by Alex Reynolds
Often I underestimate the colossal story of God that I am stuck smack dab in the middle of and His ability to orchestrate things together in a way that is far better than what we could ask or imagine. A trip like this past one to Mauritius where everyone left ridiculously encouraged, stoked, amped, jazzed, inspired, and blessed really blew the little box that I try to fit God into out of the water.
Last week Rehgert (Director of Aleph Surf) and myself traded our winter jackets, pants, and beanies for some boardshorts and tropical shirts and embarked on an adventure to second ever Indian Ocean Island Forum in Mauritius. Not fully knowing what to expect we set out to be an encouragement and blessing to the Christian Surfers of Mauritius and Reunion Island and to check out what is happening out on the tropical island.
Mauritius is an incredibly beautiful place with an insane variety of cultures, colors, tastes, smells, and people. There is warm crystal-clear blue water and breathtaking landscape. It is a tropical paradise, a blue dream. However, despite it’s outward beauty there is also a big need for love and hope on the island. It is a very spiritual place with Hindu temples and shrines around every corner and a high sense of spiritual awareness. There is also a heavy aggressive and religious spirit amongst many of the people, many chains that need to be broken, and joy that is waiting to be experienced. That being said God is doing some RAD stuff over there!
The time together during the Indian Ocean Island Forum was best described by CS Mauritius leader Andre Holl as a “flurry of stoke.” We camped on the beach, prayed together, ate together, had long meetings and discussions, surfed our brains out, cast vision, worshipped, acted like complete tourists and goofballs, surfed with groms, and had a crazy time of fellowshipping and connecting. To make things even more interesting we threw a surfer of every generation into the mix: Alex (USA 20s), Rehgert (S. Africa 30s), Mikael (Reunion Island 40s), Andre (Mauritius 50s). It was a beautiful thing to see all barriers of communication, generation, and other gaps completely broken down and each of us untied as surfers who have been changed by the love of Jesus!
Not only was it an absurdly awesome time together but there will also most definitely be eternal consequences from the time and each of us is so expectant and excited for all that God is doing in Mauritius, Reunion, and in the lives of so many surfers and others in those places. He is truly extraordinary and it is mind-boggling what he can do with a few of his kids who earnestly surrender their passion for wave-riding to His glory.
Two things that really jumped out from the time in Mauritius are provision and love.
Firstly, provision or pro-vision: it literally means for the vision. God provides for the vision. When our vision is in line with His perfect will and we are putting him first then He will and does provide. In Matthew 6:33 Jesus says “Seek first His kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” We witnessed God’s provision firsthand to start off this trip.
Andre and Yvet Holl and their family are modeling the love of Jesus in Mauritius. They have opened up their home and created a space and a place for surfers and others to experience community and the goodness and joy of God. They are running Christian Surfers on the island and have also started Salt Surfers, a mentoring program that gathers disadvantaged youth through the sports of water polo and surfing. They are currently working with a wild bunch of about 40 kids in 4 different areas of the island and has a heart to see surfers of all shapes and sizes enjoy the stoke of surfing, the discipline of water polo, and the love of Jesus.
There was a need for learn to surfboards for the Salt Surfer program and prior to the trip CS uploaded a quick profile with the needs and within a matter of hours some generous, stoke-sharing Christian Surfers from Western Australia had sponsored all of the costs of the surfboards and then some leaving us all blown away by God’s provision. Not only that but he provided an abundance: learn to surf boards from the Son Surf School in Strand, rashies and boardshorts from Billabong South Africa, new t-shirts printed for each individual kid, bodyboards, French and English Surfer Bibles.
All of these were combined into a Salt Surfer Stoke-fest down at the beach on the final day of the trip. Loads of the boys showed up for a day of crazy challenges, hot dogs, surfing, and fun down at the beach. It was amazing to see the joy and achievement on their faces as they rode their first waves. Even greater was the fact that they caught a glimpse of the BIG, mighty God who cherishes them and knows the number of hairs on their heads.
On the first day of the trip Mikael Legras, CS Reunion leader, said something that really stuck.
“Love people until they ask why.”
What a radical idea. Love people practically, unconditionally, sacrificially and let them experience love through serving and actions. Then share that love comes because he first loved us. Love people not because there is an agenda or a plan but simply because they are made in the image of God. Woah.
Mikael truly demonstrates this kind of love to everyone he meets through the innate sense of JOY that he has inside of him. He is so full of the love of Jesus that it naturally pours out of him and he couldn’t be with someone for more than five minutes without sharing about how much Jesus loves the person.
Christian Surfers is in an incredible position to love surfers until they ask why. To serve the surfers in our communities and build relationships and community in a way that points to the cross. As Christian Surfers we are taking the most selfish sport in the world and using it to love the people around us.
The love of Jesus is the ultimate blue dream. It is for you, it is for me, it is by faith, and it is happening in Mauritius and Reunion Island. Please continue to pray for the guys over there and if you would like any more information about Salt Surfers, what is happening, or how you can get involved please email: email@example.com