My name is Alessio Iorio, I was born in Rome and grew up in Rome and moved to Arezzo when I was 17. Before I met Jesus I thought I could live my life without God. When I was fourteen years old I entered a period of depression, because I was feeling alone, I was scared to die and I struggled with sleeping paralysis, I did everything I could to try to live a happy life without God. I tried pornography, relationships and different kinds of spirituality… until I realised only God can help! One day I went into my bedroom, went to my knees and said "God I don’t know nothing about you. If you are real please show me!" From that day my life completely changed because I read about Jesus and his work on the cross. I grew up in church but I never understood the work on the cross. He died for me on the cross, he took my sin, he took my shame. I had to receive that gift - just for me. The day after I went to school jumping on the streets. I was full of joy: a completely new person. I decided to give God not just my life, but my time, my future - everything! I told God "I don’t know what this means but I want to serve you."
DTS is an experience where you can really know more about God, and also about yourself. For me it’s completely outside of my comfort zone. But it’s good because that’s how we grow. DTS is never the same - every single day. New day, new challenges. The more challenges you face, the more deeper you go with God, the more you grow. Sometimes it’s hard, but it’s really worth it.
For me one challenge is the language. English is not my first language. Sometimes I want to say something but I don’t have the words. God has been helping me in my communication, because if I don’t have the words, God gives me the words. Another challenge can be to live in community, but we can literally know God by living together with other people. It’s a place full of grace. Everyone is ready to encourage you, speak truth of God over you. It’s like a piece of heaven on earth!
There’s a beautiful verse in the Bible. The face of God shines upon our faces and because of that we can literally see Jesus in each other. When they serve you, when they help you, when they just smile at you. May God be gracious to us and bless us, make his face shine on us - Psalm 67:1.
My biggest highlight so far? Early on in the DTS our base leader Reinier spoke in our school. He challenged us to come before God with our questions. God is not afraid of our questions. Sometimes we are afraid to say, “I don’t trust you,” or “I don’t know,” to ask God the hard questions. In the church I often feel like I have to be perfect, but in real life it’s not always like this. God is not mad at us when we say “we don’t understand what You are doing.” He is ready to answer us and to involve us in what he is doing. He is not afraid of our humanity. We try to hide our humanity, but God is attracted by our humanity.
I came to this DTS with the idea to move to another nation after the DTS. God really spoke to me a lot about the Middle East. However, from the first day of this DTS God started to give me a heart for Italy. For me this is something really strange. I love Italy, but I don’t want to be a missionary here. “A prophet is not loved in his own country.” From the first day a fire started to burn for Italians and for the young people in my country. I started praying “give this fire to other people.” Day after day this fire started to grow and to burn. Until we went to Francavilla al Mare with the whole DTS. I asked God this week “you MUST speak to me.” I want to understand what to do. Every morning in Francavilla God was like a gentle wind and he started to speak to me in a sweet kind, beautiful way. He started to open my own heart and show me how much I love this country and that this is not just my love, but his love for this country. I want to see revival in this nation.
And what's crazy is that that day one of our school staff named Tom had an impression for me in our worship time and the word was ‘revivalist.’ That night we had a barbecue with a few missionary families, and one of the women asked me if she could pray for me. While she was praying I felt as if a liquid ran from my head to my back and while I felt this she had a vision of Samuel anointing David for the work he was called to do. She told me this time is a time of preparation for ministry, which is the same day that Tom shared that word with me, and God spoke to me so clearly on the beach. That day I decided to commit 10 years of my life to this beautiful country. It won’t be easy but it will be worth it. God has something unique, powerful, amazing for this country. A powerful country. I’m ready to see this revival come and to see the unreached reached in this nation.
By Alessio Iorio, Student of the Aspire DTS 2021