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The End

When you live somewhere for two months, it starts to feel normal. Natural. Like you’ve always lived there. You’ve gone through the weird phases of “I don’t have any friends,” “I don’t know where anything is,” and “The culture here is different.” You’re comfortably settled into a routine...and then all of a sudden you have to leave.

That’s what happens at STP. The two months we spend in Myrtle Beach are an amazing time of learning and growth, but project isn’t designed as an end, but a means of equipping us to go back to campus as students with a heart for sharing the Gospel with others.

The end

Paul Poteat gave the final talk of the summer on “The End” and detailed three ends we should consider as we leave for home: Jesus, love and heaven.

  • Knowing more of Jesus was the end goal of project and is the end goal of returning to school...and for the rest of our lives.
  • Loving the Lord and others more is the end of knowing more of Jesus...it should be an overflow
  • Heaven is the ultimate end of our walk with the Lord. And it’s going to be better than we could imagine.

It was such a sweet ending to a joyful, eye-opening summer to hear what we have to bring back to our homes and campuses, but even more amazing was thinking about heaven. I realized I am very earthly-minded when it actually comes down to my day-to-day life. Heaven isn’t something I dream about. I don’t look forward to it like I should; I find myself thinking that it would be great if God would just wait until I have the chance to do things I dream about, like have my own apartment, get married, travel overseas, find my dream job, or any number of other things.

But when you actually stop to contemplate heaven, it changes everything.

It changes how you view your work. It makes you see the value in giving away your life because this life isn’t all that there is. It makes you long for the final and ultimate restoration of the world. It makes you want to bring others into that future with you. In the end, everything else (even STP) pales in comparison to heaven.

Heaven and home

Thinking about heaven rightly has made me more ready and more excited to go back to campus. I want others at my school to know the security and joy that comes from a relationship with Jesus that will ultimately end in us being brought to live with Him forever.

Going home from project can be hard because something so good is ending, and that doesn’t feel right. But seeing STP as a launching pad to share the joy of the cross and of heaven, not to mention knowing that one day we’ll all be together again forever...well, that makes it all so much better.

“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”


― C.S. LewisMere Christianity

 

 

 

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Life is a Vapor - Post Project

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Life is a Vapor - Post Project

We’re finally back in Minnesota, trading palm trees for pine. This summer seemed to go by way faster than any other. It feels like STP was just a dream. Although it’s been really nice to be able to sleep in and see family again, I’m definitely missing the environment and community of project. STP was filled with so many memories and sweet relationships. We all grieved the separation of a place that has become so dear to us. Ocean View Motel in Murrells Inlet has become a second home.

Our last theme talk was; “Three Ends: Jesus, Love, Heaven.” While we mourned our final evening of STP, we rejoiced in the hope of heaven. Heaven is real. Heaven is tangible. Heaven is forever. We will constantly be in community in the presence of our Savior.

Paul Poteat asked the question, “Would you be beside yourself to leave earth and be in heaven with Jesus?” I instantly responded to the question with uncertainty. I’m so young and have so much life to live. I’m not sure if I would necessarily be “beside myself” to leave earth. As I thought about the question more, God showed me how He is greater than I can ever imagine. My ignorant, human mindset is so focused on the insignificant details of my life that won’t matter when I’m in heaven. Marriage, success and fame are such insignificant things in light of eternity.

It is so different to look at this earth as a temporary home, even though I know that it is only a vapor. As God has been changing me to have an eternal mindset, I can answer Paul’s question with, “Yes. Nothing would be more exciting to me than to be in the full presence of Jesus.” I praise God for the gifts that He has given me that point me to Him. My community and the environment of project has been a small taste of heaven.

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” ~ Colossians 3:2-3

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Visitors from England...Sort Of

You may or may not know this, but STP is not the only project Campus Outreach puts on each summer. The Cross Cultural Project and Twin Cities Project offer students a different view on ministry; CCP gives a vision for what ministry looks like in other parts of the world, and TCP gives a picture of how ministry in the workplace and the city can work.

Recently, STP hosted the CCP team for a week as they shared what God did in England over the past eight weeks. It was a sweet time of seeing how God uses different members of His body to accomplish different parts of His mission to make His name known.

