Hey! My name's Carina. I'm a FOCUS missionary.
Hey! My name's Carina. I'm a FOCUS missionary.
God has called me to serve college students for a second year at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana! Natchitoches is home to the Steel Magnolia House and the best meat pies this side of the Mississippi. It is a small town with big personality!
As a missionary, my greatest desire is to lead all students to Christ. My life has been transformed by Jesus and I want nothing more than to bring this joy to others and introduce them to the life-changing message of the Gospel. In His ministry on earth, Jesus humbled Himself to meet us on our level, taking on our humanity, and spent most of His time investing deeply in a few. I look to Jesus’ own example to find the best method of reaching the world. I've been constantly amazed by the different souls I've encountered on campus.
My prayer for the last couple of years has been this- "Here I am, Lord. Send me." The Lord has grown my heart and graced me with a great desire to serve Him and to love His children. He stretched that desire so far as to be a FOCUS Missionary- so much so that I found myself crying out, pleading with Him to let me serve Him in this way.
But it hasn't always been this way.
I had a firm foundation of faith growing up in Melbourne, FL. I knew all about Jesus, I knew all about the Catholic faith. What I was lacking, however, was a personal relationship with God. I was living a good and fulfilling life, but I had no idea that it could get even better. I didn't know the life I was missing!
When I was in college at the University of Florida, I was invested in by a FOCUS Missionary. She took her time to love me and to get to know me. She shared her life with me. She showed me through her example how wonderful life with Christ could be. She built on the foundation I had, she taught me how to pray, she brought me to the sacraments frequently, she challenged me to grow into the person the Lord had created me to be. As a student, I started leading a bible study and I asked a couple of girls into discipleship. It didn't take long for me to discover the joy and fulfillment I found in serving these girls.
I was resistant to the idea of being a missionary for several years. I had a plan- and it didn't include being a missionary. But the Lord saw the crack in my heart that was open to serving Him, and ever so gently, He opened it up more and more. I spent a summer serving as a Life Teen Summer Missionary at a summer camp in Georgia, leading teens to Christ and investing in them by loving them. It was here that I found my heart for relational ministry and started to consider what it would look like to spend a portion of my life completely devoted to serving the Lord and serving others. I was shocked to find how much I desired that life.
I spent the next couple of years praying about how I could live into that pull on my heart. I really only had to look down at where my feet were planted- in bible study and discipleship- to discover where I was really being called. What had I had once been so opposed to suddenly seemed obvious to me- I was supposed to be a FOCUS Missionary.
My love for this apostolate grew and grew as I went through the application process, got hired, and went to New Staff Training. It has become apparent that my heart was created to do this. It was created to love God's children. It was created to ache for the lost so as to go find them.
The college campus is a battle ground of hopelessness, mental health struggles, party culture, loneliness, and the pain of hearts searching for something to fill them. But it doesn't have to be. Just as a missionary showed me the joy that a life with Christ can bring- I want to show others the same. I want to love them, in their pain and brokenness, back into the arms of a Loving Father who has been waiting to embrace them. Back into the arms of the only one who can truly satisfy them.
I can't do this mission alone. Will you join me?
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 most amazing 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 honored to share this mission with you.
We encounter God in an intimate relationship through daily prayer, the sacraments and the Scriptures.
By building genuine friendships, we meet students on a deeper level.
We teach students how to share the gospel, who in turn teach other students how to pass it on …