DBU Students Minister During Spring Break Service Trips

Spring Break Beach Reach – The DBU team that worked with Beach Reach in South Padre Island, Texas, during Spring Break.
Spring Break Beach Reach – The DBU team that worked with Beach Reach in South Padre Island, Texas, during Spring Break.

During Spring Break this year, Dallas Baptist University students traveled on two trips to help spread the Gospel and serve those in need.

Seventeen students traveled to Pensacola, Florida, to help build a house for a family through Habitat for Humanity, while a team of 11 traveled to South Padre Island to participate in Beach Reach and minister to fellow college students on Spring Break.

When the Habitat for Humanity team arrived in Florida, "there was just a foundation slab, and when we left, it looked like a house with doors and windows!" shared Christy Gandy, director of global missions at DBU. "It is neat to know we played a huge role in providing a place for a family to live one day."

While DBU has participated in Spring Break mission trips with Habitat for Humanity for the past 23 years, it was the first time for many of the students on the trip to help build a house. With able bodies and willing hearts, the students soon learned the tasks necessary to complete the construction project.

For two days of the project, DBU student Jacob Winslager worked alongside a young man named Robert. Jacob began talking with Robert and learned that he had suffered a great loss and his family would be receiving one of the houses which was being built by Habitat for Humanity during the week.

"Robert would walk through the incomplete house with a huge smile on his face," Jacob explained. "He would walk in each room and just smile as he observed every detail of what our hands had just put together...imagining what he would put in each room and how he was going to arrange everything. He received a great joy from a great blessing."

As an indirect result, Jacob and his teammates were equally blessed by being able to see a glimpse of the fruit of their labor.

Led by Andrew Briscoe, DBU's director of service learning, projects during the week included framing the house, decking the roof to prepare for shingles, wrapping the house in preparation for siding, and preparing the inside of the house for insulation, plumbing and electricity.

One of the greatest lessons the students took away from the week was the value of teamwork. By working together with new friends and having a teachable spirit, the students learned that much can be achieved.

DBU junior Kristin Autry says she will never forget the house that was built. "I had no idea how much hard work it takes to build something as simple as a home held together by precisely placed nails and pieces of wood," she expressed. "It's a great feeling when you leave the house site at the end of the week, knowing you helped build this home for someone when it was just a slab of concrete when you arrived."

Back in Texas, the DBU team working in South Padre Island participated in a very different experience while accomplishing the same motive of sharing the love of Christ.

Leaders Chris Holloway, BSM director, and Bailey Pentecost, BSM women's ministry coordinator, traveled south with nine DBU students to participate in Beach Reach. Founded over 30 years ago by a BSM director from Dallas, the Beach Reach ministry now incorporates hundreds of college students from BSMs across the state during the Spring Break week and has expanded from just South Padre to multiple beach-front locations across the nation.

For the week of Spring Break, the team from DBU joined together with 700 other volunteers from 22 other Texas churches and BSMs to offer the college students on vacation free middle-of-the-night rides from the beach, along with late night and early morning breakfasts. They also spent portions of their days trying to meet people and praying for them.

The theme for the Beach Reach volunteers was Mark 4:14, which states, "The sower sows the Word!" Throughout the week, this continually served as a reminder to the DBU team that while they are responsible for sharing the Word of God, ultimately the Lord is the only One who can make the seeds of salvation grow.

"This challenged me to remember that the Gospel is infinitely attractive on its own, so if I share and sow the Word, I can rest and pray that the Lord will do what only He can do: change the heart!" recalled Chris.

As a result, the team was able to come home with countless stories of ways they saw the Lord working in other college student's lives, even seeing some of their new friends come to faith in Christ.

"Beach Reach is honestly one of the most impactful things I've been a part of in my life, explained Chris. "I think more than even the students we went to reach, the lives of those on our team have been changed and shaped for the better. We were so stretched in this ministry, and the lessons we learned are something we don't want to end--ministry doesn't end when we get home."

The students returned to DBU at the end of the week with a fresh perspective on ministry and sharing the Gospel, learning it can be achieved in countless ways, from hammering a nail to serving breakfast.

Written by Kalie Lowrie

Kalie Lowrie was the former Director of News and Information at Dallas Baptist University.