Christopher Tibbetts

Hey! My name is Chris and I am pleased to announce that I recently became a first-year FOCUS missionary.

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Where I serve

God is so good and has called me to be His missionary on the campus of Winona State University in beautiful Winona, MN. It is a public school of roughly eight thousand students and I am thrilled to have been given this opportunity to show even a fraction of these students the love of the God who created them and calls them to Himself!

My Story

Growing up faith was always an essential part of life. Daily mass, monthly confession as a family, having priests over for supper, these are just a few examples of things in my childhood that from a very young age I could come to expect as being part of my life while living under my parents' roof. I knew faith was important then, but for a long time it was never anything other than "my parents' faith." Thus, before long I had to admit to myself that I was only pretending to be into my faith because it was the cool thing to do and it was what my parents wanted me to do (and I wanted so badly to make them as proud of me as possible). Anyway, the crucial moment in my life of faith was when I met the PERSON of Jesus Christ! It came when I was a freshman in High school. While at the well-known Discipleship Camp that occurred every summer and having just been prayed over by some of the camp leaders I resumed my place for Eucharistic Adoration and while gazing at the monstrance I began to see the semblance of a face! It was the face of Christ and in that moment I was flooded with peace and joy like I had never had before! For a scared, insecure, sinful teenager this experience was undeniably new and could not have come from me! Before this experience I had already made vows not to be vulnerable with others for fear of being hurt. Up to this point, I saw all the love I received as being a result of my good performance. However, in this experience I encountered a love that was free, unconditional, and altogether unrelated to what I did, rather it was simply offered to me for who I was, and who I was was GOOD. From that moment I was a changed person. I knew that God loved me as His son, that He had a plan for my life and that He wanted me to seek Him in earnest and pursue the vocation He has called me to from the very beginning! Since this experience, though my journey with Christ has included many obstacles, setbacks and other difficulties, He has without a doubt continued to draw me to His heart in a beautiful and gradual way (the gradual part being due to my resistance in a variety of ways).

 

Like many before me, I felt a call at a very young age simply to give my life to something big, to something meaningful, and to make a significant difference in the lives of others. Growing up, those who emulated this for me most clearly were the many priests I was privileged to watch celebrate the sacraments, minister to those in need, mingle with their flocks, and exude a life full of peace and joy. I wanted to be like them, men who were undeniably altruistic and were making a real impact for the better in the lives of others. Thanks to their example, the encouragement of others, and a few experiences in prayer, I felt strongly that I needed to at least go and check out the seminary and see if it was going to be the right fit for me. So after graduating high school, I entered the college seminary right after high school and remained there for four years, always asking the Lord if priesthood was where He wanted me to be long-term.

 

As I began to grow in confidence that priesthood was not where the Lord was ultimately calling me to, but also being left with the sense that ministry was still very much written on my heart, I began to ask the Lord repeatedly in prayer where He was leading me next. While attending an intro psychology class at the University of St. Thomas, my professor was sharing with us some statistics regarding depression in our world, particularly on college campuses. He even was able to offer us one stat that was taken on our own campus. In any case, when he disclosed that as many as 30% of the surveyed students at UST admitted to having levels of depression that were so severe as to render them feeling as if they could not function, something happened inside of me. My heart simultaneously broke and went out to the all these students. These were the people that I walked by every single day on my way to class and I would never have known that they were suffering to such a degree because often I simply do not take the time and effort to ask them. In any case, at that moment, something else arose in my mind that came seemingly complementarily to my desire to help these students, it was the thought “FOCUS.” Now, I had been familiar with FOCUS for quite some time due to my parents hosting them at times at our home on various occasions. However, never had I ever seriously considered doing it as a ministry. Still, that was the clear connotation that this word held in it at the time, the sense that I ought to at least be open to pursuing this as a ministry. Since I was still in class and at the time not even yet sure I was going to be exiting seminary after graduation, I set the thought aside until a later and pertinent time should arise. Half way through that following semester while receiving grace upon grace from the Lord in terms of vocational discernment, I discovered that the thought of FOCUS was very much still there in my mind and in my heart. Thus, feeling called to at least apply and see if it could even lead to anything in terms of a life option for me, and pursued what lead I had and was eventually hired following the last stages of the interviewing process.


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 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.

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 …