Rich Iacovetta

South Shore Campus Life 83'-84'

I lived in Levittown, NY and went to the South Shore Campus Life group in 1983-84. The leaders were Pete & Diane (along with Mike & Beth). 

I was invited to Campus Life by my girlfriend when I was 17 years old. I was raised Catholic, but in name only. Neither of my parents were really practicing so I wasn’t familiar with Christianity at all in my teenage years. 

But my girlfriend told me there would be free food, and what 17 year old boy doesn’t like that? I asked my friend Jamie to go with me and we had a good time. The first thing I noticed was that the kids were different. They were friendly toward each other and positive,  instead of cutting each other down. It seemed strange to me that other New Yorkers would behave this way. 

I continued to go and a few weeks later, Mike invited me and Jamie to cometo a bible study at his house with him and his wife Beth. I asked who would be there and he named a few of the kids. So we agreed. He picked us up and we went to his home and found out no one else could make it but me and Jamie. He handed us a couple of bibles and we read some scriptures. I don’t remember which ones, but I do remember reading the word “sabbath” and us cracking up and saying obnoxious things like “Yeahhhh Sabbath!” and “Ozzy Rules” . I’m surprised he didn’t kick us out of his house because we really tried his patience. He had lost control of us. Haha! After the meeting when he dropped us off, he asked if we could make it next week. I lied to him and told him my parents go bowling at that time and I’d have to watch my little sister. He then suggested we meet earlier in the afternoon instead and he’d have me home in time to babysit. He got me. I couldn’t think of another excuse, so I said “Ok, I guess”.  The next week when we got to his house (again it was just me and Jamie), he didn’t give us any bibles. We just talked. The subject turned to music and me and Jamie were talking about what an awesome band there must be in heaven with Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, etc…Mike simply asked me, “Well Rich, how do you think you get to heaven?” I replied that I had done more good things in life than bad things ​and so the scales would tip in favor of me getting in. He told me, “The bible says unless a man is born again, he won’t even see the kingdom of God”.  I’m sure he explained to me what that meant, but honestly, I don’t remember anything else that was said that night. My mind was focused on being born again. That night I went home and as I laid in my bed, I prayed, “ God if you are real, and this is the only way to go to heaven, then I want to be born again”.

Immediately I jumped in with both feet wanting to know more about this Jesus who loved me enough to die for me. I knew about him before, but now I wanted to know him personally. I started reading the bible and borrowing Randy Stonehill, Keith Green, and Phil Keaggy records from Mike. I went into the Navy a few months after and continued to grow in my faith, meeting wonderful people who God used to continue to help my spiritual growth. I moved to California after getting out of the Navy and have now lived here for 30 years (even lost my NY accent). Over the years I have had the opportunity to lead small groups with Tina, my wife of 15 years, and my passion lies with helping people who have been through spiritual abuse at the hands of unhealthy churches (yes, I experienced it myself as a new Christian a couple of years later- but that’s a testimony for another time). 

I am thankful for the opportunity to stay connected to many of my Campus Life friends (including Mike & Beth), and I am thankful that the stepped up to answer God’s call to volunteer to work with and encourage a teenager like me. It has made an eternal difference.