C3 sent a missions team to Bologna, Italy earlier this year to work alongside Jesse and Tricia Marcos, Cru missionaries C3 has been blessed to partner with. Jesse and Tricia work on university campuses in Italy sharing Christ with students and faculty. They just wrapped up hosting a seminar about Human Trafficking on several of the campuses. We spoke to Jesse about the event:
Jesse, why a Human Trafficking seminar? Is Human Trafficking a big issue in Italy?
Tricia and I have served in Italy for seven years now- eleven altogether in Western Europe. Moving to Bologna, we knew the ground was hard in a spiritual sense. In light of this, we became students of the Italians, learning what they are passionate about. It wasn't long before we began to realize they have very big hearts to help the needy. One of the glaring needs is that Italy actually leads the EU in Human Trafficking. Day and night you can drive the streets of Bologna and see women soliciting. Last year, along with a ministry that reaches out to these women, we jointly showed the movie Nefarious. It was through this we learned that students care about this issue, and they will come alongside us in this fight whether they believe in Jesus or not. The seminar has been a way to show unbelieving students the gospel in action- not only in words. For example, we held this seminar in three different locations. Two of the three were set up by non-Christian students.
Who gave the presentations? Why did you choose these particular folks?
Last January I was introduced to Dr. Beth Wheaton, an Economics professor at SMU in Dallas. Her passion was to speak on the Economics of Human Trafficking. The other speaker was an American Law professor who currently teaches in Prague at the Anglo American University. While living in USA, he prosecuted cases of Human Trafficking. He had also addressed the UN on issues of Slavery and Human Trafficking, as well as consulted with International Justice Mission.
What was the response?
The first night was at University of Bologna in another city an hour away. That night was sponsored a non-Christian organization and 130 students attended. The professor who attended told us he had not seen anything that well attended. The second night was at University of Bologna, and sadly it was not well attended. Although it was just a handful of people, the response was great and the discussion was outstanding. The third night was at our church with a much larger crowd. We were privileged to have Ann Abok with YWAM join us. She is Nigerian and works specifically in the area of trafficking. With three speakers that night, we had a panel discussion and it went well. It was sobering to hear many details of the lives of these women.
What’s the larger strategy? How does this connect Italians with the Gospel?
These types of seminars build credibility for us with the university, professors, students and other non-Christian organizations on campus. It opens future doors for us to bring the gospel to them. It gives us a door to places we could never get into otherwise. They meet speakers who are believers and well educated. They also see and hear from us how much Jesus cares for these women.
How can we be praying for your summer ministry season?
Wednesday a group of 14 arrived in Bologna for five weeks. Their main objective is to meet as many Italian students as possible, share Christ with them, and connect them with the long term staff for follow-up. Pray for what the Lord will do with their lives as they share the gospel. Pray that we see many students come to Christ and that they will want to grow in their faith. Pray that God raises up more long-term laborers to join us in Italy. Pray also for the US professors here who are in mentoring relationships with PHD students on campus-that this would be an avenue for the gospel to be shared.
If you would like more information on Jesse and Tricia Marcos and their ministry in Italy, please contact Jessica Meyers at firstname.lastname@example.org .