Why Missionaries Love Their Job
Photo: Jess (left) and Jennifer (right) on the day of Jennifer's baptism at the Easter vigil this year.
There we were, two eager missionaries, ready to take on this world-renowned, burnt orange, 50,000-student campus and looking for students to help us. After months of prayer and sacrifice, we knew God would raise up the right leaders to strategically evangelize the Longhorns. But we didn’t really expect them to come so soon.
Within our first week in Austin, my teammate Jimmy and I met six students who said, “Yes! I want to be a part of this.” These students amazed me. We didn’t even have to win them over to us, much less win them to Christ. They desired to evangelize, but just needed to know what to do. And it only took one Chipotle date on a hot Texas afternoon for me to know that God was going to use Jess, a senior Advertising major from Killeen, TX, to do some awesome things.
Jess had a relatively fresh conversion and had recently made the decision to give every aspect of her life to Christ. Because of this, I think her conviction and zeal were made even stronger. Jess met Jennifer, another senior student at UT, while hanging out a mutual friend’s place one day early in the fall. They became friends quickly, talking for hours and spending time with each other on a regular basis. After a couple of weeks noticing that Jess was really involved with activities at the Catholic center, Jennifer started asking questions. You see, Jennifer wasn’t Catholic…she wasn’t really anything. Growing up in a lukewarm nondenominational Protestant atmosphere, she believed in God, but wasn’t necessarily sold on Jesus yet. And at this point in her pursuit of Truth, Judaism was the leading contender.
After several talks about faith, Jess decided to invite Jennifer to Mass. Jennifer came once…and then again, until she was regularly attending and asking lots of questions. Jess had been leading a Bible study for several months now and extended an invitation to Jennifer, who gladly accepted. After several weeks of attending study, Jennifer and Jess went through the Crux Bible study one-on-one. And it was then and there that Jennifer decided to not only give her life to Christ, but become Catholic.
And with that astounding decision, a whirlwind of catechesis, mixed family response, renouncement of old lifestyle choices and Scott Hahn reading material ensued. And within a matter of months, Jennifer was welcomed home, fully initiated into the Catholic Church. And why? Because of a genuine, faith-filled friendship that wasn’t afraid to go where most friendships don’t and to talk about the things that most people won’t. But most of all, it was the witness of a life deeply rooted in the love of Christ:
“The biggest influence to guide me in my faith wasn’t something that anyone ever said out loud to me. It was Christ’s Light that shown through the missionaries and all those involved with FOCUS on campus. Their lives are an example of how God’s love can make someone full of passion and life. Thanks be to God, I have found that something I was looking for, that something that has changed my life.”
And now? Well, now, I am so honored and joyful (and let’s face it, a little teary-eyed) to say that Jess is my co-worker, about to enter campus as a new FOCUS missionary and ready to reach more souls.
God moves in some pretty remarkable ways when we proclaim what is good, true, and beautiful. Hearts will move when we introduce Jesus to the world with our own hearts burning with love within us. He is so real and so good. Let’s tell everyone.
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Why Missionaries Love Their Job
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Since the pontificates of Pope Paul VI and John Paul II, the Roman Catholic Church has been commissioned to engage and embrace the world with God's message of love once more with ‘new methods, new ardor and new expression.’ It has come to be phrased, 'the new evangelization.'
For FOCUS, this means meeting college students across the nation where they are and challenging them to examine the meaning and purpose of their lives. Through personal relationships and friendship, we offer college students the true peace and fulfillment they seek in the good news of Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Catholic faith, inviting them to answer His calling in their lives.
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