A few things happened while CCP were here: one of the staff - Devin Smith - gave the theme talk on Monday nights, the CCP hosts the social (a scavenger hunt) and provides the encouragement (tea and biscuits!) for the week. Each member of the CCP also met with students on project during the week to further talk with them about students’ interest in overseas missions and their own experiences.

I personally got to sit down and talk with Sarah Trapp, one of the CCP members, over coffee, and was so encouraged by hearing now God had worked in her life over the summer. It was clear that God had radically transformed the hearts of all the team members, stirring up a passion for the lost overseas and filling them with immense joy in the process. It was refreshing to my heart to hear about God working outside of the small STP world we’ve been living in. Hearing stories of how God rewarded the CCP’s faithfulness to go to the nations encouraged me and many other students at STP to consider how God might be calling us to “go into all the world.

It’s going to be exciting to see the fruit of the CCP’s time with us as we go back to our campuses and even consider what next summer might hold, be that a CCP trip, another missions trip, STP again, or living on mission in Minneapolis.

“Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.’” - Matthew 9:37-38

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Our Redeemer

It is the last full week of project and students are preparing to go home. We will no longer be doing beach ministry and working at Walmart. So who’s our ministry now? Where do we go from here? 

The Campus

Monday night David Cook, student project director, gave a theme talk about Jesus being our redeemer and what this looks like in ministry. 

“Jesus has redeemed us and invites us to participate in His redemption where we are.” 

The gospel is the story of redemption and how Jesus makes us to be like Him. I’ve been thinking about what this looks like in my life and how my interactions with people reflect my relationship with Jesus. 

This next school year I will be living in the dorms at the University of Northwestern, St. Paul. I’m going to be around new, freshman girls who may not understand the true meaning of the Gospel. This is my ministry. Going out of my comfort zone and showing freshman and sophomore girls the love of Jesus is worth more to me than getting a good grade on a test,  making a lot of money, or building my resumé. 

This summer I have been convicted of so many ways I spend my time selfishly and don’t let the message of the gospel permeate every area of my life. 

Our Reward

If Jesus is our reward, why am I not jumping at every opportunity to serve Him? If we lived in a community of believers that inspired us to do so, how would our campus change? I look forward to the opportunities that will arise living in the dorms as a senior. God is worth going out of your comfort zone.

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When the staff leave STP

Part of the point of Summer Training Project is the “training” part of the name. Training takes a lot of different forms, the most obvious one being the talks that are given throughout the week. But a more subtle form of training that happens is the “on-the-job” training that happens during the month of July.

At the end of June, the CO staff leave SC and the responsibility of leading, speaking and organizing all of STP is handed to the student leaders for a month. From the perspective of one of those student leaders, it was a pretty scary day when we had to say good-bye to the last staff person. Suddenly the people we asked a million questions and looked to for example in ministry are a thousand miles away, and it’s time for us to step up to the plate in a new way.

What does it look like when staff leave?

Now that the staff are gone, the team leaders are responsible for leading the project; that means that the team leader guys are giving talks every week, all of the team leaders are planning the events of the week, managing budgets, coordinating student jobs, and any number of other things that come up during the week. Team leaders, room leaders and the servant team are all meeting with more students during the week: studying the Bible, checking in on how they’re doing and just doing fun things around Myrtle Beach.

Where training comes in

All of us came into the summer with a little bit of training in what it means to be a leader on STP, and almost all of us have been involved in Campus Outreach for a couple of years. But we’re still young and don’t have tons of life experience to draw from. But the staff spent a lot of time meeting and talking with us during the first month of STP, but most importantly have spend a lot of time pointing us to Scripture and encouraging us to pray and talk with one another during the good times and the hard times.

We also have leaders’ training every week, where we’ve heard talks on servant-hearted ministry, helplessness, confronting sin, and several other topics, each of which God has used to further equip us to walk alongside students this summer as they grow in their relationships with the Lord.

We’re far from perfect at this, but God is using leadership to train and grow each of us in places where we struggle, showing us His faithfulness in our own weakness and inadequacy.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” - 2 Corinthians 12:9

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Meanwhile at Project...

I would like to inform you that I am currently writing my blog post from the kids’ section of Barnes & Nobel in Market Commons. Why? All the other comfortable seating was taken due to the thunder-storm outside. I guess everyone thought tonight would be a good Barnes & Nobel night. Needless to say, my 5’8” self does not fit into small, hard wood chairs like I used to.

