This is part A, day 3 of the Hillcrest Baptist Church, Mission Connect. I decided to divide yesterday into two separate posts since it was so eventful! Yesterday morning a group of about a dozen of us went to Folly beach to do ministry. I was excited, because I work at Folly and spend time just hanging out there so we were ministering on my own turf. We took a few coolers of water out to the beach, as well as some bubbles and sand buckets for the kids. The beach was beautiful as always;and as always, it was packed, even on a week day. It was also very hot, around 100 degrees. The perfect day to hand out ice-cold water! The leader divided us into groups of into four groups of 3-4. A couple of us also stayed by the coolers and ministered there. I was paired with two of the youth males, Sean and Mitch. We walked along the beach for what seemed like a half a mile handing out water bottles to the people and talking to them. We handed out bubbles and sand buckets to some of the children as well.Handing out water may not seem like much at first, but I believe meeting people’s physical needs is a window to reaching the soul’s of people. As Jesus Christ says in Matthew 24:34-46, when we feed and clothe those in needs, we our ministering to Jesus Christ, himself! So we shared water with the people in hopes that we might give people a glimpse of the living water of Jesus Christ. Many of the people there were tourist (although we did talk to a handful of fellow Charlestonians) . I met people from as far as Illinois, Wisconsin, and yes, even from Western Europe. Many of the beach-goers seemed very surprised that we would even choose to go to the beach to do ministry. When we asked the people if they would like a free bottle of water, we usually received a blank, dumb-founded expression for about 15-20 seconds until we repeated ourselves and it registered in their minds that we were serious. Many of them actually said no. Perhaps, they figured something must be wrong with water that was free. I did hear one kid remark that the water would have “cooties, yuck!” We did; however get many positive remarks from people saying things like, “That is so nice, Y’all are so sweet!” The two boys in my group and I also received a couple strange remarks. One man said, oddly enough, that he would take a bottle of water if he could “make love” in it. I like what the younger boy in my group responded with as he immediately stepped back. He told the man who this water was “pure water”, not meant to be used for that and we just wanted to be pure and share with him. The man just chuckled as we left his side before the conversation could get any stranger. Many tried to give our youth donations. One man pulled out his wallet and started to give us bills saying “no, it shouldn’t be free! We can’t have that”. We refused the funds kindly thanking him as he looked at us with a befuddled look on his face. When our water was gone, we joined the rest of our group. I do not think any of us had any really deep conversations with the people on the beach, but we all made it clear we were there. We showed them the love of God. Hopefully, we showed them that Christians are different!
The reactions of the people, especially those who tried to give us money, really made me think. Why is so hard for so many to accept the idea of a free gift. So many people have heard the gospel, but they just can’t accept the idea of the free gift of salvation. They feel they must do something good to earn their way to God, but the Word says nothing we can do can earn our way to heaven. Grace is the gift that God has given us through His Son, Jesus Christ. He sent his son to die on the cross for us and died for us even though we did not deserve it. Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus! What are wages? They are something we earn. We earned death by our sin. We deserved the death Christ received on the cross. What is a gift. It as something freely given to us. Though we deserve death, God offers us the gift of eternal life through the blood of his son Jesus Christ! How thankful I am for that gift. It is the Lord’s desire that all should come to accept his gift of grace! How happy I am to get a chance to share it with others. O! How he loves us!