It’s been a week since the leaders’ caravan rolled out of the Bethlehem Baptist parking lot, cars packed with excited students ready to head down to the Summer Training Project. Since then, the leaders have worked hard cleaning, unpacking, and preparing the Aquarius Motel to feel like home. We loved spending time getting to know each other and grow as a team before the disciples arrived, but everyone was growing in anticipation and excitement as Friday drew near. The first car from the disciples’ caravan came cruising in mid-afternoon on Friday. They were ambushed with loud cheering, signs and dancing. Needless to say, everyone was a bit over stimulated and overwhelmed.

A few hours and countless introductions later, the students all headed over to the church across the street for the first rally. We flooded through the doors, welcomed by a high-energy CO staff team and a pump-up dance to the Cupid Shuffle.

Mike Polley gave the first talk of the summer. Our theme for this year is “Free,” and we will be digging deeper into the book of Galatians. Polley walked us through the main verse for the summer: Galatians 5:1 “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” We are set free so that we may walk by faith in freedom, not in slavery to the law. It will be sweet to see how God works in students’ lives through the wonderful truths about Jesus Christ found in Galatians.

Every Project is different of course, but this year is particularly different for several reasons, one being the change in location. Our summer home, previously located in Garden City Beach, is now in Myrtle Beach. The area is much more populated and, of course, tourist-y. There are countless souvenir stores, restaurants, and coffee shops within walking distance from Project, which is definitely different from Garden City Beach. There is even a 187-foot Ferris Wheel a block away from us! So there are plenty of options for socials, group dates, and general hang out spots this summer.

The norm for Project is to be crazy busy and have tons of exhausting fun, but the first few days are always crazier than most. As this week continues on, students will have the opportunity to spend relational time with their roommates, schoolmates, and other brothers and sisters in Christ. There will be a lot of information to take in and plenty of new names to remember, but as the week passes and people settle in, Project will feel more and more like a home away from home.