Most of the time, going on a mission for Jesus is associated with some measure of suffering and sacrifice. I have been on many of those types of missions; on two of them, we needed to make sure we had said our goodbyes to our families properly, as the places we were going were considered dangerous, and our safety could not be guaranteed. God certainly uses these factors to shape more of Himself in the person who goes! To be honest, that sense of danger does feel more true to the origins of going on a mission for Jesus than one that feels more safe and easy.
Then there are trips such as the one I have just been on: Five guys hit the road in two off-road vehicles from Cape Town, heading north along the west coast of Africa armed with 13 surfboards, camping gear, enough food and water to last for about 6 days, film equipment and enough excitement and adrenalin to start a revolution.
Don't be fooled: There were dangers aplenty, discomfort, inconvenience and suffering. To name a few:
1. Three days of constant fog, which drenched everything outside of our tents and posed a challenge to our enthusiasm, as we couldn't film and had to surf with minimal visibility.
2. Freezing nights and mornings, which meant wearing nearly every piece of available clothing.
3. Icy cold water, which sought to freeze any exposed flesh.
4. There was the constant danger of the 'men in grey suits', as surfers like to call Great White sharks.
5. Serious injury was always a possibility, as some of the waves we surfed were really heavy, and being injured and far from civilization could be problematic.
6. No running water meant no warm showers and no toilets. So the low-lying fynbos had to suffice.
7. Last but not least, there was NO cell phone reception. This can be tantamount to torture for some!
But don't feel sorry for us – it was all part of the experience! It was authentic to what lives in the heart of adventurers!
What made everything super sweet was the goal of the trip.
Ivan van Vuuren, a sold out Christian, is a filmmaker and the founder of a faith-based TV show called XLTV. He initiated the trip so he could document it all and make a program from the footage, which will be called 'The Search'. The show will feature five surfers searching for and finding hidden treasures (waves) along a deserted coastline, and off the back of our experience the show will correlate our respective searches for meaning in life, all of which are short-lived and temporary unless we find the true treasure and meaning for living in Jesus Christ. The program will be distributed through TBN, an international broadcasting network, and aired in 170 countries – reaching up to 100 million viewers over a period of time. One of Ivan's clients includes the entire U.S. military's internal television station, which is broadcast wherever there’s a U.S. military base on the globe! Ha ha!
In terms of impact, this particular mission had the potential of being my most impactful ever – what a privilege! I was truly honored to be invited to surf for Jesus, and this was an experience I will always cherish. Going on a mission for God certainly can look different, and this trip was a reminder not to box God in. Every day is a mission day for Jesus; no matter where we are and what we are doing, we can make it count for Him.
“Go into all the world, and make disciples of all nations... and surely then I am with you to the very end of the age.”