Our dear sister, and Aroma community member Nancy, who is doing full time ministry in Yilan, shared this personal update with us. Enjoy!
“Christian Surfer’s is an international organization. They share the gospel to the surfing community around the world. It’s growing in developing countries. CS Australia invited me to the Noosa festival 2018 in Australia in order to build relationships and network with surfers in Taiwan. Now they are training me to be a chaplain for surfing. In the picture on the right, Andy is the one training me.
Last September when I went to Bali for a CS conference One of the workshops, Andy talked about how chaplaincy influenced the surfing community If an influential surfer knows Jesus, then they can influence other surfers to know Him too. Before the workshop, I had been trying to do this in Taiwan for the past 3 years. So I was really excited to share with Andy that I had exactly the same thought, but I didn’t know you could call that “chaplaincy.”
2 months after that conference, Andy came to Taiwan as a chaplain for a longboard competition that was happening southeast of Taiwan.
I went to watch the competition and at that time, he encouraged me to become a chaplain. I was thinking, why? Isn’t it a good surfer the one to influence a good surfer? I don’t think I was good enough to do this. Is anything wrong with this picture?
So I told Andy I wasn’t qualified and thank you, but to find another person. And Andy explained that its not about how you “surf” but how you “serve” others. Everything just happened so fast, but the Holy spirit was telling I am qualified to do this because God qualifies me. After 4 months from the competition, I was invited to Australia to learn more about what chaplaincy was all about. Andy is also a water photographer. He will wear flippers and a helmet and use a waterproof camera to take pictures of waves and surfers surfing. He gives the picture to the competitor in order to build more relationship, trust, and conversation opportunities. Because of this trip God opened my eyes to more. When I came back to Taiwan, because of this Noosa festival experience, it opened the door for me to have more conversations with surfers.
So the Noosa festival was 8 days. The first day I wore this shirt (in the picture) and an Australian surfer came and talked to me. His name is Keenan. He’s been to Taiwan before, so when he saw my shirt he knew I was Taiwanese.
After talking with Keenan, he left and 5 minutes later and Andy came to me. He said he wanted to introduce a guy to me that has a lot of connections in Taiwan surfing community and his name is Keenan. So I said to Andy, “Oh, I just met him” And I found out then that Keenan is the world championship head judge. He had come to Taiwan many times and knows many influential Taiwanese surfers. So Andy and I both saw this was not a coincidence to have met him. Right after I left Australia was the same time Keenan was planning on doing a judge training course, here in Yilan Taiwan, 5 minutes from my house. Andy suggested for me to get a judge license from the training because it will help my ministry a lot. Can I say no to that? Is anything wrong with this picture? Wanting ME to be a surging judge? Come on Andy, isn’t it a good surfer someone who can judge?
I’m just an average longboarder, how can I become a judge? But Andy encouraged me that God made everything happen. Coming to Noosa, meeting the right people and experiencing those things. I said to myself, “hm, that’s right. If I cant even believe in myself, how can I move forward?” If I start from believing myself, it doesn’t mean I’m successful, it just means I’m moving forward one step at a time. If God trusts me, that I need to trust myself. And If God says I can do it, then I want to do it well!
So at the end of March, the week that I got back from Australia, I joined Keenan’s judging course. All my classmates are influential surfers in the Taiwanese surfing community Knowing them on the land is easier than knowing them in the water. I found out one of my classmate is a Christian. He’s a secretary in the Chinese Taipei Surfing Association. (CTSA) He left his good job in Vietnam because he felt God calling him back to Taiwan to work with surfing ministry so please pray for him and his family as they trust in God for His provisions and His leading for what he feels called to do. Its not easy to find a Christian who’s also a surfer, so I was very excited. The judging course was just 2 days.
After enough internship hours, you can become a real judge. After the course, the first competition of the year just started. Our internship started the following week! The best thing about this competition was that all the influential surfers come together. It’s a great place to network.
Taiwan’s beach culture just started to grow. So I’m hoping that the Christian values can impact this culture in order for the future to be pointed in the right direction. We just finished the judging course so my relationship with my classmates have grown closer and closer. Basically, I became a shadow judge the week after the course. I found out that most of the competitors were in High School and that actually, all of the influential surfers were the ones running the competition. So my attitude in this course was, “whatever, if I’m not good at this, I can just learn. I don’t need to be afraid.”
After the first day of competition, Keenan came over to me and told me that he had been observing me over the day and had noticed my commitment and eagerness to learning more about judging. He told me, “Instead of being a shadow judge tomorrow, I would like to offer you a chance to become a real judge!” In my mind, I was thinking, “Are you for real? “I only just started learning how to judge!” But praise the Lord. On the second day, the competition went really well and Keenan went back to Australia. I believe the next time we would see each other would be this Fall. God is showing me that being a judge is another key to reaching the surfing community.
I’m so glad that I have this chance to share this with you guys. Lots of exciting thing are happening in Taiwan.
Thank you guys so much for taking time to read about all that God is doing in my life and in Taiwan. And lastly with big updates, comes big needs. Please be praying for all these things and I need 31,000 NT, approximately $1,000 USD for me to complete my chaplaincy and continue serving God full-time in Taiwan. Anything will help! If you have more questions, don’t hesitate to reach out! God bless!”
This article was used with permission by Nancy Chang.