By Collegiate Intern Sarah Barger
CALIFORNIA (PA) – We had a wonderful trip to Beach Reach! 25 of us had the honor and privilege of going to Panama City Beach to provide free van rides and free pancakes to spring breakers. God moved in a mighty way. Several students in our group shared Christ for the first time – what a beautiful testimony!
We also saw three salvations through our van ministry – Praise God! We had encounters where people were resistant to our message, but we found over and over that many people who were open to the conversation. It was wonderful to see God’s handiwork through it all.
Over 600 Beach Reachers (college students) and their leaders were serving during the week were there. We had quite a fleet of vans and so many opportunities to love on people by meeting their needs. Throughout the week we and the rest of the Beach Reach crew provided 8,647 free van rides and served 3,295 plates of pancakes!
In addition to that, 27 people accepted Christ! What an incredible week!
One night my street team (Chase, Zhane, and I) stopped in a Wendy’s to get a drink. We started talking to a man named Mark who was eating by himself. We sat and told him what we were doing and asked him about his spiritual background and beliefs. Mark was apprehensive about the conversation topic but then became opened once we shared our own testimonies and backgrounds.
Mark had a Jehovah’s Witness background. He fell away from his faith and he told us that he knows about Jesus but he grew up with religion being a cult and his family ex communicating anyone who didn’t believe.
We talked about his experience and asked about his personal relationship with God. Mark said, “The only beef I have with God is I don’t understand how He can be all loving if He is all knowing and lets children and people get abused, killed, and harm in unspeakable ways. How can a God be all loving if he just lets that happen.”
I responded by asking about his son that he previously told us about. I asked him if he could imagine giving up his son to suffer and die for people who didn’t deserve to be forgiven or be saved. God gave His son for us. Jesus suffered and died to restore our relationship and ultimately save us and bring us to Heaven for eternity. I said God is all knowing and He knows the victory in the end and the plans that He has for us. Not to harm us but for a hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11) We talked about hope and that Jesus will return and make all things new and there will be no more pain and suffering for those who put their faith and trust in Him.
We had a great conversation and he thanked us for the time we spent talking to him and prayed with him afterwards.
Thank you for the prayers, encouragement, and support which made Beach Reach 2017 possible!