Kiwis in South Africa
by Luke Larking
Two of our CSNZ girls are currently in Jefferys Bay, South Africa doing the Christian Surfers CSALT program. Have a read and hear about how God's been working in their hearts over the past few months.
Tell us a bit about yourselves? Where your from, family background.
Courtney: I’m 19-years-old and have been hanging out with the CS family for 2 and a half years. Up until now I’ve been living with my family in a rural seaside suburb called Beachlands in southeast Auckland. There isn't any waves in Beachlands but majority of our friend group lives out there so there’s always plenty of missions to the Coro and Raglan that get organised!
Charlotte: I am 18-years-old and I'm from a small town in east Auckland called Maraetai Beach. I grew up there in a awesome family of six, over the last few years my friends and I have attended various CSNZ events and Scripture Union camps over the years, where I met Logan and Carmen.
What are you doing this year?
Courtney: This year I worked full time at an insurance company so I could save up enough money to get me where I am now, which is J-Bay South Africa. Im doing the CSALT program with one of my best friends Charlotte and a bunch of other young adults from all over the world.
Why did you choose to do this?
Courtney: In my last year of school I decided that I really needed to take a gap year once I finished because I was really lost in trying to answer the big question, “So what next?” That’s where Logan and Carmen came in, I knew I wanted to dedicate the year to God and really truly learn to trust Him and through that hopefully get a clearer picture for what the next few years would look like. So after travelling to J-Bay themselves for a CS leadership forum, Logs & Carmz told us about a program called CSALT which literally couldn’t have been more of a perfect fit! Learning about God, surfing everyday and getting to live in J-Bay!? Dream combo right there.
You have had struggles along the way to get to where you are. Tell us about that?
Charlotte: Though I am here now, the journey of getting here was long, tiring, and challenged me to commit to the idea and really refine myself to commit this whole year to God. As you can imagine, asking your parents permission to move to the other side of the world for five and a half months was not easy. A month before I left, my visa was declined. This month was super tough for me, I’d worked the whole year and committed myself to this idea, and now the chances were looking not so great. I put an appeal through and made various calls to the South African consulate. But in this time I realised that I’d been wanting to go for selfish reasons, God was in this explanation, but it wasn’t all for him. So I really used this month to find a deeper relationship in God, not so surface level as it had been. I found that instead of going to find God on the other side of the world, I went with God. A day before I left, I got a visa. Not the visa I applied for, but one that gave me a three-month entry. I flew down to Wellington with my Dad and collected it and flew out the next morning. So though it wasn’t the easiest journey, it really got me into shape of what to expect while I am over here, and how my relationship with God should really be. Doing life with him instead of giving him a few minutes at night before I fell asleep, or going to the other side of the world to figure things out.
What did you learn in preparation for this year?
Courtney: You learn so much! Looking back at it God has blessed me so much this year. I got a full-time job straight out of school and I’m living in J-Bay! All these things have made it the best year yet. But I also told God that I was going to trust Him and He really pushed me to do just that. I came to a place of acceptance, no matter the country; no matter the hard goodbyes and no matter if I had to do it alone or not I couldn’t deny God’s call for where I He wanted me.
What’s a day in the life of a CSALT student?
Charlotte: A morning surf before we start prayer at 8:30. Then it’s devotions, which is followed by lectures usually starting around 10 until 12! Then a 2-hour break after that so if you don’t have any assignments then a quick surf and some lunch before the afternoon activities. This is where our service comes in, we volunteer at different organisations like recycling projects or teaching kids from the township how to surf. Then depending on how much daylight is left a sunset surf could follow before having communal dinner at the CSALT house! We invite people from the community to come for dinner, life group, movie nights or other events we organise. Everyday is so different from each other, we travel heaps around serving at surf contests and outreaches round South Africa.
Dreams for the future?
Charlotte: Although I am really loving the community, friends, lectures, learning, serving…surfing here, next year I do plan on coming home to study occupational therapy. Already I'm learning more and more about who God is and His beautiful character. So yeah, super stoked for the years of studying ahead.
Courtney: I’m super stoked to be going to uni to study next year! God answered a small portion of my big question “what next” and I’m really excited for the degree I’ve chosen. I’ll be studying in Hamilton so that means moving out of the big smoke, away from home again and being a part of a different family but this time I’m super close to Raglan which is definitely the dream spot for me - future hometown I think. Other than that I’m just excited to keep surfing, keep growing in my relationships, keep saving up money to see the world, continue being inspired and grow my creativity and the best one yet fall more in love with God!
How can we pray and for you while you’re in South Africa?
Courtney: I guess the biggest thing would be for us to really press into God and soak in everything we can learn while being here as well as not taking this place for granted! To love every moment and fully commit ourselves to everything we take part in.
Charlotte: At the moment, having a few struggles with a visa extension, but the problem seems to be unfolding okay, I got the extension, but only 2 months before leaving instead of 3.
Let's do our bit to get behind these girls and support them this year as they serve God whole heartedly! We encourage you to keep them in your prayers.