Anyway, there are 2½ more weeks of project left and the students are starting to wind down from all the summer project hype. It’s been an exhausting summer but it’s been so cool to see God working.

There’s been a huge difference in the unity of project since the beginning and end of the summer.

Beginning of the summer:

I nervously exit my vehicle and unpack my things while overthinking every possible thing that could go wrong throughout the summer. What if Walmart is a total drag and I’m burnt out half-way through the summer? What if I’m not an adequate leader and nobody likes me or thinks I give good advice? What if I don’t connect well with my room? What if I have to have confrontational conversations with people that intimidate me? What if people confront me on huge sins in my life and I don’t handle it well?

End of the summer:

I am inadequate. I am weak. Walmart management is not anything I aspire to pursue in the future. I did have confrontational conversations and will continue to. I do feel tired and burnt out. I have no ability to lead on my own. 

Here’s the truth:

Jesus. I know this is something that is said over and over again in Christianity, but He’s truly the answer. I am inadequate, but He is adequate. I am weak, but He is strong and has shown me His strength. It is Jesus who gives advice and speaks through people. We have no right taking credit for the wisdom that He’s given. I don’t need to compare myself to others because God sees me as Jesus, not an important leader. If Jesus is our true focus, then our hearts are on fire for the gospel. This fire is illuminated in the way we interact with others and is truly beautiful. 

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Ministry reveals joy

Usually my posts serve to inform people about events happening at STP, but this week I wanted to share a little about what God has been revealing to me this summer through my leadership position.

All my life, I thought I knew what joy was, and, to a certain extent, that was true. I could define the word and tell you that for the Christian, joy wasn’t based on circumstances but on our unshakeable standing before God because of Christ. But I’ve been crippled by the fear described in Proverbs 29:25, “The fear of man lays a snare.” I have loved the Lord and the good news of the Gospel, but I’ve been afraid to step out and put myself on the line for His sake.

Until this summer.

I knew I had a lot of fear in my heart when it came to sharing the Gospel and doing ministry; that had characterized my years at school and even my past 2 summers here in SC. I’d been taking baby steps to overcome it, but it was a discouraging process; I felt like for every one step forward I took three steps backward.

Coming into this summer, knowing I was going to be responsible for a large number of girls all at different places in their walks with the Lord, I knew that fear was going to rear its head again in perhaps a stronger way than before.

The first few weeks were hard because I was constantly struggling fear and inadequacy,  but thanks to some encouragement from one of the staff, I was able to fight through those feelings, and God met me in some amazing ways as I stepped out in faith.

Since then, it’s slowly becoming more of a habit in daily interactions to step out a little more than I would have before. I still fail and fall backwards, but I know I have the sufficiency of Christ to rest on in my successes and my failures. As I’ve watched girls’ eyes be opened to their own freedom in Christ, cried with them as they wrestled through hard things, and laughed with them in their successes, my own cup has overflowed with joy.

“Christian joy is a good feeling in the soul, produced by the Holy Spirit, as he causes us to see the beauty of Christ in the Word and in the world.” – John Piper

Being a leader this summer has showed me so much of the beauty of Christ and the cross, and I can’t help but want more as I think about going back to campus in the fall. I want to see God work so that His name would be made great and glorious, and through that, that I would see more of his beauty and my joy would increase.

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Laundromat Ministries?

One place you’ll see a lot of students on our day off is the laundromat.  There’s sand, sweat, and grease all over our clothes by the middle of the week. I’m the type of person who puts off laundry for as long as possible. I don’t know how effective that method is because I end up spending the same amount of money by doing more loads, but I guess it’s considerate to keep your clothes clean.

A couple of weeks ago I was minding my own business, putting in my last load when I noticed a woman sitting on the table next to the washer machine I was using. She had a devotional book open and I felt God tugging on my heart to talk to her. I asked if I could sit next to her and she eagerly accepted.

We made small talked for a little while, “What’s your name? Where are you from? Where to you work?” then I pointed to the devotional book she had opened. She shared with me how she became a believer and how she’s trying to be better about reading her Bible. We continued to talk about her past, hard things she had been through, and how Jesus has always been a constant in her life. I was so encouraged by our conversation and wanted to let her know that she is loved. The woman opened up to me about how she has felt alone for many years. This broke my heart. She so readily accepted my offer of friendship and community which is something I take for granted. I expect people to circle around me and be in community with me. I believe that community is Biblical and beautiful, but I never understood what it was like to stand alone and be complete in Christ.

