This spring we visited two Christian Surfers nations for the first time: Canada and Barbados! These two nations are the only CS missions in the world led by women, so I (Emily) traveled with Dustin to visit them. Since Dustin had not visited Canada or Barbados previously, our main goal in each country was simply to get to know the leaders and the ministries face-to-face.
First, we headed north. Over spring break, we visited Bridget Turner in Nova Scotia. Christian Surfers Canada began in 2004 when Bridget started running an annual surf retreat called Worship on Waves. After a few years, she "began to attend conferences in the states in hopes of learning how [CSUS] were reaching out to surfers with the love of Christ on their own breaks. CS Canada seemed out of reach but through lots of prayer and God speaking to surfers, CS Canada was born Dec. 2011!"
Despite the cold, we really enjoyed spending time with Bridget and the local CS leaders. We attended church, had meetings with some key supporters and pastors, had a barbeque at the CS Nova Scotia Surf House, and (drum roll...) went surfing! Well, "we" did not go surfing - I watched from the warmth of our hosts' house! The ocean was 33.8 degrees Farenheit, and the inlets and ponds were still partially frozen, but Dustin bravely put on a thick winter wetsuit with a hood, boots, and mittens, and surfed not once, but twice! We also had some time to visit Peggy's Cove and downtown Halifax.
The day after school ended for the semester, we headed south to the small island nation of Barbados. We knew basically nothing about Barbados before we went, but we learned a lot while we were there!
It's a former British colony, so everyone speaks English and drives on the "wrong" side of the road. The currency is the Barbados Dollar, which is pegged to the US dollar at a 2:1 exchange rate. The people of Barbados are called Bajans, and they have great surfing and great fish! We tasted flying fish for the first time (delicious!) and came home with a bottle of Bajan hot pepper sauce!
We learned all that thanks to our wonderful host, Melanie Pitcher, who is leading the CS mission in Barbados, and her two adorable kids! We spent five days hanging out with Mel and surfing various breaks on the island - including the famous Soup Bowl. Mel runs a surf tour company and used to be on the Barbados national surf team, so she knew exactly where to take us to surf each day. (This time the "us" is a little more accurate - I surfed twice in Barbados.) Like we did in Nova Scotia, we met with pastors who support Christian Surfers and local leaders in the surf community. Barbados is in the process of becoming an affiliated nation with Christian Surfers, so we met with several potential leadership team members.
We are excited about what God is doing through Christian Surfers in Canada and in Barbados, and we were blessed by our time in both countries. Bridget and Mel are committed to seeking God's will and reaching the lost surfers of their countries, and we can't wait to see how God uses them and uses Christian Surfers to impact the surfing communities in Canada and Barbados!
Please join us in praying for Bridget and Mel and for the CS missions they lead. Pray for Bridget as she recruits board members and balances leading CS Canada with working full time. Pray that God will continue to bless CS Canada as it expands to Vancouver and the Great Lakes. Pray for Melanie as she prays about who God wants to be part of the leadership team of CS Barbados, and pray for the ministry there as it begins to take on a more concrete, consistent form.