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Summer Project. Oh how I never wanted to go on you. Oh how I shouldn’t have ever made it here. 8 months ago, I was a young life leader, planning on going to camp with kids in the summer and then staying at home being a camp counselor and working. But I guess that plan just wasn’t going to cut it. I was feeling that young life wasn’t where I belonged anymore, that I could be used more effectively and grow in a different environment. So I applied for a summer project through Campus Crusade for Christ. People say a summer project is the best and biggest life changing summer you’ll ever have. My life started changing as I was filling out the application. I got accepted to Lake Tahoe in late January (I actually had Chicago as my #1 choice a few days before I turned in the app, but for some reason which to this day I still cannot say why, I changed my #1 choice.) I was still a young life leader then, but I was on my way out when I spoke with an inspiring and great man who has an awkward passion (but I absolutely love it) for board games. Jacob Wershing and I talked for a good while at Cru’s winter retreat and I decided I was going to try and switch ministries and become a leader in Cru. Within a couple weeks, I had been accepted on project, stopped leading young life, transitioned over to Cru and helped co-lead a bible study with the bro of them all, Greg Silverman and a couple o SMO’s. Ever since late January, my life has changed radically and I can see where I’m growing, noticing areas where I need to work on and just experiencing great community.
Summer project has been the pinnacle of this change.
I came in not knowing a soul and am leaving with 8o new best friends. I’ve already mapped out a hypothetical road trip in which I would travel cross-country to visit all my new friends while they’re still in school as I’m on my ridiculous 6 week winter break. Although, it would take a ridiculous amount of gas mileage, planning, etc. So if someone wants to join with and travel to Indiana, South Dakota, Montana, Washington, and Idaho, let me know ;). Of course it’s only a thought, but that’s how strong the community has been here. I’ve already talked with fellow LTSP (Lake Tahoe Summer Project) folks about splitting costs to road trip across America just to see these people. No big cities, theme parks or unusual roadside attractions, just traveling to their college, bummin’ on their couch, eatin 17 cent packs of ramen noodles all the way, and enjoying life.
I’m coming down to this final week with a better perspective and temper on a lot of things. I understand there’s still so much I have yet to learn and I am ready to pour out and be poured into. And now we’re down to the week of lasts. Only 6 more days to go and I will be laying on my comfy couch on Kettering Bend, with my cat Mario laying on my lap, laptop on one side and a sausage and cheese bagel on the other with my dog Harry begging for a bite. It’s sad to say goodbye, but I’m ready to take what I’ve learned here back to campus and apply.
It’s been a great summer. I’ve had the opportunity to share life and reach out to the community and specifically my co-workers. One being a 47-year old Elvis wannabe who has the life you would want to make a movie out of. The other, a mid-40’s Filipino mother of 2 who immigrated here 3 years ago, still struggles with English (can’t even drive unfortunately here yet) and has ended up being one of the most surprising inspirations I’ve found. Turns out she did church mission back in the Phillipines and hasn’t been able to go to church since she’s been here. Neither has my Elvis friend in the past 3 years. I’ve been able to take them both and even though it’s hardly much at all, they’ve both felt happier and better just with one trip and being around my fellow project folk. Oh, and I’ve been working at a movie theater. I have a major in video production and minor in film, talk about a great summer job. I’ve had the opportunity to go to San Francisco, scalp 1st baseline tickets to a Giants-Dodgers game for $20 in which Tim “The Freak” Lincecum was pitching and then got to cruise around the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. I was blessed to be chosen as a co-leader for the Community Team for our project halfway through, facilitating and co-heading up events to bring project unity and fellowship. Heck, we had a blacklight/white t-shirt highlighter dance party last Saturday. Epicness ensued. I’ve stayed up til 4 am discussing life, theology and just sharing experiences multiple times. Denny’s has become my favorite late night restaurant and I’ve survived these past 9 weeks with ZERO Chipotles. I’ve taken so many pictures of the gorgeous lake, waterfalls, sunrises and sunsets that even God would say, “I know this creation is good, but calm down kid.”
So Athens, here we come. Of course though, I must reflect through photos now. So as we’re winding down and I’m getting ready to go back into the theater, into the heated box office, here are some photos I hope y’all enjoy. A summary in a sense of these past 6ish weeks in Tahoe (since I’ve last posted):