My journey began one night in January of 2010 when a little African boy approached me in my dreams and led me out into the sea. He was walking on the water and encouraged me to as well leading me to a chair out in the ocean. When he approached me on the beach he took me by the hand and asked me to come with him because somebody wanted to tell me something. I sat down on this chair and waited for a while before I heard a voice distinctly say, "Here you will be free, here you will be more than you ever dreamt of being, here you will know a happiness like you have never known but you have to let go.' I woke up with a fright perplexed by the meaning of this dream. I had no idea how this dream would unfold in my life and what opportunities it would lead me to.
An Unimaginable Downfall
After my marriage separation and divorce proceedings commenced, I fell apart. I started to drink heavily and would come home sitting on the floor weeping and continuously drink myself into oblivion. In April of that year three months after we separated I also lost my job. I managed to find work but was without a job again in December of 2010. I couldn't keep a grip of my life and was a total mess inside. In February of 2011, I moved up to Johannesburg where I got involved with someone and it was obvious to me that I was not emotionally ready to be in a relationship. I was still angry after our divorce and lonely, hurting deep inside my soul and far from healed. My girlfriend fell pregnant and we were expecting twins. In August of that year she phoned me at work one afternoon to inform me that she had taken tablets to terminate the pregnancy. I didn't know how to respond, what to think, or feel but as the months passed the resentment towards her grew. We started to have hectic arguments and in February of 2012 we split up. I packed two bags of clothes and booked a one way bus ticket to a little coastal George on the Garden Route.
A Time to Heal
Somehow this little town and a beach at Victoria Bay, South Africa started to have a healing calming effect on me. I met a man there who became a close friend, someone I could confide in. Colin Buytendag was a South African Veteran surfer and his daughter Bianca represents South Africa internationally in surfing. Colin introduced me to surfing and encouraged me to surf and said it would be good for me. My friendship with Collin and Victoria Bay impacted my life in such that I returned to Victoria Bay in May and again September of 2012. In September I decided to extend my stay by four days and this time I bumped into someone there that was involved with a surf outreach program in Muizenberg, South Africa. This became my open door to Muizenberg Cape Town where a whole new life was about to begin for me.
Coming to Muizenberg was so much more than just a new beginning, it was the start of a new life for me. A life where the once meaningless values I placed so much focus upon shifted to a life that became focused on helping others. The more opportunities I got to help others the more I grew stronger within and healed from the pain of my divorce and passing of my twins.
I'm elated and grateful when looking back to the start of this new life and how I already had the opportunity to head up a Learn to Swim and Surf Program through GAP for a year in South Africa. (A program that reaches out to youngsters from the Cape Flats that have lost their way in life) Since March 2015, I have been involved with Dreams to Reality coordinating and heading up their Surf Outreach Program to children between the ages of 8 and 14 from the nearby disadvantaged communities. Above and beyond, I even have had the joy of being able to get children with disabilities into the sea.
Now, exciting times lay ahead as I have linked up with Iris House Children's Hospice caring for almost 212 children. This is truly where my heart lays, and John Jefforson from the States has inspired me in this area greatly. I have experienced so much joy and fulfillment through being able to use my passion for the sea and surfing to help children. Currently, my first specially designed board teaching disabled students is being manufactured and should be ready by the end of March 2016.
I have also started up a surfing ministry "Walking On Waves" that reaches out to individuals through surfing therapy. From young to old, I make my time and services available to help students that have been through traumatic and painful experiences find healing through surfing and the ocean. Please feel free to take a look at my website www.walkingonwaves.co.say
Changing the world, one wave, one smile, one soul at a time is what Walking On Waves is about.
The following is a letter I received from one of my students.
today I would like to say thank you for what you did with the disabled boy seeing that just made me happy that I could help someone else surf and allow them to feel what someone else feels when they are in the ocean.....:)
"So here's what surfing did to me it changed my life alot in different ways I never thought surfing was such and amazing sport surfing is good for your soul it makes you become a better person knowing I had a fear for sharks and surfing big waves I over came that fear but I couldn't over come it without God by my side and I just want to say thank you so much for teaching me how to surf sometimes one doesn't know how to appreciate nature but when nature appreciate you then u would soon realise what it means to a person.Surfing is good for your personal growth aswell. Growing up around the ocean I never thought is would have had such a big impact on my life. When I always go surfing and I get out of the water it cleanses me but everyone has there own interpretation of it. If you should ask me 10 different times what surfing meant to me I would probably give you 10 different answers on different occasion. It makes u feel good in every possible way. Thanks William for teaching me u changed my life." ~ Matthew Joseph