John Merkle

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Where I serve

In 2015 I left campus to join regional leadership.  Now, as a Director of Collegiate Outreach, I am a missionary to missionaries.  Missionary life is very difficult, and my job is to lead and serve missionaries and Team Directors on seven different campuses in five states, helping them to grow into the saints God is calling them to be, and to be fruitful in our mission to make disciples of all nations!  I also work closely with the Priests on the campuses we serve, and with Bishops across the country and world looking for new opportunities and places for FOCUS to serve.  In total, my regional team of six leads over 100 missionaries on 29 campuses in seven states and two countries!  It is a great gift to serve the Lord in this way, and humbling to be a leader in an apostolate with such an immense mission.

God has led me on a wild and amazing journey thus far.  I first served for three years at the University of Louisiana of Lafayette where I learned to Cajun dance, ate a lot of ridiculous food, and really learned what it meant to be God's missionary.  I saw a program grow from nothing to to something vibrant and fruitful which touches hundreds of students each years all over campus, from greek houses to athletic teams to the student government and everywhere in between.  I saw a dozen young men answer God's call to the priesthood and over 100 students give their lives to Jesus in discipleship.  After my days down in the bayou were finished, I served as Team Director for the founding team at Texas A&M University in College Station.  Our team of four had an incredible year which saw incredible graces and abundant fruit which is still yielding powerfully!  Just a year later the FOCUS missionaries have over 80 students in discipleship, totally committed to living the gospel and sharing Christ wherever they go in life.  With most of those students discipling others and leading Bible studies with their peers, it has truly been an explosion of grace and conversion.

My Story

I come from a wonderful and large family--the youngest of nine children from two great and faithful parents.  Even so, my faith was shaken and I lost my way in the years following the death of my father in high school.  My college years were a clash between a seemingly successful academic and social life and a great struggle with sin, emptiness and darkness.  By God's grace at an hour of great need during my senior year at UF, I met Keegan, a FOCUS missionary.  He befriended me and invited me into a senior men's Bible study.  It was there in that study where I encountered, for the first time in my life, men who were pursuing Christ and virtue.  These men became great friends, and with them I also encountered Jesus and His saving love and mercy that penetrated every area of my life.  I gave all that I am to Christ, and He soon called me to be His missionary.  When I learned about what FOCUS is I fell in love with the mission of spiritual multiplication, where one invests their life into two or more, loving them in authentic friendship and leading them to a relationship with Christ and the Church, and then teaches them to do the same for others.  In this way the Gospel spreads like wildfire and we can reach the entire world which is so desperately starved for the freedom, joy and peace which Christ promises.  The thought of doing for even one person what Keegan was able to do for me was enough for me to give my life to Christ in this mission for as long as He wants me to do it.

Your Impact

During my time with FOCUS, God has blessed me with amazing mission partners who believe in this mission and whose gifts directly impact the lives of thousands.  Your gift helps students come to know whose they are and who they are--that they are beloved sons and daughters of a good and loving Father, and that they destined for the greatness of the saints.  I have personally seen hundreds of students enter into this reality and through them we see the hope for our world.  Our students graduate and become teachers, lawmakers, doctors, artists, priests and religious, and mothers and fathers.  Your gift leaves a mark on this world that we will never fully realize until we are in the presence of the Blessed Trinity in Heaven!

I love sharing this mission with new people and would love to have you join me in it.  Please contact me any time and I would happily set up an appointment to meet with you and share how you can be an integral part of this mission.  

Call or text: 727-871-6262

Email: [email protected]


Know, Love and Serve God

We encounter God in an intimate relationship through daily prayer, the sacraments and the Scriptures.

Build Virtuous Friendships

By building genuine friendships, we meet students on a deeper level.

Teach Others to Share Christ

We teach students how to share the gospel, who in turn teach other students how to pass it on …