John Merkle

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Where I serve

I currently serve in a dual role as Senior Regional Director for International and the East Area. Altogether, I am responsible for 45 missionaries on 11 campuses in Philadelphia, Ireland, the UK, Austria, and Germany. 

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.  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 then served as Team Director for the founding team at Texas A&M University in College Station, where I met and served with my now amazing wife, Meredith.  Our team of four had an incredible year which saw incredible graces and abundant fruit.  I became a Regional Director in 2015, working to form, train, lead, and support missionaries in their mission on campus. I also support the Dioceses we serve and work to expand our mission into new venues. In 2017 Meredith and I were asked to help launch FOCUS Europe. We moved to Dublin, Ireland with our four month old daughter, Lucy, and later to Vienna Austria. Over the past five years, we helped launch FOCUS on eight campuses in five countries, and have been blessed to see incredible graces of conversion, fruit beyond our hopes, and 11 vocations to priesthood or religious life. We have moved back to the States, and I now continue to lead the European effort and have begun to support the teams in Philadelphia. 

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 who 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 friends, and with them I also encountered Jesus and His saving love and mercy that simply changed 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 we seek to live, where one invests their life into a few, 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 …