In the summer of '09, my husband and I were disciples. Summer of '10, we were room leaders. Summer of '11, we were team leaders. And summer of '12, my husband was project director and I was in New Zealand with the CCP team.
Needless to say, if you are going to Campus Outreach's Mountain Project this summer, we probably understand most, if not all, of the feelings you might have.
Here are some thoughts for people going to MP this summer:
1. Go at your own pace in evangelism.
A lot of people go to Project to learn how to share their faith better. And you will. But that doesn't make it any less scary when you go to do it.
Don't rush yourself. One of the biggest temptations on Project is to try to look as spiritual as everyone else. Don't fall for it. This summer is about YOU and GOD (this includes you, too, leaders). SO, if just starting a conversation with a stranger is a big deal for you (like it was for me), just start there. Say "hey" and ask where they're from (because most people are on vacation in Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg). Find something to relate with them on - their kids, school, sports, their dog, whatever! Don't worry about the spiritual stuff right off the bat - you'll get there (unless you feel ready for that! Ain't nobody stopping you). This is not about performance; this is about faithfulness.
2. Let people know you.
This summer - you're going to eat together, work together, learn together, laugh together, all of it. Within all this time together are ample opportunities to let people in. It is possible to be surrounded by people, yet feel so alone. So, as you feel comfortable, let people in on your struggles. On Project, it may seem like people are perfect but they aren't - they're just people.
3. Get time alone.
Project, at times, can feel like you're drinking out of a fire hydrant. Getting alone gives yourself the opportunity to digest what you're learning so that you'll actually grow from it and not just forget it. Plus, you're there to grow in your relationship with Christ. You need time away with Him in order to do that. Everyone will be there when you get back.
Ride rollercoasters. Love Dolly. Throw things in your trunk for room cleaning. Go to bed at curfew. Be nice to your leaders. Group date e'erday. Take pictures. Turn your Christian rap UP. Dance a lot. JUNGLE BOAT RIDE with EVERY person on Project. Wear T-shirts - forget nice clothes. Don't get in a prank war with Hillary Walters. And, call your parents!