Global Ministry: Team Italy Serves Youth

by Rebecca Van Dyk '05

In early April, 18 APU senior Youth Ministry majors and minors along with Steve Gerali, D.Phil., associate professor of Christian ministries, and Amy Jacober, Ph.D, assistant professor of youth ministry, left for a ten-day trip to Italy. Under the guidance of Malachi Ministries, the group led a camp for adolescent children of United States military personnel.

Though the trip got off to a shaky start due to the high cost of travel, the group learned from the beginning the importance of trusting in God. “Many of us in the group were not confident that we would be able to raise the funds in time,” said Chris Moghtaderi '05, youth ministries and Christian ministries major. “I believe that the group as a whole learned to trust in God even more than before because of this.”

Team Italy flew to Frankfurt, Germany, and drove all night to the camp base in Cesenatico, Italy. While there, they served at a week-long camp, hosting the youth of nine different military bases located throughout Germany. Each teenager at the camp has parents who have served in Iraq, are currently serving, or are about to be deployed. Out of the three hundred camp attendees, 60 percent are non-Christian. Team Italy was able to minister by reaching out, forming friendships, and lending a listening ear.

The APU team held seminars about issues that face men and women, organized sporting events, led worship, and formed small groups. “The best part was showing love to the kids,” said Ronald Werner ‘05, youth ministry and biblical studies major. “These kids never get to interact with college Christians. For a week they just got to hang out and leave their worries behind them.”

Team Italy did a lot of listening and learning themselves. The trip ended in Venice, Italy, where the group spent time with each other and debriefed. Because of the trip’s hectic nature and previous months of planning, the opportunity of reflection was important for the team. “God answered my questions, but it wasn’t until I reflected that I realized that,” said Moghtaderi. “When we are distracted, it is easy for us to overlook God working and speaking to our hearts, it was important for me to listen to see and hear what God is trying to say.”