Partnership Illustrated: Cage Soccer in Italy

Youth for Christ believes in partnership.  Working together with the local church and other like-minded partners enables Youth for Christ to raise up life-long followers of Jesus who are characterised by their godliness in lifestyle, devotion to the Word of God and prayer, boldness in evangelism and commitment to social involvement. Few stories illustrate the value and benefit of partnership better than a recent outreach in Italy.

Youth for Christ in Italy is praising God for an amazing week of outreach. The outreach involved a cage, in which teams played football (soccer) against each other. Dutch and Irish Youth for Christ teams partnered with them in Turin with outreach to teenagers in a park. Youth for Christ also partnered with a local church in Turin to run the event.

The outreach went beyond expectation: dozens of contacts with unchurched young people whom the staff in Italy would never meet in another way; a great spirit of unity among the teams; a warm welcoming and hospitality by the church; a great encouragement for the youth group of the church which was challenged to reach out to their peers and seems to have received the challenge and is willing to go for it; and many many other things.

Despite a few spiritual attacks and transportation setbacks at the start, the program continued and God was clearly at work every single day. Many teens lined up outside to play in the cage and listened to talks about passion for football and for Jesus. Outreach staff also got in touch with a number of teenagers who play football every single day for hours at a football pitch which is right beside the place where the cage was built, and started playing with them as well. So many conversations about life and faith went on with little children, teenagers, mothers and grandmas who were hanging out at the park.

Everyone involved is marveling at what God can do through a set of metal panels in the shape of a cage and the partnership of His people.

The Youth for Christ leaders from the Netherlands and from Northern Ireland did a great job and showed love to the young people in the park in so many ways, clearly demonstrating a passion for lost souls.

Many of the teens in the park are from immigrant families from Morocco, Egypt and Eastern Europe. A lot of them live as outcasts from Italians and spend their afternoons playing football because it is all they have. Outreach staff report feeling privileged to have become part of their community.

Thank you for praying:

  • that the youth group from church will carry on the good work, continuing to work on those relationships that have been built there,
  • that God will reveal Himself to these young people through what they saw in us and heard from us, and
  • that there will be a hunger for God in them that will push them to search for Him.

Youth for Christ’s National Director in Italy, Ester Montefalcone writes, “This was an experiment for us. When we planned it, we did not know what to expect but God has gone beyond. During the week, looking at what was happening, we have started dreaming about a regular cage ministry in Italy.”

The cage used in the Turin outreach has been generously donated to Italian team by Youth for Christ in the Netherlands. Italy’s intern, Paolo, is now developing a vision for this ministry and seeking more people and resources to help him develop a regular cage football ministry in Italy.

If you would like to partner with Youth for Christ in Italy by providing a financial gift to assist them with the development of their new cage football ministry, click here.