“The Selah gap year program is all about pausing to rest from the craziness of life and really focus on finding Jesus in a community. For me, finding Jesus meant going back to the beginning and learning the basic disciplines of practicing prayer daily, reading the Bible with intention and purpose, and learning how to be silent in front of God.  The support, love, and accountability here in Italy has enabled me to grow in all of these areas so that when I go home I can continue this growth. I can honestly say that I’ve met Jesus here in this community.
God has created such a beautiful community here in Torre Pellice. It’s full of laughter, delicious food, accountability, kindness, struggles, love, and Jesus. Being part of this community, even just for a few months, has given me a new love and desire to follow Jesus that I didn’t realized was even possible.”
Mackenzie, 24
“My three months in Italy have been the most impactful, spiritually formative, and refreshing moments of my life. The name of the program is “Selah”, which means to stop and pause in the presence of God and just be. That’s what this program has given me, time to just be in closeness with Jesus and rebuild the foundations of faith I didn’t realise I’d been lacking. The time I spent here was full of many opportunities to serve and find different ways to plug in. They included helping with the Re-shop, nursing home visitations, playing in the band on Sundays, book and bible studies, learning how to cook and bake, and my personal favorite, the Selah Cafe, where the whole idea is to bring people together by sharing a meal as a family. All of these things presented opportunities to connect and develop relationships with our neighbors and those who live around town. I’ve learned the power of Gods love and what it means to be intentional with my time with others. God has shown me what it truly means to do life together and be in community with Christ at the center.”  
Michaela, 24
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope and assurance about what we do not see.” - Hebrews 11:1 
A verse I had in mind coming to Italy for 3 months. This verse became more clear to me of what faith meant. For someone like me that finds comfort in having an agenda, I found the most beautiful meetings with God when there was no agenda.  
As we had great Corps Officers (Pastors) to guide us through this journey in these past 3 months, we read “Red Moon Rising” that shifted my perspective on prayer and showed me how powerful prayer can be. It has encouraged me to have faith and that no prayer goes unheard.  
Throughout these 3 past months, I’m in awe of how God has used the people here to show me that I am not alone in my journey and that I am loved by Him. From receiving hugs, making food, and the company of the people who come around the Salvation Army, I saw Gods hands at work in my life. God knowing that my love language is quality time and physical touch, He provided company for me when I felt alone, and hugs when I needed them most. My eyes where open to see this from God in a moment as we were at the nursing home. I was having a hard time getting through the day and I had prayed for some peace. As some of the kids from the members of the church came to help out as we went to the nursing home one Tuesday, Unexpectedly, their hugs and their company were just what I needed. It felt as though my soul had gotten a big warm blanket. I felt as though God was saying,” see, I got you Alex.” This was one of many moments over these past few months. 
I had a goal to make a cajon before I left, God showed me what it meant to build my foundation from Him. It took love and patience to cut, glue, nail, and snare piece together. Cutting it was like cutting my old self and habits out my life. Gluing was like  God putting the pieces that were made just for me together. The nails were Jesus being what holds me strong when I am weak. The snare piece inside was the voice God gave me that has this original sound that was just mine. The cajon was made with love and so was I.  
The space that was provided for me here was something I believe with my heart that was God knowing what I needed to be healed, restored, and awaken to be ready to wherever the journey God is taking me on.  
As there were activities and opportunities for ministries here, like the cafe, rishop, nursing home, sunday service, and the company of those here, I am beyond grateful and blessed to have been here for all of it. I can definitely say that God has shifted my thinking of what it really means 
to have faith and the importance of prayer. I’m ok with God making my agenda if it means I get to walk with Him.”  

Alex, 29
“These three months here in Torre Pellice have been about not only discovering who we are and where our talents lay but more importantly, it’s been about diving into our faith and learning more about how to be a disciple of God. From working at the Ri-shop, setting up for café, and visiting a nursing home once a week, we were given several opportunities to grow in community. Upon first arriving here, we were been given numerous opportunities to learn new skills. (we could choose whatever we wanted!) I decided I wanted to create a blog and I wanted to work on my cake decorating skills. Chris and Jessica made sure we were provided the tools and material needed to grow in our skills. We also made spiritual goals that they kept us accountable for. Having always felt like I could never pray out loud, Jessica made sure to push me out of my comfort zone and gave me tips, tricks and chances to tackle my fear. Over the past few months, I have felt stronger and more comfortable in my faith and full of new questions keeping me engaged and eager to learn more about Jesus. I have read most of the new testament while here which is honestly the most I could say I ever read from the bible. I have learned so much about what the Salvation Army stands for and how much of an impact they’ve had on so many people. I have made a community here in this church that I never knew I needed. We were warmly welcomed by some many in this community that made us feel right at home and a part of their family. Although the language barrier can prove to be quite difficult at times, that didn’t prevent us from creating relationships with the people here and memories to last a lifetime.”  
Amanda, 21
“As our time in Italy is coming to a close, we continue on our travels, and eventually head back home to the States. I am excited to see how much more I can grow and learn in my faith, and to see where it takes me and how I can use it in the future. I am so thankful that I have been able to participate in the Selah Gap Year program (both last year and this year) and for Captains Jessica and Chris who arranged for us to have these amazing experiences and have the opportunity to continue in Moldova and Germany as well. I am so grateful God allowed me to experience all of these things and for all the opportunities he has provided. Throughout this whole experience, one of the big things I’ve learned, is to trust in God’s plans and then if he chooses to reveal parts of his plans to me, not to try to force it to happen the way I want it to go, but to also trust that he knows so much better than I do, and I should just trust him completely and continue praying for his guidance.”  
Raven, 19
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