SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Spring Break at South Padre Island, Texas is historically known for parties, hookups, and college craziness.
Thousands of students flock to the beach from across the country to let loose and unwind.
The southernmost spot in Texas is home to Clayton’s Beach Bar. The owner, Clayton Brashear boasts it is the largest beach bar in the United States. Regardless of the size, students know it’s where the party is going to be.
On Saint Patrick’s Day, Clayton’s Beach Bar is buzzing with beer and bikini-clad dancers on an elevated stage facing the beachside. Cheering can be heard and drinks are flowing. However, the crowd is not entirely made up of students looking for a party, there are hundreds also in the area, in search of prayer.
“Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!” chanted students in a football-style huddle. The group is hyping themselves up to jump into the frigid Gulf of Mexico waves to get closer to God.
“We do this every year and will keep doing it” exclaimed Clayton Bullion with the Christian Ministry organization Beach Reach.
The irony of two Claytons on two different sides of the beach is not wasted. One serves drinks, the other serves the Lord.
Beach Reach is baptizing anyone looking to dedicate themselves to Christ just feet away from the music state where wearing a wet t-shirt was encouraged.
On the last baptism for the year, Beach Reach baptized 25 to 30 students, “man it’s a blessing to be here and serve” said Bullion minutes after coming out of the cold water.
“Jesus said he didn’t come to chase after the religious but came for people who needed hope, who needed peace. This is an opportunity for us to show that and demonstrate that because that love saved us,” said Bullion.
Beach Reach is looking to continue serving in 2023.