by Zvonko Valentini, National Director of Youth for Christ in Serbia

Working with Child Evangelism Fellowship at their facility in a Serbian city called Mrcajevci, a team of Youth for Christ staff recently helped to organize and lead a youth camp for young people from 16 – 25 years of age. It turned out to be quite a challenge, but also very worthwhile.

Right from the beginning of the camp the team felt compelled to pray, asking for God’s protection, wisdom and authority. The team continued to meet during free times, praying together and bonding over shared problems, funny moments and other items related to camp life.

Forty-one youth were served by a team of six leaders and six volunteers. The youth were divided into five small groups with around 10 members each.

The camp’s theme focused on the life of Joseph from the Old Testament, although small groups and evening talks gave plenty of opportunities for discussion of other topics also.

As with many youth camps, leaders found that the young people did not want to go to sleep at night, despite a busy schedule. At the beginning of camp, some were playing obnoxious music and sending text messages to some other girls from the camp; one even sent messages to a prostitute whom he knew. Finally after 2:30am everyone fell asleep.

The next evening, as everyone arrived in the room at midnight and was getting ready to go to bed, I gave them a suggestion. I told them that I would like to pray for them by name, and to pray for one of their needs. When everybody said something to pray for, I prayed. Everybody said AMEN, and after 10 minutes, we were sleeping.

The next day one of them suggested that they would like to pray also, but that I could finish our “evening prayer meeting”. So we did that. Every one of them said short prayers and again after 10 minutes we all fell asleep.

Prayers were not entirely focused on sleeping. Most of all, we were praying for their salvation. Every day we gave them some challenge for salvation and for life. The team prayed a lot that God would work in their hearts and change them totally.

There isn’t time or room enough to write about all the things God did in the hearts of our leaders and our campers, but God really worked perfectly.

During the final message, God led me to invite the young people to invite Jesus to be their Saviour and Lord. After an invitation, around 10 young people raised their hands to indicate they wanted to make that decision.

As the meeting finished, I announced that we would like to pray for all of those who raised their hands. I asked them to come forward so that our team could pray for them. Instead of 10 people, 30 young people came forward to ask for prayer.  We are so thankful to God for all of them and for this opportunity.

The last afternoon, one of the campers gave me a hug and told me, “Thank you, Zvonko, that you prayed every night for me and for that need which I mentioned to you. I feel so much better.”

God gave us five days to show those kids who God is, how good, merciful and loving He is. He gave us those days to show them how wonderful a life with God can be, and challenge them to allow God to change their lives. I am so thankful to God that some of them did that.

Please pray for these youth and for people who will work with them in days ahead.