Beach Reach is one of the most powerful, exhausting and challenging mission trips that college students can experience during their spring break. There are some absolutely incredible things that happen throughout this trip that students can expect to be part of. During this week, I have personally seen God show up and show his power and goodness to those on South Padre Island. However, I believe there a few things students should know in advance.
The first thing that students should be informed of before making the trip to the Southern tip of Texas for the week is the very intense spiritual warfare that takes place on the island. This feeling of darkness and vulnerability can weigh very heavily on believers who come to participate in evangelism. Although this battle is boldly present, we as Christ followers can take heart that we indeed have victory over the darkness. This week reminds me of Paul's letter to the Ephesians where he reminds them that everything exposed by the light becomes visible and everything that is illuminated becomes a light (Ephesians 6:13). As Christians we are called to action. We are called to use the spirit that God has placed within us to give glory to Him. We are called to cast out any spiritual darkness in His name.
The next thing to know is that their heart will very likely be broken for the brokenness of complete strangers. This is something that I personally experienced this year. I had the opportunity to have a conversation on a van with a beach goer who was literally so broken from his past and his own sin that he could not help but get emotional when talking about it. He actually caught four rides on my van throughout the week.
During these rides I got the chance to understand his story. Every night he got off my van I felt his brokenness. Even through these feelings, I had the amazing experience of sharing the Gospel with him. I was able to tell him of the compassion that God had for him. I am very excited to say that he accepted Christ on his last ride on my van! I fully believe that God allowed my heart to be broken for this new friend so that I could be filled with more of Him.
The final thing that I really believe that any Beach Reacher should know is that we do not deserve to be a part of this awesome work. I believe, as Christians, we often lose sight of the fact that we once were just as lost as any of the partiers in South Padre. We have all committed sins against God and we do not deserve any of the awesomeness that is Him. But God is good! God wants us to take part in His work. He wants to use us as vessels of His word. He desires for us to grow spiritually and in our relationship with Him through missions. All we have to do is take the first step. We have to say “yes” to the mission that God has placed in front of us. We must be humble and submit to His plan. In doing this we get to see how much better His will for us is than our plan could ever be.
Beach reach is hard. It is a very tiring. It is emotionally and physically draining. But, it is also one of the most spiritually filling times I have ever experienced. If you attend this trip I can assure you that you will see God move because our God is alive and well and when we humbly take part in his work it is not in vain.
James Romo, is a student at Stephen F. Austin University.