecosystem, therefore protecting the local economics of fishing and seaweed farming."

Project Profile: South Beach Stoke

Groundswell Aid is honoured to partner with an incredible project started by Christian Surfers Durban called South Beach Stoke. South Beach Stoke runs a surfing program every Saturday for Durban’s vulnerable street kids. Every Saturday, anywhere from 25-40 kids show up ready to learn, surf and be loved. They start the day off first with the word of God, they listen to a lesson on being environmentally responsible, and they close with a big group prayer. Once “Amen” is said, the kids grab their boards and sprint to the ocean where joyful chaos and the pure bliss of surfing ensues for hours. After surfing the kids all get a full lunch - for many, this may be their only meal of the day.

Groundswell: "What’s your favourite part of South Beach Stoke?"

“I love what they do for us and all the functions! I love the people, the word of God and surfing!” Participant [aka stoked grommy]

“We are just here to be in His will. We are just so stoked he uses us with Christian Surfers Durban and South Beach Stoke; to give hope to the hopeless and to give life and direction to children. All of our kids are off drugs, they are in school and we can give God all the praise, the glory and all of the credit for what we have been able to achieve so far. We are looking forward to what He is still going to do for Christian Surfers Durban - for all of the community, and the street kids especially. Amen!” Willem, SBS Leader

"Lately, our numbers [of participants] have grown over the last month for the Saturday sessions! We have been getting more kids from a different part of town, which is great. We are stoked to report that due to donations we were able to help pay for school fees and supplies for kids, we received a generous donation to buy a new trailer for all the surf gear and we’ve received bibles and surfboards. Additionally, Willem was able to meet with the Mayor of Durban who is very excited about the work we are doing and would like to come alongside our efforts to expand the work! God is good." Kyle & Anna, SBS Leaders

Prayer requests from the leaders of South Beach Stoke:

  • Prayer request for transport (kombi, minivan)
  • Prayer request for gazebo
  • Prayer request for recent family that joined us who lost home in Knysna fire last year - that they find their feet
  • Prayer request for kids during their exam period coming up
  • Prayer for one of their young female participants to find a permanent family

Upcoming Events:

The South Beach Stoke leadership is looking forward to arranging a grom surf competition and implementing beach cleanup sessions before each surf session! 

A National Director's Perspective

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Meet Francois van Heerden, the National Director of Christian Surfers South Africa. Francois has been in the role of National Director for two and a half years. He grew up surfing in Durban and currently lives in Jeffreys Bay with his wife Marieta and their three groms, all of whom are young locals in the surf and skate scene. His favorite spot here in Jeffreys Bay is of course, the legendary Supertubes. Francois notes he came into Christian Surfers as an "outsider" to the organization, as he surfed his whole life but never made the connection between surfing and living out his faith in a missions capacity. CS has given him a role where he can combine his love of surfing with his passion for missions and reaching the lost with the Good News.

How has it impacted CS South Africa having Groundswell Aid in your backyard?

I think from my perspective, we sit with these outreach ministries [here in South Africa] that have needs and as a national mission, we scratch our heads thinking how can we support these ministries financially or make things happen to equip them to fulfill their mission? They have needs that we [as a national office] aren't able to meet.

Fundraising is hard in South Africa because there is so much need. Historically, it has been difficult to raise funds for a “surf mission,” so when we want to support missions it is hard...it’s like a mountain you look up at and ask, “How on earth will we get the funding…?” Then we get Groundswell Aid which comes along and says, “Hey, we want to partner with you and help you to reach this dream of being more effective in ministry.” It’s really, really amazing to see how effective it’s working so far, even in these infancy days.

The big thing that was a question mark for some people when GS started is: is this organization coming with a “big bang” and giving donations out, or are we talking about long term relationships with [service] projects? Can trust can be built and they know that they are not just a beneficiary or a “once off?” [What’s important] is a long term relationship and in years time you can see the fruit of the donations and people can see the difference. What I appreciate about Groundswell Aid is that it has this long term outlook and goal of building relationships with and walking alongside projects.

Another thing I appreciate about Groundswell Aid is that the vetting process is so robust, which is so critical. People come into this country with a lot of money and donate things, like surfboards [for example] and think they are doing this good thing, then they leave. What ends up happening is these gifts can actually do more damage in the community then good. The issue in these cases is that it’s not run by an organization that has proper controls and boundaries in place. It’s not right to just dump things on the poor in order to feel good about yourself. We really appreciate Groundswell’s vetting process and how it is properly run. It gives me as the national leader a lot of confidence that it’s not just about “looking good” and then people [the national team] are left with a mess afterwards to clean up.

What are your hopes for Groundswell Aid in South Africa?

That it would grow in it’s reach. Currently we have two specific projects in South Africa. There are obviously a lot of needs in South Africa and for me, what's important is longevity... that Groundswell Aid will continue long term in their relationship with South Africa and it’s projects. In CS we are talking about the tension between this idea of going “deep and wide” - even if we don’t look at [adding] more projects and instead, we went “deep” with the two existing projects, that would be so huge for us. There are specific needs in these projects like transportation and even what would be amazing is assisting a leader in one of the projects to become full time. In these ways, if we can have a deep impact in a community it would be so much better as opposed to spreading ourselves too thin and not making as much of an impact.

Thanks, Francois! We are stoked for the ways God is using Christian Surfers South Africa and Groundswell Aid to make an impact in every surfing community!