His vision was to go to Ocean View in his VW Golf Chicco with some surfboards and wetsuits, fill the car with kids, go down to the beach and have fun together.
This is exactly what Luki Müller and his wife Celina did when they arrived in Cape Town from Switzerland, and two-and-a-half years later they are still here and investing their lives into the kids of Ocean View by teaching them to surf under the banner of HopeTown Surf.
“We are originally from Switzerland and live in Kommetjie and gave up our jobs, apartment, our car and almost everything we possessed in Switzerland to travel the world in January 2016 and serve the people. Our first stop was in Cape Town and my goal was to then teach them how to surf, to get to know and respect the Creation and the Creator behind it. And that’s exactly what I did – but as I came to the beach with the first group of kids, they told me that they couldn’t swim and that they were basically more afraid of the sea than to see it as a fun place to be,” he says, chuckling.
They decided to work in Ocean View because of the multiple challenges the people are facing there.
“High uenmployment, drugs, crime, prostitution and young people dropping out of school are daily issues. We believe Jesus is busy doing something special in Ocean View and we want to be part of it! We also believe that there is a new generation being raised who want to bring change, who are not discouraged by the circumstances around them, who are focused and want to achieve something in life. We believe there is a lot of potential here,” he said.
What they also see is that more and more kids know about them and are interested in what they do and they want to join them.
“This is amazing and we are excited and thankful for that. We really want to focus on Ocean View - this is where our heart is and where we are called to. I realised that there was a hunger to learn in the kids, a hunger for more, a willingness to commit to something. I then took the kids to a swimming pool first and taught them how to swim.
“Now we have a group of kids who learned how to
swim and are even busy passing on their skills to other kids. We gather on a Friday afternoon, take them out of their daily environment and bring them to the beach (Muizenberg, Glencairn or Witsands, depending on the waves),” Müller said.
He and his wife play games first, do a proper warm-up and then they hit the waves together.
“I believe there is a healing happening, when we spend time in God’s creation. If it is traum, abuse, challenges or struggles - the kids forget about that for a few hours. I am always amazed by how open the kids talk about their feelings, their struggles and what is happening in their lives that bothers them. I am also amazed by the progress the kids make in their social skills, how they look out for each other and how they surf. It is incredible and we ar very proud of them,” he said.
The kids are between eight and 13 years old and his goals is that the kids can live a life to the full, that they can reach their potential and that tehy can have a life with passion and purpose.
“At the same time we’re trying to build bridges between communities. We have one kid from Kommetjie in the programme and that is amazing to see how the kids become friends and overcome the hurdles from the past.
“Surfing is my personal passion and it gives me so much and I think there is nothing more inspirational than passing your passion on to others. Surfing taught me lessons that I can translate into my everyday life. The five that are the biggest are, believe in yourself, commit to your actions, practice-practice-practice, quality over quantity and cheer people on. So if being in the creation and surf helps me, why should I hold back in sharing this with people who need it the most,” Müller said.
The kids started to swim in March and are now already able to stand on a foamie and take a wave by themselves.
“I definitely see some of them competing one day. The Kommetjie Surf Shop makes the whole programme possible through offering their rental surfboards and wetsuits for free,” he said.
“Violence, poverty, broken families, having to face struggles and conflicts every day are things that affect the way kids and teenagers are developing. It affects how they view themselves, their future, their family and their behaviour. Many young people don’t have dreams, visions, hobbies and a passion to keep them busy, active and alive.
“HopeTown Surf was officially launched in March in Ocean View and is part of a bigger youth movement in Ocean View led by Doris and Stefano Lindsay. The movement was started in the beginning of 2016 and after years of streetwork, members of All Nations decided to establish a base in Ocean View where a variation of activities and programms take place that serve the purpose of discipling, mentoring and encourage the young people in Ocean View,” Müller said.