Waco students light up lives, raise money

Posted: 12/15/06

Waco students light up lives, raise money

By George Henson

Staff Writer

WACO—Students at McLennan Community College are helping Waco-area residents hang Christmas lights this holiday season so that they can share the im-pact of Christ’s birth with other students next spring.

“There are a lot of people who can’t put up their own lights anymore, and their sons or daughters live too far away or don’t have time to put lights up for them. We get to help with that and raise money so that we can participate in Beach Reach,” Jacob Garcia ex-plained.

Students from McLennan Community College hang Christmas lights for Waco-area residents to raise money for BeachReach, a spring break evangelistic ministry.

Garcia and his friends from the McLennan Community College Baptist Student Ministry are putting up lights for whatever donation people offer. Payment has ranged widely, but they see hanging the lights as a ministry in itself.

“The majority of folks we put up lights for are older people, and we feel good about getting to help them with this,” he said.

They also have met some very nice people, he added.

“Some people come out and watch us unless it’s cold, then they usually stay inside. But one lady brought us out some really good hot chocolate. That was our favorite house right there,” he joked.

Dennis Vergara, a native of Honduras, insisted his focus is on raising money to participate in Beach Reach, an outreach to college students on South Padre Island during spring break. The cost for the McClennan County students to make the trip is $350 per person.

While most students flee to the island for days of sun and drinking, Baptist Student Ministry students from across the state go to share the love of Christ.

“We’re going to go and give them rides so that they won’t have to drive drunk, but also to share the word of God as we go,” Vergara said. “It’s good to give back and help keep people safe. I had other choices of what I could do with my spring break, but that’s how I want to spend my time.”

Russell Etheredge plans to return after ministering on the beach last year.

“It was a blast; it was just so much fun,” he said. “Just getting to interact with people and being able to share my faith with them was great.

“And the funny thing is, I was a definite ‘no’ until about two days before spring break, and the Holy Spirit got to working.”

Fear prompted his reluctance, he acknowledged, but now he can’t wait to return to the beach.

“It’s an exhausting week. From 8 o’clock in the evening until 4 or 5 in the morning, we’re giving rides to people, and then we’re back up early that morning fixing breakfast for people. It’s exhausting, not just physically, but spiritually. It’s exciting, though, to meet other college students from all across the state that are just as excited about following Christ,” Etheredge said.

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