Just last week, after more than six years of being on the island of Hispaniola, I took my first trip to Haiti. I had been invited a handful of times to go by different people, but hadn't made the jump till now.
Me and a couple of the guys involved with Christian Surfers here in the Dominican Republic have been praying for the potential growth of surfing and ministry to surfers in our neighboring country of Haiti for the last few years. Last year there were a couple of doctors from Hawaii that were working on the south coast in the city of Jacmel. They were offering medical services and giving surf lessons in hopes of developing tourism on Kabic Beach. After getting the surf school started they felt called to return to Hawaii and left the surf school in the hands of Joan Mamique, A French surfer who moved to Haiti doing relief work after the Earthquake and continues to work for a German NGO while trying to maintain the vision of the Hawaiian doctors.
Joan and team have had good luck as of late and the surf school has over 10 kids surfing and is open for tourists. While their impact may seem minimal, they are already providing jobs and activities for the local Haitians. It truly is the start of something much bigger. Just across the border, the Dominican Republic has become the number one tourist destination in the world. Now, Haiti has a long way to go in tourism, but even the DR had small beginnings...
Surf Haiti surf school is not a christian association. Regardless, Joan was very accommodating to me and truly reflected his heart for the local community (which he was very much integrated within) by receiving me as he did. A couple of the kids surfing are Christians and Joan encouraged me to connect with them. We were able to connect them with a local pastor who is hoping to become more involved in the kids' lives. The start of a Christian Surfers Chapter in Haiti may still be a long ways out, but there is seed planted.
In 2015, Christian Surfers Dominican Republic hopes to send a mission team to Surf Haiti to teach the local guys how to run a surf school, and run a surf contest all in the name of Jesus Christ.
Please pray for the country of Haiti when you read this. It is a country plagued with poverty (it's the poorest nation in the Americas), malnutrition, the practice of voo doo, and much more. Please pray also for Surf Haiti as they continue as the first surf school in Haiti, that God would bless them and reveal Himself to them.