from Ester Montefalcone, National Director 

The first week of July, Youth for Christ in Italy hosted a camp called [email protected] in Bologna.

The camp involved 35 Italian young people, mostly from an unchurched background. A team of 16 (12 youth under the age of 18 and 4 leaders) from College Church in Wheaton (IL) was there to help run the bilingual camp. This is Italy’s 4th year of partnership with the church’s World Impact program.

The staff are very grateful to the church for their investment in God’s kingdom in Italy. In addition to a week of great fun, staff had many great conversations with teens about faith and Jesus. Gaia, a 14 year old girl, has been coming to [email protected] and has been attending Youth for Christ’s Rock Solid club for the past 3 years.

It was almost midnight when Gaia and a Youth for Christ staff person were sitting outside under a starry sky. Gaia shared her desire to get closer to God and to be part of a faith community. Another teen was also taking part in the conversation and was encouraging Gaia to trust Jesus. Seeing Claudia so overt about her faith brought a deep sense of joy to the staff who witnessed the conversation, thinking of how a conversation like that makes sense of all the hard work and sometimes craziness of putting a camp together.

Gaia was concerned about her family’s reaction. Her parents are divorced and she lives with her mother and her mother’s fiancè. That night, she told how she is sad because she knows that her mother is not interested in spiritual things and would not encourage her to go to church. So Gaia’s staff person prayed for her.

Then on Sunday morning at the final celebration of camp where local churches and the teens’ parents are invited to join, Gaia’s mother shared how happy she was that her daughter wants to go to church and that she actually wants to go to church herself and know more about what Christians believe.

The staff person was able to recommend a church on their side of town pastored by the husband of one of the staff people for the [email protected] camp – the same lady who invited Gaia to camp in the first place! Conveniently, this women also used to be Gaia’s English teacher.

This was just one of many stories of God at work in the lives of young people who attended the camp.

Please, pray for the follow-up that will take place with those who attended.