Before I left I asked her if we could exchange numbers and get together again. She gladly accepted and we met again. She contacted me last weekend and we met at Dunkin Donuts. We talked about how her Bible reading is going and how God meets us where we’re at. We read Psalm 81 and talked about how God delivers us from the hard things of this life. I hope to meet again with her at least one more time before we leave project.  

The more I meet with people the more I see how God is the only one who can change hearts. I am an inadequate human being who has been saved by the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ and it is HE who works in the hearts of others. I have a tendency to take credit and expect God to change people because of me. How sinful am I! There is nothing I will ever say or do that will stir the hearts of others apart from Christ. He holds His children in His hands and by His grace I am able to have encouraging conversations with others. Praise God for His mercy and allowing me to catch a glimpse of His beauty through the Holy Spirit that is living in others.

 

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"I'm living with how many people?"

The first time I heard about STP, someone told me that it was about 120 college students living in a hotel for two months. Not being a huge extrovert, I couldn’t imagine how you were supposed to make friends in that large of a group. But, in reality, STP has been broken down into smaller groups like campuses, teams and rooms, which makes it easier to form a close group of people around you while still having the option to get to know a lot of different people.

Campuses are probably the most obvious segregation on project. The reason all five Campus Outreach Minneapolis schools come to one project is because the mission of CO is to build laborers on the campus for the lost world. A summer of shared experience, learning and growth is strategic for cultivating a unified group of students on campus who are excited to share their faith and welcome others into the community built here. So we spend time together as campuses every week to lay a foundation for going back home.

Another way that STP has been strategically broken down is into teams. This summer, there are five teams on project: Imperfect Harmony, the Fueen Machine, Old Yeller, Recess and Al We Do Is Win. Each team is made up of 4-6 guy and girl rooms; they work together at Wal-Mart and attend church together, but the main way they spend time together is during team time, a time each Sunday where everyone on the team gets to know each other through games and conversation.

Rooms are designed to bring people of the same gender together from different campuses in a way that relationships can be intimately fostered through discipleship groups, room hangouts and one-on-one time. Rooms also expose students to people who come from a variety of different backgrounds and teach them how to work through conflict in close proximity.

Like I mentioned before, the point of all of these groups is to offer a setting that’s smaller and more comfortable, in which people can get to know one another better. As the summer goes on, they can each become places for sharing growth, struggles and joys.

Is it important?

I remember feeling during both of my past two summers that I didn’t really know what the point of the breakdown of project was, and it’s only now that I’ve been in the role of team leader that I really see the need for it, apart from the practical planning side of its purpose.

If we all perfectly knew how to reach out to others, form a community around ourselves, and never felt like we didn’t belong, there would be no point to what the divisions are about. But the reality is that as fallen and frail human beings, we don’t do any of those things well. We fear others’ opinions of us; we try to blend into the crowd; we hide behind facades of perfection and laugher...because not being known is so much easier than showing your true self. When people know you, they see your sin, they could judge you for the things you enjoy, they could decide that you’re so different that you’re not worth their time.

But vulnerability offers the sweetest connections of all. Openness breeds trust, and trust lays a strong foundation, one that will last long past one summer of living together, working together or being on the same team. It develops an attitude of the heart that should flow out of a security in our identity in Christ.

That’s the reason why STP is structured the way that it is; we hope and desire that people would learn to live freely with others out of a security in relationship with God, but recognize that doesn’t come naturally. Having campus time, team time and rooms offers a platform to show students what it could look like to have community as a way of life beyond this summer.

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To Pursue, or Not to Pursue? That is the Question

It’s relationships week at project and the subject of “proj crushes” has substantially shifted in meaning. Relationships week is devoted to discussing what it means to be in a Christ-centered community with mixed genders. There’s a guy-girl breakout session where the girls can ask questions on how we are supposed to love our brothers in Christ while guys ask questions on how to pursue loving relationships with women. The number one thing that is stressed throughout the week is the constant need of Christ and how He is our first and only love. The only way to be in a God-honoring relationship is to allow Christ to be our foundation.

