By: Raegan Turner I Staff Writer
The Baylor chapter of Baptist Student Ministries headed to South Padre Island this past week for spring break. Despite the beach being known for excessive partying, the members of BSM were able to be a part of the 11,422 rides given to people in need, 8,646 people being prayed for, 7,495 pancake breakfasts and 6,943 gospel conversations. Not only did they serve in those ways, but the volunteers also witnessed seventy-nine people begin a relationship with Jesus and 40 recommit their lives to Christ.
All of this happened in response to “Beach Reach”, an evangelistic ministry that annually provides food, water and transportation to thousands of spring breakers on South Padre Island. The event began in 1980 with twenty students who had a vision to reach their peers on spring break and has developed into hundreds of college students joining together to verbally share the gospel of Jesus.
Participants in Beach Reach may choose to serve from either March 9-15 or 16-22 and are required to complete extensive training before attending. Upon arrival, students are put into teams that are focused on offering people rides, passing out food, engaging in prayer or walking around the beach. Each year, these activities have led to salvations, baptisms and further discipleship.
Alvarado freshman Jackson Moore said he was excited to go on the trip that focused its interaction on college students. However, he said he lacked previous evangelical purpose which he said made him hopeful to help students like himself.
“I’ve never been on a mission trip before and this is something that I’ve had a lot of prior training with, training that has been really helpful for me.” Moore said. “Ministering to college students my age is something I’m really passionate about.
This year, eighteen students and four drivers affiliated with Baylor’s BSM made the long trip to the beach.
Chengdu, China freshman Lee Zhang felt called to go on mission to “Beach Reach” this past week with BSM. Zhang said he recently accepted Jesus and his experience in South Padre grew his intimacy with God through being able to minister to people. In addition to services like passing out food and praying for people, some of the volunteers were presented with the opportunity to baptize someone rededicating their life to Christ. Zhang said he met a student who, after being assaulted and losing his possessions, shared his testimony with Zhang and decided to recommit his life to God.
“I was hanging out with my friends in front of the church. This guy just came up to me. He lost his phone, his shoes, and was punched by someone on his face,” Zhang said. “He just broke down in front of me and said that he has been walking away from God for so long and cannot find satisfaction in parties and alcohol. Then, I asked him to recommit his life to Jesus, and he said 100 percent. After that, we hang out for about the whole night. We gave him a ride back to his apartment at around 5 am. One of the girls in our van just shouted out that he should get baptized. He agreed. We went to the beach, and I baptized him right away.” Zhang said.