Homes Away from Home

My Goliath is selfishness. It isn’t really a fear as much as it is a challenge for me. It’s something that I have to constantly work at, every day, and consciously be aware of so I can recognize when I slip up.

For nearly a decade I’ve had a passion for surfing, and as a surfer you can be inherently selfish. While the surfer lifestyle is often stereotyped as laid back and easy going, in the water it’s sometimes a dog-eat-dog, wave-catching world that is all about getting noticed and your time in the limelight. You have to be selfish if you want to catch a wave; if you’re not, you’ll be waiting in line to get barreled as the sun burns away. Surfing is a part of my lifestyle and my selfishness can permeate into that aspect if I become complacent.

“My goliath is selfishness.”

Around the time that I started surfing I met Todd Greco, who is the owner and founder of Greco Surf. In addition to selling surfboards all around the world, the company has a nonprofit program, Da G Surf Ministry. When Todd started Da G Surf Ministry, it was based on the idea of giving back to the communities who had always embraced him with so much hospitality when he had traveled the world looking for the best surf spots. What the ministry does is head into these communities, help out with a particular need (usually involving kids), and also teach less fortunate kids how to surf.

This most recent trip to the Philippines wasn’t my first venture with Greco and Da G Surf Ministry. In the past, my wife and I had gone to Latin America and helped out in various communities that needed help with anything from medical treatment to staffing assistance at orphanages. Every trip has been rewarding and humbling.

On this trip, we needed to build houses for several of the most needy families in a small community of Baler, on the island of Luzon, in the Philippines.

The plan for our trip was already in place prior to our leaving. We had two contacts, Ria and Teddy Romero, who had everything already set up for us when we got there. For about two grand USD, one house can be built to accommodate a family with four to six kids. For one week, we were able to fund and help build three houses, and help the kids with food and fun surf classes.

After the logistics were largely in place, I submitted my entry into the Defiance Club, unsure of what would happen. I had originally asked for financial help, time off to take part in Da G Surf Ministry, and for a donation to build an additional house. I was blown away when David and the Defiance Club told me they were going to pay for my wife and me to get to the Philippines, and that they were also going to donate enough money for an additional house to be built. Imagine how happy I was, along with Ria, Teddy, and Todd, knowing that an additional family would be able to live in this house. To put it simply, I felt blessed.

Upon arriving in the Philippines, after about a 24-hour flight, we were exhausted. When we saw the community—and the kids—just as it had been in times past, we were invigorated with a rush of energy and an excitement to get started. Over the course of the week, we got to know the kids and families as we bonded with the community and shared sweat and smiles.

“Seeing the faces of a family who, for the first time in their lives, are going to be able to live through typhoon season with a roof over their heads was life changing. It makes it very clear what the defiance club is all about.”

You see pictures of the community and kids, and have the itinerary in place, but none of that does justice for what it’s actually like being there. Being able to do this was a blessing that is hard to put into words. Seeing the faces of a family who, for the first time in their lives, were going to be able to live out typhoon season and their day-to-day life with a roof over their heads is what it’s all about. I would do it again in a heartbeat to continue defying my Goliath. I am grateful to David and the Defiance Club. They came through with so much more than I expected, and made this trip one of the most rewarding and unselfish experiences of my life. Defying selfishness is not something that ends with this trip, but I hold experiences like this close to my heart as I continue to try and defy my Goliath every day.