Authors: Rick Bundschuh
Other books in the Soul Surfer Series:
Soul Surfer Bible
Clash (Book One)
Burned (Book Two)
Storm (Book Three)
Ask BethanyâFAQs: Surfing, Faith & Friends
Rise Above: A 90-Day Devotional
For Von, Eddie, Maggie, Aaron,
Efren, and the rest of the crew who
give of their lives and hearts to “the
least of these”
Copyright Â© 2007 by Bethany Hamilton
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ePub Edition September 2009 ISBN: 978-0-310-86850-7
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All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION Â®. Copyright Â© 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All Rights Reserved.
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Editor: Barbara Scott
Art direction and design: Merit Alderink
Interior compositon: Christine Orejuela-Winkelman
Illustrations: Monika Roe
Photography: Noah Hamilton
Table of Contents
Although this story is fiction, the situation for the orphans described in this story is very real. Bethany and her family have firsthand experience reaching out to children across our US/ Mexico borderâin towns large and small.
They could tell you that going to these places isn't always easy, but it
always an adventure.
It is Bethany's hope and mine that you will take the opportunity to embark on an adventure much like the one you will be reading about. Trust me, you won't regret it.
God has a special place in his heart for those who are forgotten or neglected by the rest of the world: the poor, the downcast, the weak, and the sick. In James 1:27, the Bible tells us that an important part of God's understanding of religions is that we take care of those who can't take care of themselves. It's his deepest desire that they be helped so that they won't ever have to go to bed hungry, wet, or cold again.
So, why doesn't he just help them, you ask? Well, he doesâthrough us. His word to us couldn't be any clearer.
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?
â1 John 3:16â17
With a little sacrifice on our part, we can actually make another person's life a little better, warmer, fuller, cleaner, or safer.
I encourage you to join your church on a mission trip. Or help put one together if it's never been done before at your church! You will be amazed, just as Bethany was when she realized she was given back far more than she ever gave.
If you aren't able to travel, a little money from babysitting or other jobs, recycled cans, or your allowance can be used to help support a child somewhere in a poverty-stricken corner of the world. Organizations like Compassion International or World Vision are great places to start.
Of course, it is easier to do nothing. To just put it out of our minds. But where would the world be if everyone thought like that? Where would
be if you were sick, hungry, cold, or homeless, and no one reached out to help you?
This is a question that Bethany asks herself during this new journeyâ¦but it's the answer she receives that is one you will never forget.
Enjoy the trip!
Bethany felt a jolt of nervous excitement as the airplane's tires hit the runway in Los Angeles. Then she glanced at the bundle of nerves sitting in the seat next to her and grinned. If there was
who understood how she was feeling at that moment, it was Holly Silva. They not only surfed together and trained together, they also survived cliff-hanging rescues together. And
was a bonding moment if there ever was one.
“So, what do you think?”
Holly gave her a shaky grin. “Guess I was having a hard time believing this was for real, until now.”
“Yeahâ¦I still can't believe we're finally on our first mission trip,” Bethany said, filled with awe as she scanned the other excited faces on the plane. The usual suspects were there: Malia, Jenna, and Monica were craning their necks to catch a glimpse of Bethany and Holly who sat a couple of rows behind. They spotted them and waved wildly, causing them to laugh.
“All of us in Mexico. This is going to be crazy!” Bethany shook her head.
“Good crazy, right?” Holly asked tentatively, and they both laughed again as Bethany continued to look around.
Black spiky hair gave Kai's location away as he gabbed with his buddies, including Dano, a large teenager with cool tribal tattoos.
A giant heart to match too,
Bethany thought, remembering how hard he had worked on the fund-raisers.
Kai said something that brought a roar of laughter from the guys, and Bethany couldn't help smiling to herself.
Not exactly your typical church youth group
, she thought. But then, that was kind of the cool thing about their group.
None of them were exactly typical.
Oh, there were some like her who came from strong Christian families, but the majority of teens peering out the windows of the 747 at the orange lights flickering from the “City of Angels” were from homes where the name of Christ was more likely used in a curse than in praise.
But that didn't seem to stop them from reaching out to Godâsomething she could totally identify with.
Kai and Dano had been drawn to their group by the wild and crazy game night Sarah and her staff had put together, but they stayed because somewhere along the way they found out Jesus was for real.
Bethany smiled to herself, remembering how blown away they all were the day their miracle financial gift appeared, allowing them to go on this mission trip.
After countless car washes and even after her crazy idea of a surf-a-thon with inflatable toys, they were still such a long way off from what they needed that a lot of them wondered if the mission trip was really going to happen. And then God showed up in his perfect time to make it possible.
No one had any doubts after that happened that God was behind them on the tripâor that he was paving the way for something good to happen.
The Fasten Seat Belt signs turned off overhead, and she and Holly, along with everyone else on the plane, scrambled for their carry-on bags.
“Okay, everyone, stick together and meet us at the gate!” Sarah, their youth director, called out before she followed her assistants, Mike and Gabe, off the plane.
“I wonder what it's going to be like,” Holly said as the group fanned out along the boarding tunnel. Bethany glanced over at her. Short, trendy hair, just a touch of lipstick (a recent victory in her makeup battle with her mom)âHolly looked cute and sure of herself, but Bethany knew Holly was just as nervous as she wasâ¦if not more.
“Guess we'll find out soon enough,” Bethany smiled, trying to sound more confident than she felt.
“Ghettos aren't pretty, that's for sure,” Jenna said.
“I hear some of the stuff we're going to do is pretty harsh,” Malia said as she slung a backpack over her shoulder.
“Great!” Monica said, giving her new manicure a worried look.
game,” Bethany announced.
game?” Kai teased, looking over his shoulder as they entered the terminal. “Car washes, surf-a-thonsâ¦” He glanced over at Dano and winked. “No telling what she'll come up with for us to do in Mexico.”
“Be afraid,” Holly said with a mischievous grin.
afraid,” Bethany added, and they all laughed.
Thirty minutes later, they were piling into the three vans idling by the curb in the early-morning light. Sarah, Mike, and Gabe were in the drivers' seats.
In spite of the all-night flight, Bethany found her mind racing, wondering about the week to come. Unlike her friends, whose heads were already bobbing back to sleep as soon as the vans hit the interstate, she had slept through most of the flight. She was used to traveling at odd hours for surf competitions.
She turned and squinted out the window at the California scenery flashing by. She thought about Sarah's description of some of the work they would be doing in the ghettos that lined the deep hills and gullies around Tijuana: building small houses, bathing children from areas without running water, playing with orphans, and handing out food and clothes.
More scenery flashed by as Bethany stared out the window and thought about Jesus' words: “When you help them, you help me.” She thought how cool it was that Jesus wanted the world to know how much he loved people who were, for the most part, forgotten or ignored.
She knew God had given her a heart that wanted to reach out to people. She just hoped she measured up now that she was in the position to help.
Bethany suddenly sat up straight as the Pacific Ocean came into view. “That's Trestles!” she said excitedly, elbowing Holly. “They're holding the nationals there this week.”
“Whaâ?” Holly mumbled groggily.
Kai cracked an eye open and asked, “So, why aren't you there? Or is that a sore subject?”
sore,” Bethany admitted with an unconvincing grin.
“All things work together for good, right?” Malia said with a sleepy, but warm smile. Bethany glanced over at her, remembering their surf trip in Samoa.