Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) students from the University of Houston sacrificed their spring break to share God’s love and generosity with others all over Texas. Some spent the week building relationships with international students, others dedicated their vacation to local Houston ministries and still other students made their way to South Padre Island to serve at Beach Reach.
UH students joined other missionaries from all over Texas to serve at Beach Reach, an annual mission experience that reaches thousands of college students that flock to the beach in search of a good time. More than 1,000 missionaries served at Beach Reach this year, showing God’s love by means of pancakes, free rides and open ears.
Despite the darkness that was discernibly present on the island, God moved mightily through the conversations and relationships formed in moments shared between missionaries and vacationers.
When speaking with beach goers, missionaries sparked meaningful conversations with simple questions like “how would you rate your relationship with God” and “how do you see God in your life,” which led to opportunities for the missionaries to share the Gospel.
Kayla Ortiz, a senior at UH, returned to Beach Reach for her third year in a row. Throughout the week Ortiz and a group of Houston student missionaries prayed for students at the local police station, served pancakes at popular beach bars and shared the Gospel with passengers on a free Beach Reach shuttle.
“With Beach Reach my life has always come back changed. This year I was excited to see what God would do in my life because I knew God was going to do something,” said Ortiz.
Another highlight of the week were the nightly worship services. Before going out each evening, student missionaries first gathered together to pray, worship and share testimonies of God’s work. Community amongst missionaries grew quickly during these times of vulnerable worship.
“All of us were just so desperate for God’s fuel, so when the thousand of us came together to worship him, it was something so beautiful and refreshing,” said Ortiz.
After the powerful week, missionaries went home with a new passion for sharing the Gospel on their college campuses. Beach Reach equipped the student missionaries with tools on how to evangelize and reach other students who may have never heard the good news.
“It’s reignited my passion to make sure that people understand the urgency of the gospel,” Ortiz said. “It’s something that I’m hoping I can be even more intentional about bringing to campus.”
Claire Andersen is a student at the University of Houston.