Reaching the Youth Through Sports in Spain

Reaching the Youth Through Sports in Spain

In Catalonia, a region in Northeastern Spain, the hopelessness is palpable. With a virtually non-existent spiritual climate and very few churches, many people live with deep, unanswered questions. L’Arcada, a camp and conference center located in the valley of Sant Miguel, provides a place for locals to ask questions. All who step foot on the 750-acre property for summer camps and other events hear a message of hope––that Jesus holds the answers to life’s hardest questions.  

After two years of cancelled camps due to the pandemic, young people and families were eager to return to L’Arcada in 2022. The staff and summer volunteers were equally enthusiastic to welcome them!

Reaching the Youth Through Sports in Spain

Each summer, L’Arcada offers several different themed camp weeks. A favorite among Spanish teenagers are the camps organised and led by GEM workers and Sports Camp Directors, Dave and Cindy Bintz. High school Spanish athletes are excited to play sports with and be coached by volunteer American athletes.

Their mission? Show campers how deeply they are loved and invite them to have a relationship with Christ––a new concept for most campers. 

The appeal of being trained by American coaches, playing sports, or mountain biking alongside American teenagers motivates most campers to attend Sports Camp, but L’Arcada offers them so much more. Coaches – on the field, on the court, or in the dining halls – not only teach campers athletic skills but also train them in the Word and share the hope of Jesus. 

Reaching the Youth Through Sports in Spain
A young camper holding a Bible.

Each morning after breakfast, campers gather with their counselors for a devotional time. They study the Bible, ask questions and hear about the love of Jesus. While they do this at every camp, this year the response was greater than anyone imagined!

Instead of counting down the minutes before they get back out on the field, fifteen campers asked their counselors if they would be willing to get up early and study the Bible with them before breakfast. They were running out of time to ask their questions during devotions and were longing for more answers from the Bible.  

The campers were so hungry for spiritual things, some even skipped free time to hear more about what it means to have a relationship with Jesus. That week, more than sixty campers asked for Bibles. In the camp’s 30+ year history, staff have never seen a response like this! 

In this dark and spiritually desolate place, people are desperate for light and hope. Due to the pandemic, most Spanish young people experienced the death of someone very close to them. Many have questions and a search for answers. The Bintzes know that answers can only be found in Jesus. Through Sports Camps that draw youth to L’Arcada, they share the life-changing message of Jesus.  

Reaching the Youth Through Sports in Spain

Please pray for the ministry at L’Arcada: 

  • L’Arcada needs more full-time staff. Please pray for more workers! 
  • For Dave and Cindy as they spend time in the US recruiting coaches and players for next summer’s Sports Camps. 
  • For those following up with the campers from this summer. Pray that the young people would continue to experience the love of Jesus

About the author: Michelle Johnson serves with Greater Europe Mission in Athens, Greece.