Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Asia and South America Trips 2015

Nasi Gorang, street racing and smoke enhanced sunsets. After my longest home stint in 15 years of six whole months I travelled again. Our Australasia meeting was in a more remote location away from the the tourist bustle. Some 25 of us from six nations attended ably led by our regional leader Ric ho. I enjoyed catching up with some friends beforehand who have been living in a hindu village for the past 5 years and made real inroads as accepted foreigners. I was amazed at the development of surf tourism and so many people filling the line ups from russia through to israel. The traffic also reflected the development with more cars, more bikes and mostly the same roads, it is a test of ones patience and skill to survive. After a long drive through the night we arrived at the local night market and got to eat various unknown foods from tiny street stalls with the locals, barely a foreigner in sight.

A beautiful location with waves our front and great timber architecture made this very comfortable. We had some great worship, shared stories from God at work in our lives, did training and had some surfs. I personally was representing Roy our new international director to encourage the region. I was able to deliver training about our new vision, mission, values and strategies. I gave input on sustainability in our personal lives and ministry. I engaged in strategic discussions. Perhaps best of all, I had meetings around every meal and it was good to be reminded about what quality leaders we have in our most challenging field. They are rubbing up against Islam, communism, hinduism, buddhism and it is quite costly for a christian minority and even moreso for those who would want to change their religion to follow Jesus. One brother shared how it cost him his position in his village, family and inheritance when he committed to following Jesus and yet God turned that around and he is now welcomed back as a Christian believer. Not every story turns out with a ‘happy ending’. Another brother tells of how anyone found with a bible will be imprisoned and deported or worse. 

A solid swell turned up and we all had a chance to stretch and refresh as well as have a good laugh at one anothers mistimed takeoffs. We were able to deliver surfboards and accessories to help poorer surfers the guys are supporting. Anyone interested in helping this with a donation, we spent $600 and have received $250. Donate via

It was only a five day turn around before I left for Sao Paulo Brazil…

Arriving 3 days before our leadership meeting allowed me to catch up with Sergio our national leader of the past 12 years. It has been some time since I visited as he handed over his south american role four years earlier. We visited the Bible Society where they print 35,000 bibles A DAY every day, the worlds best seller is God’s word, amazing. We discussed the reprinting of the portugues and spanish surfers bible as great resources for the most spoken surfing language (spanish speakers make up the greatest number of surfing nations). We also caught up with some old friends, talked about the challenges of leadership and ate at a great brazillian bbq restaurant!

We then had a solid day of leadership meetings joined by roy harley and Aldo Ventura our south american leader. Myself and Roy were called upon to add weight to our support of the leadership development of Brazil. It was a great time with the national team and a new board of directors to take the movement to the next level. We honour sergio for his years of service and celebrate his release to focus on church planting surfer friendly churches. 

It was then great to wander with Roy for a day to catch up, our first time to do so since we were together in Australia in may. So much to process as I realise I am handing over 15 years of accumulated international leadership. 

I was met in Chile by Matias who then drove me 5 hours south to Concepcion to check out an aid project for 2016. The small town of Bucupiero has some 10 classic left hand point breaks within 20 km of it and it is poised to boom. A tiny school was the focus of our visit and CS Chile and CS Australia will partner with the local council to build a multi purpose room next year with the local community. A holiday with purpose in partnership with our friends of Misfit Aid. 

It was great to return to Pichilemu and good friends Mitch and Juliette Anderson who ironically were at our place just 4 weeks earlier! The have shaped a YWAM base that is integrated with the community via their sports centre which also boasts am olympic sized swimming pool. Mitch surfs large, builds large, dreams large, lives large. He has a big God and figures we might as well go for it with Him! His son Nathan and wife Cole hosted me and I got to share at their surf and sports discipleship school. Chile was languishing in their longest flat spell in memory so after a week in south america I never got wet. 

Arriving home I had bounced between so many time zones It ended up a full four weeks without a full nights sleep. Tired but happy and glad God was able to use us. 

Thanks to all who made this possible.