Students from Howard Payne University’s Baptist Student Ministry joined hundreds of other Christians in serving and ministering to beachgoers on South Padre Island during Spring Break. The annual event, known as Beach Reach, is designed as servant-leadership outreach.

Ten HPU students and three staff members took part in ensuring others stayed safe during the week by giving free van rides across the island and serving pancakes on the beach. They also prayed for the beachgoers and sought opportunities to speak with them about their relationships with Jesus Christ.

“Beach Reach was a great chance for us to go out and help stop a lot of drinking and driving,” said Paden Seidel, sophomore from Proctor. “Along the way we were also able to let many people know that someone cares about their well-being. As a whole, it was a great experience.”

Marissa Godbey, junior from Austin, attended Beach Reach during her freshman year as well.

“I was so excited to have another opportunity to share the Gospel at Beach Reach,” she said. “The atmosphere was a bit different than what I’d remembered and there were twice as many people. Although it was easier for me to talk confidently with people, the island was a lot crazier. The craziness only made me more ready to help keep everyone on the island safe and share the Gospel. I had many great conversations throughout the trip and I know God’s presence was felt on the island.”

The group planned and trained for five weeks in advance of the trip. The students were led by Zachary Sterling, 2016 HPU graduate who now serves as the BSM campus missionary intern.

“One of the goals in training for Beach Reach is to develop the habit of living ‘on mission’ regardless of where we are,” he said. “Christians don’t go on mission, we are on mission – whether at Howard Payne or South Padre or wherever we are. We should always take the time to engage others in conversations and genuinely care about what they have to say.”

In addition to Godbey, Seidel and Sterling, those on the trip included Keith Platte, BSM director; Kelly Eason, residence director for Veda Hodge Hall; Melodee Carrier, junior from Seguin; Zoe Emley, junior from Natalia; Sarah Fernandez, junior from Goliad; Dillon Hughes, senior from Plano; Abi Miller, junior from Belton; Aryn Morris, junior from Pipe Creek; Nate Rhodes, senior from Brownwood; and Emily Selman, junior from Red Oak.