I hope that we will make a difference in the lives of future leaders who could have an impact on Italian society.
Hypocrisy, corruption, scandals, wealth…
These were some of the answers given by students at Europe’s largest university in Rome, Italy, when they were asked, ‘Which words come to your mind when you hear the word church?’ In a context where the good news of Christianity is perceived as neither good nor new, the challenge facing students of GBU Italy is to share their faith in Christ in a fresh way.
Hoping to change this view of Christianity, GBU students are holding a mission week (settimina evangelistica) from 12–17 March. This event is organised every year to help GBU students reach out through prayer, proclamation, and service, to university campuses in a particular city. This year it will take place in Rome, home to the largest university in Europe (La Sapienza: 150,000 students) and two other big universities, each with 40,000 students.
Federica Gramiccia, a staff worker with GBU, tells us more: ‘Around 50 students, who receive intensive training on evangelism, will organise a variety of activities during the day and the evening, such as open-air lunch debates, apologetic forums, one-to-one conversations, drama and movie discussions. The week will be followed by new seeker bible studies for students who show interest and want to learn more.’
‘I’m very excited to see GBU students out in the open having deep conversations and inviting their friends,’ added Sarah Breuel, a staffworker in Rome. ‘I can’t wait to see how the open-air debates between an atheist and a theologian will play out in the three universities.’
Esther Masdea, a business student in Rome, sees the strategic importance of the work of GBU. ‘The future looks very bleak to Italians right now. I hope that we will make a difference in the lives of future leaders who could have an impact on Italian society.’
We give thanks that Rome’s GBU group has had an especially encouraging year: four students decided to follow Christ and two new groups were started in two major universities.
‘We’re praying that many would come to the mission week events and that some students will be interested in joining the seeker bible study groups. Would you join us in that prayer?’