However, many people aren’t used to hearing about what Christ-centered relationships look like. Project crushes have already developed and genders have been responding differently to the messages have been given throughout the week. The boys are second guessing themselves; “Is she the type of woman I can spend the rest of my life with? In what ways may I be leading her on? What does my community have to say about this?” The ladies, on the other hand, have their own questions; “Will he pursue me after project or during? Is he a spiritual leader? Can he articulate the gospel? I just really want him to pursue me!”

It’s interesting to watch the guy-girl dynamic of project change as feelings of opposite genders are being… revealed (notice the ‘revealed theme’ pun). But in all seriousness, I think we have all learned a lot this week. Eric and Holly Lonergan gave the two-part relationships talk on Monday and Tuesday. I was left with a lot of time to process what it means to be in a Christ-centered relationship.

Growing up in a conservative, Christian home, a lot of my focus has been on finding a good, Christian boy who can lead me in my faith. Throughout my life, my mindset has been to “be pure for my future husband.” I believe that it is good to live a pure life, but the more I learn about God, the more I see how I can’t live a pure life.

God is my Purity. He is my Righteousness. He is my Love. He is my Pursuer. My focus has always been on living for my future husband instead of living for my Savior. As I fall in love with Jesus the subject of relationships possesses a whole new meaning. No longer am I living for a future husband, but for the Creator of the universe. God has been revealing to me the blessing of my brothers in Christ and how to see them as His children instead of potential suitors. I look forward to hearing how God has changed the hearts of others as they learn more about Jesus and His gift of relationships. 

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Talking to Strangers is Okay

You know how your parents always told you that you shouldn’t talk to strangers? Well, here at STP it’s recommended, especially on Wednesday afternoons.

You may be wondering why that is...because it sounds kind of strange.

A big part of what we do here at STP is work to develop our personal relationships with the Lord, but a natural result of getting to know God better is to be moved to share Him with others. Wednesdays’ Ministry Training meeting is the time set aside to equip us with tools to share the Gospel effectively with those around us, as well as to have time to practice what we’ve learned.

What we do

Ministry Training meetings consist of two parts, a talk and a workshop. This past week, Nirmal Mekala spoke on “Abridged Revelation,” and walked us through how to share the Gospel using a simple diagram called the Bridge. It revolves around Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” After that, he discussed two kinds of fears we might face in evangelism, insecurity (fear of awkwardness, rejection or a loss of reputation) and inadequacy (we may not have the right answers).

In the workshop, students paired up and practiced sharing the Bridge with one another as if they were sharing it with an unbeliever. Then, we actually went out onto the beach and talked with tourists and locals about what we believe, and when we come back, we shared stories of conversations we had.

Why it matters

The amazing thing about being a Christian is that we get to be a part of God spreading His name and fame throughout the world. God didn’t have to use us to share the Gospel, but He chose to because it both develops our faith and gives us joy in seeing His work up close.

Undoubtedly, Ministry Training is the meeting that students dread the most, because it’s scary walking up to complete strangers and asking to talk about deep, heart-level issues. But the beauty of it is that, despite our insecurities and inadequacies, there’s no way we can fail if we step out in faith. God doesn’t call us to save those we approach on the beach; He simply calls us to be faithful to share the best news in the world.

Even though “cold turkey evangelism” isn’t our normal modus operandi, I think Ministry Training is one of the most valuable times of the STP week because it’s our chance to vocalize and live out what we profess the rest of the week: that God’s free gift of eternal life through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection is the most important thing in our lives, and we want the world to know it.

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A Journal Entry from a Walmart Employee

We’ve officially been at project for 12 days and we northerners are burnt from head to toe. Perhaps we underestimated the power of the southern sun. Thankfully, long hours at Walmart have protected us from taking advantage of the beach freedom.

I have been a proud Walmart employee for an entire week now. I work in the toys department which basically means I press all of the “try me” buttons and ask the magic 8 ball questions for 8 hrs. Don’t tell my parents about the magic 8 ball though; they’re Baptist and wouldn’t be happy with me. 

Just kidding. I do actually work, too. This week was spent organizing shelves, building crates, crushing boxes, and chatting with my new pal Walter. Walter is a 60 year old man who has the sass and wit of a high society Southern Bell. I have absolutely loved working with him and hearing him comment on customers and managers. I haven't had much of a chance to talk about Jesus with him, yet. Hopefully tomorrow I can ask him more about his faith. I want to build a friendship with him first since we’re working together all summer. 

