Nearly 200 Spend Spring Break on International Missions With FOCUS
Some college students spend spring break in bed all day, catching up on sleep. Others spend the week partying on a beach somewhere. Then there’s the ones who do something else entirely, like going on an international mission trip with FOCUS.
This March, the FOCUS Missions Department led ten mission trips in eight countries, including two service trips within the United States. A total of 173 people participated in these weeklong trips, including 123 students from college campuses across the country.
Katy McCarthey, FOCUS Team Director at the US Naval Academy, led the mission to El Salvador. “Leading up to the trip I really wasn’t looking forward to going,” Katy admitted. “I knew I would be out of my comfort zone. I knew that it was going to be hard, and it was.” But after overcoming the culture shock and witnessing people exchange peace with one another in Mass, Katy thought it was the “most beautiful and peaceful encounter with Christ that I’ve had in a long time, it was through the witness of the people down there that I began to see Christ.”
One special moment that occurred on the trip was finding out who the new pope was. “There was a house on the compound that had a TV. We crammed in their one room house with the family watching Pope Francis come out,” Katy recalled. “It would have been awesome to be in Rome, but it was really special to be in Latin America, just seeing how other cultures hear about the news.”
After breaking out in hives and even breaking her toe on the trip, Katy still thought the trip was remarkable. “FOCUS knows how to do mission trips,” she said. The trips are centered on prayer and serving the people you meet. When asked what Katy would say to a student who was thinking about doing a mission she remarked, “You won’t regret it, just do it.”
Katy said the mission trip to El Salvador opened her heart and reawakened the fire to serve as a missionary every day and share Christ with others.
In addition to international missions, FOCUS offers service trips in the United States. Jeff Stephens, a missionary for the Digital Campus at FOCUS, led a service trip to the Bronx in New York this spring break. They spent most of their time in a nursing home with the Little Sisters of the Poor, painting, mopping, cleaning and spending quality time with the elderly. The evenings were set aside as a time of prayer for the students who were attending the mission trip.
“I have gotten to do a lot of great things with FOCUS” said Stephens. After going to Rome, Seek National Conference, and interview weekends, the mission trip ranked at the top of his list. “You truly get a taste of heaven because you grow so close to the people,” he explained. “A lot of people are fearful about it. If you just do it you will be incredibly surprised.”