Whew! So for those of you that are wondering if I have even made it California or not, I have, I promise! It has been such a whirlwind since I’ve gotten here and I have barely had time to sit down and gather my thoughts. But I wanted to let everyone know that I made it safely and it has been an amazing experience so far!
We arrived this past Monday and have been going non-stop since we landed. There are 57 students on project here along with 20 staff so when we arrived it was really overwhelming. But after a few short days, we’ve all gotten to know each other really well and I already count their friendships as such blessings! We are all living in a motel called “The Peter Pan” and it’s a tight squeeze, but it’s so much fun having all these people around.
This past week has been full of community-building activities, job orientations, and evangelism training. The first full day here, we had a huge scavenger hunt all around Santa Cruz to help orient ourselves and then we had job orientations on Friday morning. Our first day on the job was on Saturday and it was great! I’m working for a company called Miller’s Sun Shops and they own many retail businesses on the boardwalk. I received a lot of training Saturday on the job and I enjoyed getting to know my co-workers. I’m really looking forward to building relationships and spending my summer with them! They love having the “crusaders” here and they are so welcoming towards us. The Lord has really blessed the presence of this summer project in Santa Cruz! Another big part of our time here has been spent in evangelism training for different outreaches we’re doing in the community. We did our first outreach in downtown Santa Cruz yesterday afternoon and it was a great learning experience. Our goal yesterday was to get a good feel of the culture in the city along with getting the opportunity to chat with the locals. I got to talk to a couple different people while we were out for the afternoon and they loved getting to share more about their city and give advice on what to do here….which I loved hearing about! The conversations eventually lead to “Why did you come all the way from North Carolina to Santa Cruz?” and I was able to share more about why our group was here and what we’re hoping to do. It was great practice for initiating conversations with people and hearing what they have to say. All-in-all, it’s been a great first week!
This is our first full week of work so we’re not going to have quite as many project activities but we’re praying that good relationships will start to be made so that our co-workers will want to begin joining us for MNL (Monday Night Live….our Monday night worship service), dinner, etc. Through these things, we’re praying that we can engage in good, spiritual conversations so we may share the Gospel with them! I would love for you to join me in prayer for continued unity within our group, boldness in the workplace, and personal growth for each student here. Also, we’re praying for softened hearts in Santa Cruz as we encounter many people who need Jesus and that our hearts are in a place to love and serve these people well.
Sorry for such a long post! I thought I would get everyone updated on this past week. From now on, I’ll give short updates more often so I promise they won’t all be this long 🙂 Thank you all so much for your prayers and support!