Aside from the toys, I have loved visiting my friends in their different departments after I finished organizing the toys section. I don’t think the other employees are quite used to our high energy and youthfulness, but hopefully we can bring out their inner teenager by the end of the summer. 

I think the biggest adjustment for me has been working 40 hours a week. I went from working part time and going to school to being at a superstore for 9 hours, 5 days a week. It’s easier to have a good attitude and have fun when I am working with people I enjoy or can have good conversations with, but some days are harder than others. One way I’ve decided to use my “downtime” (moving around merchandise or stalking shelves by myself), is praying and processing the talks we’ve had. God has been a companion to me when there’s no other co-workers around which has been so sweet. 

Tomorrow begins another week at Surfside Wally-world. Stay tuned for quotes from the toy departments main man, Walter. Thank you all for your continued love and support!

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The theme...revealed.

Every year, STP has a theme that we use to study the Bible to understand more of who God is and who we are. Usually we choose a book of the Bible and formulate the theme around the main point of that book.

This year, we did things a little differently.

Instead of selecting one specific book, we’re studying the whole Bible.

Well, not quite all of it. Our theme this summer is “Revealed,” and we’re studying mini-themes, traced through scripture, that show how the Lord revealed Himself to us. We’ll be looking at themes like the Lamb, the Suffering Servant, and the King.

Our theme verse is Psalm 98:2, “The LORD has made known his salvation; he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations.”

It’s exciting that we’re going to be able to get a bigger glimpse into the redemptive thread God has woven through history and a deeper look into who He is. God reveals Himself in so many different ways that it would be almost impossible to cover them all in one summer, but studying the whole of Scripture gives us the chance to understand Him in a new and more holistic way.

What we want this summer

As I said, the goal of our theme is for us to be able to see more of Christ. But practically, how do we do we know if we’ve gotten to know Him better? Paul Poteat, director of Campus Outreach Minneapolis, and this summer’s project director, laid out three categories and some specifics of what he hopes we’ll get out of this summer of learning.

More of God

We're aiming to become more enchanted with God in all of His attributes and at the same time see Him as a total reality.

More of ourselves

This summer, we want to become disenchanted with our own goodness and our identities. We can’t come to a point of seeing our need for the cross until we recognize the depth of our own sinfulness.

More of Jesus

The more we learn about God’s holiness and our own sinfulness, the larger and more important the Gospel has to become in our lives; it can’t really happen any other way.

Ultimately, it’s God who is going to do the revealing and transforming work in our lives this summer. And that’s the beauty of it all, like Psalm 98 said: God saves and He didn’t make it hard to figure out how to find Him. He’s revealed himself all around us and we get a front row seat to see who He is.

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Welcome to the Carnival!

Greetings from South Carolina! 

Three days later, we are 1,084 miles from home, burnt from head to toe, and decked out in Walmart gear; welcome to Summer Training Project 2016! Praise the Lord that everyone made it to South Carolina safely. Everyone was so excited to get out of the car and onto the beach. 

On Friday, we had our very first project social. The theme was “Awkward Family at a Carnival.” Each guy and girl room paired up and creatively decided what their theme was going to be. This year we had a lot of different types of families in attendance. Minion, Olympic, hillbilly, hood-rat, Noah’s Ark, and zombie-nurse families tried their hand at multiple carnival games. My favorite awkward family was Krista Bain and Benjamin Greener’s room who dressed as the Duggar family. 

At the end of the carnival, the “Balla-Shock-Calla” family, Alexis Garcia and Erin Bankson, won ice cream sandwiches in a name drawing. Minion family Mariam Amirikian and Thomas Luichinger also won 10 tickets for best costume. 

The carnival concluded with a dance party in all of our costume attire. What a site it must have been to see Noah’s Ark and the Duggar family doing the cupid shuffle in 90 degree weather. All in all, the carnival social was a success and students are stoked to hear what the next social will be! 

Thank you to all who have supported and been a part of our Summer Training Project. The first social is just a taste of what is to come! 

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Introducing the STP Interns!

Every year at Summer Training Project, Campus Outreach offers a number of internships to students to help them grow their professional skills in addition to the spiritual and relational growth they’re experiencing. Internships are offered in a number of different areas, and I’m excited to introduce this summer’s interns and their jobs to you!

