Despite hailing from land-locked Tulsa, Okla., senior Mitchell Mayes found his joy and passion through a ministry called Surfing the Nations. As the name suggests, most of the members enjoy coastal activities such as surfing, which is fitting to their shore-side base in Oahu, Hawaii, where Mitchell interned. His interest in surfing began when his family took vacations to the West Coast and evolved from there.
“Sophomore year, I was starting to search more into what I would do, even outside of majors and everything, and one day surfing came up,” Mitchell said. “It started coming up more and more, and it looked like that’s what God was wanting me to do. So I said, ‘Ok, God, I don’t know if you know this, but I’m from Oklahoma.’ That’s when I applied to Surfing the Nations, and it’s crazy how it led to that.”
Freshman Kelcy Mayes, Mitchell’s sister, agreed that this was God’s calling for him. She said she never would have expected her brother to have taken up something like surfing since they lived hundreds of miles from the nearest shore.
“It started with whenever we went to Hawaii in 2010,” Kelcy said. “We went surfing, and I feel like he just really loved that. But again, I’m from Oklahoma. My family’s more of a mountain family, so it’s not like we go to the beach all the time or he’s always wanted to do that. So I really do think it is a God-given mission for him, because it wouldn’t have been given to him by God if he would have gotten tired of it or if he said, ‘I’m from Oklahoma, I can’t do this.’”
Mitchell Mayes said Surfing the Nations had a great impact on him spiritually.
He said that he was able to thrive and grow spiritually in the atmosphere, and he wants to encourage more Harding students to be involved with the ministry.
According to their website, Tom Bauer, founder of Surfing the Nations, said the ministry strives to share love through surfing.
“Surfing the Nations is a non-profit, humanitarian organization run entirely by volunteers,” Bauer said. “Our desire is to see lives changed inside and outside of our organization, locally and internationally. We are a community made up of people who believe in using their talents and passions — from surfing and beyond — to give back and share a message of love and hope. We believe surfers have a unique call on their lives: to go — to use their thirst for adventure to bring them to the places of the world that are in need. We want to give surfers a purpose and a desire to serve others and build friendships all over the world.”