Both of our lives were changed forever in our times as college students at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. We fully believe in the transformation that can happen in college students' lives because it first happened to us!
"Man cannot fully find himself, except through a sincere gift of himself." St. John Paul the Great
John Michael's story- If the story is mine, then it is only because God is the author of it. He started writing my story in Dallas, TX where I was born to a wonderful Catholic family. They raised me with strong values and morals, yet I like so many others was indoctrinated with the lies that the world taught me from a very early age would make me happy. I have always been a people pleaser, and some of my earliest memories involve feelings of insecurity, changing who I was to fit in with people, and constantly searching for other's affirmation of me.
This deep wound affected me in many ways throughout high school and college, and I tried to find every possible way to convince myself that I was lovable by others. Whether it was athletics, alcohol, women, my fraternity in college, leadership positions, or academics, no matter how hard I dove into each of these I was still left feeling entirely unfilled. This changed following my freshman year of college at Texas A&M University. I had a very rough freshman year, making a lot of mistakes and worked my way into getting kicked out of A&M after my freshman year of college. I moved back home to live with my parents and figure out what to do with my life. It was a low- I felt like a complete and utter failure and embarrassment. This is when I experienced God in a powerful way work in my life, I began reading the Bible and I came across 2 Corinthians 12:9, where St. Paul writes "For God said to me, 'My Grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly my weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest in me."
This simple truth: that it is precisely my imperfection that God loves and works in, changed my future. I began to fall deeply in love with this God who loved my brokenness and experienced an unbelievable personal transformation. I got accepted back into A&M, returned to school, and was on a mission to share how my life was different with those around me. That was when I reconnected with Emily. I noticed that she was living for the same reality- to know Jesus Christ and make him known, and we began to date.
After three years of courtship, we discerned marriage and got married January 19th, 2019- half way through my first year as a missionary at KU. We were surprised shortly after getting married when we discovered we were expecting a baby! Those 9 months in which we adjusted to married life while being missionaries living 9 hours from home back in TX and preparing to welcome a new baby were incredibly hard, but also very beautiful. Then, on October 20th, 2019 we welcomed our perfect little baby girl into the world- Eden Clare Lucido. Life with Christ is a wonderful adventure, especially with Emily and Eden now at my side!
Emily's story- I was raised in Tyler, Texas by a wonderful nondenominational family where I grew up knowing the story of Jesus. I am forever grateful for my upbringing that taught me so much in the ways of the love of God, sacred scripture, and having a personal relationship with the person of Jesus. Although I was surrounded by the Gospel of Christ, I could not accept that I did not have to earn Jesus' love and so up until college I tried to earn my worth and love by doing all the "right things." I completely put my identity in what others thought of me. I tried to earn love through being a "good, Christian girl", making good grades, being well-liked, and my appearance. This affected all parts of my life and left me feeling unsatisfied, not enough, and with the gnawing feeling that I constantly needed to be making myself lovable.
When I began college at Texas A&M, I entered into authentic friendships with women who encouraged me to begin daily prayer, which radically changed my life. Slowly, Jesus began to reveal himself to me in prayer and showed me all the ways I was putting my identity in what others' thought of me and how I continued to try and prove myself to him. In prayer, Jesus showed me that there was nothing I could do to earn his love. During this time, I began to explore Catholicism and found myself being drawn to the Catholic Church. As I journeyed with Jesus in prayer, I began to ask him if what the Catholic Church claimed was true. After several years of prayer and discernment, I got confirmed in the Catholic Church in November of 2017!
My time in college radically transformed me and totally changed the trajectory of my life. This has deeply convicted me of necessity of missionaries on the college campus.