This is the picture God used to enter my heart. It was the end of my second year at TU and I was at rock bottom and digging. Though on the outside it seemed like I was okay, interiorly I'd abandoned the faith I'd inherited from my family and community. The loneliness I'd grown up in was now clawing at me in college, and I desperately tried to escape. However, through relationships, video games, and sloth, I was really just trying to escape from God. The only prayer I'd really, truly offered since high school was, "I'm sorry. I know what I'm supposed to do, and I can't do it."
As I prayed it again, passing the time on Facebook during one of the worst decisions of my life, God broke through my wall–literally. I saw this picture, and my heart all but stopped. In that moment I literally met God the Father in my dinky little apartment. He sat down behind me and invited me into His loving mercy that I'd abandoned or abused so many times. But He didn't offer to just "forgive and forget," no–He invited me to be holy as He is holy (Lev. 11:45). He wanted me to do the unthinkable: consume Him, so I could remain in Him and He in me (John 6:56-7).
Eight months later, I became Catholic. Two years later, I'm a missionary. Go figure.
But this change didn't happen overnight...
My first two years at the University of Tulsa, I made some amazing friends. They constantly called me to be who God made me. By inviting me to Bible studies, inviting me to church, and fearlessly asking me tough questions through them, God slowly eroded my defensiveness. I saw their joy, freedom, and peace in their faith and said to myself, "I want what they've got." When I finally admitted that, these friends led me to Jesus, Who is truly, really, physically present in the sacrament of Holy Communion.
I can confidently say that FOCUS is why I'm Catholic. The missionaries at Tulsa reached out to me without ever meeting me! Because they shared their lives with their students, calling and equipping them to evangelize, I am being saved.
As a Catholic, my single desire is for everyone to fall in love with Jesus like I have. Like St. Paul, I affectionately desire to share not only the Gospel, but my own self with everyone I meet, because they are very dear to me (1 Thess. 2:8). I love like this because somebody loved me—my friends in Tulsa, who learned how to share the yoke of Jesus Christ with FOCUS missionaries. My mission is to share joys, struggles, and everything in between with students, always pursuing with them the end goal of Heaven. Furthermore, I’ll be teaching those same students the skills they need to live a life of evangelization.