When some people think of mission trips, the first couple locations that come to mind are deep in the jungles of Africa, parts of China or maybe even the local mission serving the homeless.
However, for more than 100 University of Memphis students, Orlando can be added to the list.
Affectionally called the Orlando Project, the 10-week program, starting May 25, sets out to “give students tools that would help them share their faith with their families and friends while growing closer to God,” said Denny Catalano, campus director of the Orlando Project.
When asked why the city of Orlando was choosen, Catalano shines a light on the diversity that the city naturally possesses.
“We go to Orlando because it is one of the most visited cities in the world, a melting pot of the nations,” he said.
“We put them in rooms, give life-on-life discipleship, set up jobs at Universal Studios as well as Sea World,” Catalano said.
Because of a partnership with the Orlando Project, these theme parks reserve hundreds of spaces for the college students to come and work for 10 weeks while being taught how to share their faith and grow closer to God.
To be a part of the Orlando Project, students must complete an application and clearly express their desire to grow closer to God. The cost of the project is $1,350. Students can either raise the money or go to Orlando with little money and use their paycheck from their job.
For U of M student Kerry Johnson, working a job and living with more than 100 college students at a hotel for 10 weeks, ultimately matured her in ways she could only dream of. She said her expectations are extremely high based on her experiences last year.
“I expect to grow deeper in my faith and to gain new friends along the way,” Johnson said.
Fashion Merchandising student Gerrin Murray shares the same sentiments as Johnson. This will be his third Orlando Project.
“I expect to grow in my personal relationship with Christ while making lifetime friendships,” Murray said.