Beach Reach: No ‘mistake’

Texas Baptist Student Ministry volunteers built a giant sand sculpture on the beach during their spring break outreach. (Texas BSM Photo)

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Serving with Beach Reach—giving free rides to college students who come to South Padre to party—I was blown away by the brokenness of the people I met, but also amazed at how God moved.

At Beach Reach, by divine appointment I met Hassian, a student from West Africa studying at the University of Texas in Austin. He had just been kicked out of a bar. A police officer saw I was a driver for Beach Reach, and he asked me to make sure Hassian got home safely.

lauren mcKee98Lauren McKeeMy ministry partner and I decided Hassian could use some breakfast, so we made sure he ate some free pancakes. While we were in the serving line, we began talking. Before entering the conversation, I asked the Lord to allow Hassian to feel welcomed and safe.

As we talked, I learned Hassian was the president of an honor society at UT. I asked Hassian about his family. He told me his family did not mean much to him. He explained he was “a mistake”—his parents did not want him. They were not supposed to be able to have another child, and his whole life, all he heard was that he was “a mistake.”

I began to explain he was not a mistake at all. God created him in his image and deeply wanted a relationship with him. This same God knew the hairs on his head and even was delighted in him. In fact, this same God sent his Son so Hassian and I both could spend eternity with him.

An awakening

What happened next was incredible. Hassian sobered up. He understood everything I was saying and even asked me questions about what I meant by eternity. I explained it means spending forever with God in heaven, but only those who confess Jesus is Lord spend eternity in heaven. He explained to me Allah was his lord. I asked if his beach reach arrival425Students arriving at First Baptist Church in Port Isabel to prepare for Beach Reach during spring break. (Texas Baptist Student Ministry Photo)lord was the same lord his parents followed. He told me yes. I asked Hassian to tell me why he thought Allah should be lord. He could not tell me. He told me everyone in West Africa says Allah is lord, but he admitted he did not practice his faith.

The whole week, the Lord had been showing me the importance of speaking truth into the lives of others. I began to explain that all people, no matter their religion, have a lord in their life. I explained a lord is anything or anyone who controlled them. In Hassian’s case, it is alcohol and drugs. I explained nothing apart from the true God in heaven and Jesus Christ could be Lord of his life. Until he accepted Jesus as Lord, he always would feel as if he was missing something.

Hassian told me that it was easy for me to think that this was his lord, but when it came down to it, all he needed to do was love people and given back to society with his intelligence. He reminded me once again he is president of the honor society at the University of Texas in Austin, and it is his responsibility to give back to society by tutoring or teaching others. Truthfully at this point, I felt like I was running around in circles, but the Holy Spirit took over. God led me to tell Hassian that his academics or intelligence level would not save him. At that point, he spoke some of the hardest words I heard all week: “I am not looking to be saved.”

A prayer for Hassian

At that moment, I knew our conversation was coming to a close. It was clear Hassian knew and understood everything I was telling him. He simply did not want to be saved.

I asked if I could pray for Hassian’s safety that night, he agreed. I prayed, pleading on Hassian’s behalf that the Lord would choose to save him—that he would come to understand we all sin and need to be saved, and Jesus died so that we could have eternal life in heaven and not have to pay the consequences of our sin.

After I finished praying, Hassian just looked about me. Then he said something I always will remember: “I like you, and you will always be my friend.” He felt welcomed and safe because of the openness I was able to share with him. Despite the fact that I had spoken truth to him, he still saw that I cared and wanted what was best for him.

At that point, Hassian and I parted ways. Hassian is in God’s hands. I know I did what God called me to do. The Lord tells us all to go make disciples, and the first way to make disciples is to share the gospel. I shared it in every way I was able, and I know and trust that the Lord views that as success. Hassian heard his name, and the seeds were planted. The Lord will choose when it will be harvested. Now, I just have to pray, and I will. I pray that Hassian will become a disciple of Jesus and see the beauty of not seeing himself as a mistake and having Jesus as Lord.

Lauren McKee, a graduate of the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor, is serving through Go Now Missions as a campus ministry intern with the Baptist Student Ministry at the University of North Texas.

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