BROWNWOOD – January 22, 2014 –Though the spring 2014 semester at Howard Payne University began just last week, 23 students are already finalizing their plans for Spring Break. These students will spend the week at South Padre Island, a popular destination for many college students across the country. However, they will have a much different goal than most of the other beachgoers – spreading the Word of Jesus Christ.
“The main focus for us at Beach Reach is pretty simple,” says Keith Platte, director of the HPU Baptist Student Ministry. “We will meet people’s needs, and tell them about Jesus along the way.”
Those needs, Platte explains, include offering safe rides, food and adequate water, and providing a listening ear.
“While we do that, though, we are also concerned for the whole person,” he says. “We realize that though students may be at South Padre Island for a different reason, we are all in the same boat – sinners in need of a Savior. “
This is Platte’s second year to lead an HPU Beach Reach team.
“When we got the opportunity to share freely with people at Beach Reach last year we found that many of the stigmas people have about Christians disappear, and many of the stigmas Christians have about sharing the Gospel disappear,” he says. “You never know how starting a conversation about football, college life, dating, video games, family or even someone’s name can open the doorway to the beginning of life transformation.”
Platte says the community can play two vital roles in the BSM’s trip to South Padre Island.
“The first is prayer,” he says. “We need many people praying as we go. The scene on South Padre Island is one that is not for the weak. There is a spiritual battle going on in the midst of what the world calls ‘a good time.’”
Platte asks the community to be in prayer for the HPU group and the individuals they will encounter, as well as for safety, boldness and overall strength to face the challenges they will meet.
“Mostly, we desire prayer for the Holy Spirit to precede us in everything we do, preparing the way and guiding us to people who are ready to hear the Good News of Christ,” he says.
Platte quotes Matthew 9:37, in which Jesus tells his disciples “the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.”
“We have 23 workers who are willing to go, alongside 700 other college students from across the country, to meet the potential harvest of several thousand beachgoers,” he says. “So, please, we need prayer.”
Secondly, the community is invited to assist the HPU “beach reachers” through financial support. Donations to help offset the trip expenses are welcome. An online donation form is available at http://www.hputx.edu/springbreakmissions.
“I am so excited that we have had so many students say yes to this call to serve and share, and we know there are people out there who God uses to support the spreading of the Gospel,” Platte says. “The Apostle Paul didn’t do it on his own in the book of Acts. We know that we cannot do it on our own and we would love to share in the spreading of the Gospel by letting others partner with us.”
For more information about Beach Reach and the HPU Baptist Student Ministry’s other initiatives, visit www.hputx.edu/bsm. Platte may be contacted at (325) 649-8319 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo cutline: HPU students will return to South Padre Island to share the Gospel during Spring Break 2014. Last year’s group included (top row, from left) Rebekah Steadman, Jennifer Goff and Alex Caro. Bottom row, from left: Andi Peaster, Xavier McFalls, Allyson Gainey, Lacy Culpepper, Whitney Williams, Kim Lilley and Ruby Johnson.