Lauren Collins, 18-year-old senior at Fort Walton Beach High School, had an idea and shared it.
She and her friends at Destin United Methodist Church decided to join Capt. Ben Marler and his bridge ministry for a morning.
“I had been seeing him in the morning, and we wanted a way to be bold for the Lord,” Collins told The Log. “Most of us knew of him, but only a few knew him personally.”
The group from DUMC is enthusiastic and eager, serving at their church and in school programs.
"Most of us volunteer in the children's ministry at our church and are involved in Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Christians in Action at the school," she said. “Our club meets about twice a month and we play games, worship and hear a message."
Collins, from Destin, is president of Fellowship of Christian Athletes and plans to attend the University of Alabama in the fall to major in child care.
"I want to be a patient liaison in a children's hospital," Collins said. "I really love kids and had a friend who died of cancer and he inspired me to do it. I feel called to work with children and to work in hospitals."
Marler was surprised and excited when he saw them arrive with their signs at the Destin Bridge on the morning of May 2.
“They seemed so upbeat and ready to take Jesus to those driving by,” he told The Log. “Lauren is so excited about the Lord. I know she is a great influence on those within the youth group at DUMC. I wish all of our youth were involved in a youth group where the young people were involved in doing 'ministry'. Once they taste the joy of the Lord, it's like honey and will draw them back to His service.”
The group originally planned to stay an hour, but actually spent more time there. Marler who prayed for them before they left, said that their youth minister, Ronnie Willis, is definitely a "keeper."
"You can see he really loves the kids and they love him," Marler said.
Collins and the others from DUMC feel blessed to be able to be a part of Marler's bridge ministry.
"He is such a great man," she said. "We loved how bold he was and how much he loves Jesus. He truly cares about people and loves everyone he comes in contact with. He is so eager to tell people about the Lord and for everyone to know Jesus."