This year I had the opportunity to return to Tulsa, Oklahoma to attend Project 61 summer camp for a second time. It was great to see all of the STMs I had met last year and meet people who were new to the camp as well. Like last year, I was assigned to help in the 9-11 year old boys age group. I recognized many of the kids from last year and enjoyed seeing them again. Basically, my role as an STM was to be a best friend to all of the kids for a week. This consisted of encouraging the kids as much as possible, whether they did great in sports or made a mistake. It also meant showing love to them even if they rejected it or gave none in return. Many of the kids that attended camp experienced more love from the STMs and leaders during that week than they did from their own parents on a daily basis. To me this was a great opportunity to emulate the love that Christ showed to me when I was dead in my sin. Ephesians 2:3-5 says “All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved.” The time spent with the kids from the projects was by far the most important and impactful part of Project 61.
After we spent time ministering to the kids, we had time for games and fellowship with our fellow STMs. It was really great getting to better know all the people I served alongside this year, and also making new friends. Later in the evening, all of the STMs and leaders went to worship time, which included hearing a sermon each night. The teaching at Project 61 was very encouraging. It always gave the STMs and leaders a refreshed view on ministering to the kids each day. By the end of each day there was always a balanced amount of ministering, hard work, fun, encouragement, and worship.
The name “Project 61” comes from the Bible passage Isaiah 61. Isaiah 61:1 says “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.” It was this year at Project 61 that I really saw the true need and importance of this ministry. Isaiah 61 says that we are called to continue Jesus’ ministry by providing for the needs of the poor, both physically and spiritually. The opportunity to minister to the needy as Jesus calls us to do and the enjoyable time spent with fellow believers really makes for an amazing week. I hope to see you in Tulsa next year.