Anne Thelen

Welcome to the New Evangelization!

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Where I serve

A FOCUS Missionary's greatest desire is inviting college students into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church, inspiring and equipping them for a lifetime of Christ-centered evangelization, discipleship, and friendship in which they lead others to do the same. 

As a Varsity Catholic FOCUS Missionary I have the distinct privilege of working specifically with student-athletes. In my second year of service, I am overjoyed to be returning to Ave Maria University with fellow returner Nick Smith and two new teammates, Daniella Straathof and Louis Cain! 

My Story

As a lifelong athlete, I grew up measuring my worth by what I could achieve on the field, the court, or in the pool. I saw my usefulness in the number of points I scored and races I won. For three years of high school I committed myself to an intense year-round swimming program with a 25hr/week practice schedule. It was then that I experienced some of biggest changes of my life. I watched as my faith, school work, relationships, and mental and physical health all suffered at the hands of what I thought was 'the only thing I could do right'.

I didn't know it at the time but I was struggling with a true identity crisis, rooted in the fact that without my athleticism or the walled-in personality I had built around it, I didn't know who I was. My identity had always been defined by what I did, even beyond swimming: pleasing others, performing well, saying the right thing, being happy. 

This is the truth that a significant majority of college students, including athletes, across the country suffer today: A person who is energetic and accomplished on the outside with a heart that feels used and a soul that is thirsting for better. Standing in the storm of the world, blinded by rain, battered by wind, terrified by lightning, shivering from the cold, stumbling around, desperate for a rock to cling to. 

It wasn't until my third year of college that I became involved with FOCUS. I began to learn my worth as one "made in the image and likeness" of the Creator of the universe and my Heavenly Father delights in me not because of how many podiums I stand on, but because I am His. I found stability and permanence in the immovable point that is Jesus Christ. I found that I have an identity predisposed to goodness. I found friendships that costed nothing less than my very self but didn't leave me feeling confused, unfulfilled, alone, or broken. In exchange, these friendships offered me absolutely everything. I found out how to live and not just be alive. I found true love, sacrifice, joy, purpose, MISSION.

Your Impact

When I answered the call to join FOCUS, I made the decision to rely on the spiritual and financial support of mission partners to help me through this mission. I've been blessed with the truest group of people who have journeyed with me as I serve on campus. If you are interested in partnering with me, please let me know of the best way to reach you and I will schedule an appointment. I'd be so happy to share my mission with you.

FOCUS is at over a hundred campuses country-wide! Please keep the missionaries and students on these campuses in your prayers! God bless you!

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 …