There are only eleven weeks left until the start of the Summer Training Project.

Before we know it, those of us who are Project-bound will be standing on the beach in Garden City, South Carolina, watching the sun set on another sultry day in the south.

Did you catch that?

Garden City.

Not Myrtle Beach.

That’s right folks, STP is not returning to the dirty Myrtle or the Aquarius motel. We will once again be living at the Oceanview motel in Garden City, where STP was traditionally held.

What’s the deal with that?

Story time!

For those of you who don’t know, COM rented the Oceanview motel for years and years. However, last year it was no longer possible because the owner was selling the place. Thankfully, our staff team found an alternative motel in the heart of Myrtle Beach, about 15 miles from the old location.

Let's just say things did not go swimmingly.

There were several unforeseeable events and issues that arose throughout the summer at the new motel. Although we were blessed to have a place to stay that summer, students and staff alike vowed to never return.

The end.

And so, the hunt for new accommodations began. The staff started taking several trips to South Carolina to look for a new motel to rent. Through a series of divinely-crafted events, Paul Poteat, the regional director of Campus Outreach Minneapolis, learned the Oceanview motel was still up for grabs. Although it would be a massive undertaking to purchase and renovate the building, and several unknown factors seemed like they could dismantle the plan at any moment, Paul and Ken Currie took a leap of faith and purchased the motel.

Yes, you read that right...
They bought a motel!

I asked Paul what his thoughts were throughout the process and he shared some really cool details:

“At first thought, this seemed like an undertaking that was out of our league, but as we started slowly moving forward it became clear that God had aligned things so that this purchase only made sense for a group like ours. Every circumstance that would move any other buyer away from this ended up being another positive reason we should act on it: a realty company on the front with an extended lease was a blessing to us and a burden to others, a low appraisal would have hurt others but it made this more doable on our end, crazy flood insurance quotes opened the door for a private investor to help us. Step by step it was clear that too many doors were opening for God to not be orchestrating this venture.”

Awesome, right?!

But the adventure is not over. The motel has been successfully purchased, but it still needs to be fixed up.

The entire staff team already spent a week in South Carolina doing initial work on the building. In the coming weeks, teams from Bethel, the U of M and St. Thomas will be sending teams of students down to work on the motel during their spring breaks. Schools from different regions have even stepped up to help.

With that said, pray for the teams who will be traveling down to Garden City. Pray for safe travels, joyful hearts in the midst of cleaning and rebuilding, and completed renovation by the time Project starts. And, of course, pray that God would get glory as we continue to see his sovereign hand working all things for good.