While many college students headed for the beach to soak up some sun during Spring Break, a group of 19 college students from Timberline Church headed for the popular Spring Break retreat of South Padre Island, Texas.
But they set out to accomplish more than drinking and lounging on the beach. They went to reach out to the Spring Break partiers with the love of Jesus Christ.
Joining with Beach Reach International, an organization that seeks to minister to Spring Break college students, the Timberline group spent the week spreading their faith in a number of ways. They provided a free shuttle service for those who called for a safe ride after a night of drinking and two free pancake breakfasts, one served from midnight to 3 a.m. and the other from 8 a.m. to noon.
The group also made elaborate sand sculptures of Jesus on the beach, handed out water and sunscreen and spent hours engaging Spring Breakers in provocative discussion on how the sculptures made them feel, as well as praying with people.
“We do everything we can to help them,” said Reza Zadeh, the young adults pastor of Timberline and leader of the Spring Break trip. “We love this place. We love the people here. These are real people that have the same struggles we have. We’re no better or different than them. The only thing we have is faith and love for Jesus and that’s what we want to share.”
CSU sophomores Jennifer Terry and Laura Wilkins accompanied the group for the first time.
“It was amazing to show people Christ’s love and serve others,” said Wilkins, a business administration major. “I was surprised by how positive their reactions were. Some of them were really shocked by us being there.”
“It was definitely an inspirational and life-changing trip for me,” said Terry, a health and exercise science major. “It was great witnessing to a generation that really needs it. A lot of them really struggle with religion, but people were very open to us.”
Matt Sampson, a recent high school graduate, also joined the group to South Padre for the first time.
“It was awesome,” said Sampson, 19. “I’ve always been in my church comfort zone. I saw going to South Padre as a way of stepping out of that comfort zone. I’ll definitely be going back next year.”
Timberline also does a version of the Spring Break South Padre trip in Old Town on Friday nights. Currently on a brief hiatus, they hope to start up again this summer.
Amber Baker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org