by Ashleigh Fletcher
The Cameron University Baptist Campus Ministry like many college students in our area loaded up and headed to South Padre Island for a week of madness.
These students, however, were not there to party. The BCM took 17 students and two adult drivers with an all work and no play attitude.
The group traveled 13 hours to the island to participate in a program called Beach Reach Ministry.
Beach Reach is a religious program that has been on the island every spring break for the last 31 years.
Beach Reach serves as a religious support and free taxi to those spring breakers who might need the extra help. Nicole Jordan, CU Senior and English major, described the free rides.
“Through Beach Reach we offered free rides to spring breakers in our 15 passenger vans,” Jordan said. “We basically squeezed in as many as we could in an effort to keep them safe and protect them from the crazy island drivers.”
The BCM passed out cards at their arrival with a phone number so anyone on the island had the opportunity for a free ride.
Rhiannon Barnett, CU Junior and International Language major, participated in Beach Reach and explained the techniques they often used.
“If things slowed down we often used a technique called fishing,” Barnett said. “When we would go fishing, we would drive around in our vans, nicknamed Super-van and Bat-van, and ask people if they wanted a ride or needed any help.”
Barnett also discussed a principal called ACT, which the group used to get spring breakers talking.
“We used the ACT principal to get spring breakers talking,” Barnett said.
“The goals of ACT is to A, ask C, connect and T, Turn the conversation to God. We found this principal really helpful and encountered very few people who wanted to avoid talking.”
The BCM and Beach Reach also offered free breakfasts, Saturday baptisms, and a prayer room. Prayer room was a prayer request service in which spring breakers could Tweet, via Twitter or text message, their problems and Beach Reachers would in turn pray for them.
Katelyn Craft, Children’s Director at Western Hills Church, accompanied the BCM to South Padre Island and spent time working in the prayer room.
“The prayer room was rotated in Four hour shifts anyone could tweet requests to be prayed for and anyone with access to the internet could reach the twitter account and pray,” Craft said.
“I first thought the prayer room was going to be a challenge and was not sure if I would be able to pray for such an extended amount of time, but once we got started the time flew by,” she said. “I owe it all to God; it was a really awesome experience.”
Craft was amazed by the love and spiritual variety she became acquainted with while in South Padre.
“It was awesome to see such faith and spiritual variety,” Craft said. If given the opportunity, I would definitely go next year.”