Last week I had the privilege to join a team of young people and help put on a sports camp for middle school aged kids in Arezzo, Italy! It was an amazing experience and the reason for this blog post being a week late. Hopefully there will be no hard feelings for me pushing it back a week, and if there are…look on the bright side, you will get two in two weeks now! With that out of the way, let’s jump right into this post.
Accompanying us on this trip was none other than our Director of Mission, Phil Young! He is an avid watcher of things that he likes to coin as “God moments”. These are moments in which you can clearly see the hand of God at work in your, or someone else’s, life. When you make habit of looking for God in all sorts of areas of life, you will find out quickly that He is heavily invested in the lives of those who He has created! In honor of Phil and his encouragement to look intently for God moments, I would like to share a few that we had while we were there!
- In my personal opinion this was the biggest God moment we had all week. There was a young lady whose name was Sarah and her entire family are all practicing Muslims. She was young enough to know there was a difference between what we were sharing and what her family believes, but not old enough to critically think about the severity in which they are different. Every day we would sing songs of praise in English and Sarah would follow along the best she could, just singing away to a God that she didn’t quite know that much about. We would also have daily bible studies and during that time we would look at different “I Am” statements made by Jesus Christ during His ministry. Every day when we asked someone to tell us what was spoken about the day before Sarah’s hand would shoot up with excitement to share with everyone that she remembered. Like I said earlier, she knows there is difference between the Muslim faith and Christianity, and she may not have become a believer in Jesus Christ last week but as Isaiah 55:11 says “so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I send it.” ESV Regardless of decisions made last week, those kids heard truth from the Word of God! That word will not return to God empty!
- Another great God moment happened in the life of a young man named Jesaja (Jesiah). Jesaja is from Holland and spoke no Italian, which made it a lot easier for our students to communicate with him. Right out of the gate Jesaja was nervous about being at the camp and was reluctant to stay. Thankfully we were able to persuade him to stay because he had an amazing time! During the week Jesaja was working through his nervousness and tried out the different groups to find the right fit for himself. He decided to join the yellow team and once the chaos settled he found himself loving every activity we did. Our students made sure to help him feel welcomed and through the week a few got to create relationships with him. By the time Friday rolled around Jesaja didn’t want the camp to end. He had a total transformation from crying about having to stay on Monday to crying about the camp ending on Friday. Somewhere in the middle of those two days Jesaja was shown a love so strong that he felt safe, comforted, and valued. No one can drastically change a child’s mindset like that other than God. It was awesome to see his transformation and to know that it was solely because of God bringing peace to his heart through the love he received from his teammates and leaders!