A Summer in Santa Cruz

Aaron experiences growth through his small group Bible study during the summer mission trip.

By Aaron Fleming
image-aaron and friends-465x280 Aaron with his Bible study during their summer mission trip in Santa Cruz: (Left to right): Will Parham, Clay Draper, James Wood, R.J. Lavigne, and Aaron. Photo courtesy of Aaron Fleming

I slept through my alarm.

Luckily one of my roommates woke me up so I wouldn't be late to work. I get ready to go and get in my work clothes and have just enough time to go through my quiet time.

I step outside into the courtyard of the Peter Pan Motel and can see all 18 rooms where 58 fellow college students and 12 Campus Crusade staff members live together.

My name is Aaron and I'm on a summer project in Santa Cruz, California.

Before 6 months ago I didn't even know what this summer mission trip was, yet I'm here and it's already been one of the best experiences of my life.

After I finish my quiet time I have to pretty much race to work; luckily work is only 2 blocks away. I work on the boardwalk at Surf City Grill.

Work for me usually involves taking orders, calling it back to the cooks, and serving it out, and sometimes it can get absolutely crazy. Today however was stocking day, which means I got a free workout lifting box after box after box.

After stocking I go back to my usual job. It was a slow day which meant lots of talking to co-workers, which thankfully some of them are as obsessed with the World Cup as I am so we had plenty to talk about. Because I'm on the boardwalk I can safely say that I probably won't ever have as good of view of the beach as I do from work. 

I clocked out at the end of work and it's time for dinner back at the Peter Pan.

Danny, the student cook, made Lo Mien (was kind of worried about how that would go). Today was the staff team’s day off so it was the first "practice" day that the students had to run the show. It had its bumps in the road but all in all it went well. 

I had a bit of time before dinner so I decided to keep reading a book that my small group leader, James (above) had turned me onto last time we met for 1-to-1 mentoring.

Even though it's only been 4 weeks I already treasure the time I get to spend with James because he's such a wise, understanding guy. He knows the Bible so well and still understands where I'm coming from in my lack of knowing a whole lot about the concepts that have been taught on the trip.

Later that night my action group (above) had our small group time. It was such a sweet time because it was the first night without our staff person, James, leading so it was a learning experience for all of us. 

It's been so incredible to see all the opportunities God has given me to build friendships today at work, with fellow Campus Crusaders, and others.

Throughout the entire summer God has become more real to me than He ever has been and that relationship I have with Him is growing daily.

Six months ago I had no idea I'd be here, or where here even was. Though it was tough raising financial support to come here, God's built my daily walk with Him and I wouldn't trade my summer so for doing anything else.

Read about other Summer Projects.