First up are the finance interns, Ben Evans and Weston Smith. They’ll be taking care of all of the STP finances, like support raising and reimbursements on project. Ben and Weston are both Marketing students at the University of Northwestern – St. Paul; Ben is a super senior and Weston is a senior. Fun fact about Ben: he can down bottled water at incredibly high speeds!

Next up is our videography intern, Maddie Cook, a sophomore at the University of St. Thomas. Maddie will be capturing all of the aspects of project on video and turning them into promotions and stories for future STPs. Maddie is studying Operations and Supply Chain Management, and in her spare time, she is an avid swing dancer.

Brenna Richardson is our web and audio content intern, which means she will be recording all of the talks given every week and uploading them to the CO Minneapolis website. Brenna will be a junior English major at St. Cloud State University and is passionate about drawing pencil portraits.

STP’s graphic design work is being done by Erin Bankson, a senior Graphic Design major at the University of Minnesota. She designed this summer’s theme logo and will be working on some rebranding projects for STP. Erin’s fun fact is that she has an incredibly keen sense of hearing; she can even hear bubbles in people’s throats!

Jordan McCauley is pioneering a new internship position designing infographics for STP. She’ll be putting together fun and informational pictures about the teams, our theme, and other interesting info about STP and the Myrtle Beach area. Jordan is a senior at the University of St. Thomas studying Communications, with a minor in Justice and Peace Studies. She is originally from Pennsylvania and has worked for the past two years at the Renaissance Festival in a food booth.

Claire Ripley will be this year’s photography intern. She’ll be capturing all of the special moments on project, from socials to work to free time fun. Claire, an incoming sophomore at the University of Northwestern – St. Paul, is studying Graphic Design and Studio Art. She loves anything water-related: swimming, boating, water skiing, the ocean and rainy days, to name a few.

Last but not least, Hannah Swanson and Briana Williamson (the author of this post) are in charge of STP communications, which means you’ll get to read our blog posts throughout the summer, and we’ll keep you up to date on social media with pictures and more! Hannah is a senior at the University of Northwestern – St. Paul majoring in Public Relations, and I am a senior at the University of Minnesota studying Marketing and Public and Nonprofit Management. Fun fact about Hannah: she was born in Canada and has dual citizenship. I was born in Texas and didn’t see snow until I was five years old!

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Trusting His Sufficiency

minneapolis@campusoutreach.org

A week ago, 50 staff and students involved with Campus Outreach Minneapolis gathered at Camp Victory in Southern Minnesota for a weekend of fun, relationship building, and leadership training for the various summer events of the ministry.

What does it mean to be a leader? What is my role? Will I do a good job this summer? Do I have what it takes?

These are the same questions that echo in our heads every time the both of us start thinking too much about being the directors of the 2016 Summer Training Project. And if we had to guess, they are questions that everyone involved with the leadership team has asked themselves as they contemplate the summer, whether serving on the Summer Training Project (STP), Cross Cultural Project (CCP), or the Twin Cities Project (TCP).

At the retreat, talks and workshops were designed to help us better understand our role and give us resources to thrive as leaders, but they didn’t put all the questions to rest. In fact, the more we talked about the summer, the more inadequate we realized we really are. The task is daunting. Yes, we want this summer to be filled with fun memories, growing experiences at work, and deepening relationships with other students. But ultimately, we want students’ hearts to be changed by the good news of what Jesus Christ has done for us in his life, death, and resurrection. That is something that none of us have the power to do. We do not have what it takes to do the work that we would love to see happen in the lives of students.

So why are we here? Why pull together a team of 50+ students every summer to lead our summer events?

On the first night of the retreat, Paul Poteat, our regional director, used Exodus 3:11-14 to help us understand our place. Moses, when called to challenge Pharaoh and bring the nation of Israel out of slavery, realized his own inadequacy and asked a similar question.

“But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” He [God] said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.” (Exodus 3:12)

The answer to Moses’ fear of inadequacy was God’s promise of the sufficiency of His presence.

The same promise is true today for as we look forward to the summer. We ought to feel insufficient when we think of our roles; without Him we are insufficient. But we are not alone. We can be confident leaders this summer because God promises to be with us, working in and through us to do what is good.

Please join us in asking God to do great work in students’ lives through the STP, CCP, and TCP, and ask him to help all of us to rest in his presence as we prepare to serve this summer.

David Cook & Emma Button
STP Student Project Directors

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