Fellipe felt there were a few young people and teenagers studying the Bible. “The only way I found to be able to reach them would be the same way in which I was reached”, highlights the student. (Photo Credit: Felipe de Souza)

South America

More than 50 Young People Learn About Jesus Every Week Before Playing Soccer

Fellipe carries out his evangelism campaign in the province of Córdoba, Argentina, with an atypical proposal that managed to capture the attention of adolescents and young people to meet Jesus.

Argentina | Alexis Villar

Fellipe Del Nobile de Souza is a native of Brazil and currently studying for a degree in theology at the Universidad Adventista del Plata, in Argentina. He is in his third year of college and participating in the evangelism campaign in the Ituzaingó neighborhood of Córdoba.

There, the challenge of finding people who want to know Jesus was great. However, Fellipe was not far behind. His past began to mark a destiny he never imagined. “When I was a teenager and lived on the streets of the ‘favela do Pombal’, a group of Christians invited us to play soccer, and they taught us about the love of Jesus before the games", he remembers.

Beyond all his efforts, in the first few months, Fellipe felt there were few young people and teenagers studying the Bible. "The only way I found to be able to reach them would be in the same way that I was reached", highlights the student.

Thanks to the support of Pastor Miguel Manzur, it was decided to rent a soccer field in the area. The boys' interest began to grow. The proposal was clear: they could only play in the field if they participated in the small group—something like a technical talk before the game, but with a focus on knowing the Bible and the message of Jesus.

“In the first week, 14 teenagers attended. In the following week, 25. Already in the third meeting, we had to rent a field for the men and another for the women, making up a group of 50 young people”, remarks Fellipe. Some of them are already doing Bible studies, and other young people have joined thanks to this unprecedented proposal. "I could never have reached many of them with the message if it weren't for this method", reflects the theology student.

The Start of the Campaign

Although this story has a happy ending because dozens of young people now know the message of Jesus, the beginning of the campaign was hard. The UAP student recalls, “On the first day in my work area, I noticed that there were many soccer fields and too many children on the streets (three-to-twelve years old). The next day, I bought treats to distribute and scheduled a series of games for the children. I started inviting them to our first meeting on Sunday morning. By the grace of God, about 20 children participated, as the schedule was very early. The following Saturday afternoon, more than 60 children attended”. 

After this intense work, God opened the doors for Fellipe to work with the parents and relatives of these children. After two weeks, there were already more than 100 adults interested in studying the Bible,

“Thank God we have more and more interested every day. There are already 100 people studying the Bible regularly in a serious and responsible way,” says Fellipe. With those interested, “I give them Portuguese classes; I bring pictures and activities for the children… and we supply their [food and other] needs. I pray for them in their homes, and I invite them to join the program that will be held in the tent shortly. In total, today, we have more than 200 people interested in studying the Bible, about 105 people studying the Bible, and 50 teenagers and young people in the small soccer group where we study the Bible before each game.

“Today, I see that nothing is impossible for God. Interested parties have multiplied. After the daily consecration, the work accompanied by a good strategy according to the needs of the area, I can see that God crowned the work with success. I don't know how many of these young people will decide for Christ, but I will continue working for them and leaving the results in the hands of God”, concludes Fellipe.

Fellipe's Past and His Dream for the Evangelistic Campaign

Fellipe and his brother had a common dream: to do for the children of humble communities the same thing that God did with them through that group of Christians.

“When I was eight years old, my parents divorced. While our mother worked, my brother and I were left on the streets. We missed school to play soccer with friends until those Christian people came up with a project that sought to attract street children to Jesus. They gave us lunch and afternoon snacks; they showered us;. they taught us music and how to play instruments. We did games, crafts, theater; they helped us by reinforcing school subjects and many other nice things. Thanks to that project, we left the world of drugs, drug trafficking, violence, and we met Jesus. Today, we and many other friends in the community recognize the positive impact on our lives thanks to that project”, recalls Fellipe.

Today, with his eyes and strength on the campaign, Fellipe dreams of doing the same from an Adventist perspective and is achieving it. “I am sure that God will open the doors. We are very [excited] to work with children who are in the world of addictions and with problems related to schools in humble communities and danger zones”, adds the theology student. “What I would like to convey to the church for this evangelistic campaign is that they can support this project with the children. Everyone can collaborate with people, collaborating financially, with snacks, sports practices, walks, camps, etc. Those children and young people can feel that they have a Christian institution and people who are concerned about them and who love them very much.”

A Series Suitable for All Audiences

In a world with so many challenges, it is necessary to discover the message of hope that the Bible has for us. For this reason, on Sunday, October 17, in the Ituzaingó neighborhood of Córdoba, where Fellipe and his friends study the Bible and play soccer, a series of meetings entitled "Reach for Life" begins. The main speaker will be Pastor Roque Roselot, leader of the evangelism area of ​​the Adventist Church in Argentina.

During the meetings, topics related to crime, earthquakes, anguish, insecurity, the pandemic, drug addiction, and climate change will be addressed. Those who attend will be able to see the movie Son of God on a giant screen. In addition, they will receive a free Bible. The address is Av. Vucetich 6850, corner Daguerre. There will be two shifts: the first at 7:30 p.m. and the other at 9:00 p.m. Entrance is free and open.

This article was originally published on the South American Division’s Portuguese news site