Luke & Josie Cohen

Hello! We are Luke and Josie, and we serve at the University of Dallas!

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Where we serve

God has called me and my wife to serve college students at Texas State University. I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for us and the students He has called us to lay down our lives for in this journey to the cross. You'll typically find us hanging out in the outdoors, eating lunch on campus, or high-fiving people around campus. Or out for coffee. We drink lots of coffee with students! We both have a pretty cool story about how Jesus has changed our lives -- I think you should hear it sometime! Come find me, and I'd love to share it with you.

Our Story

Luke's Story 

Hi again! It's Luke here, and I want to share my story with you! Yes, you! This segment will pertain to my transition from being a luke-warm Catholic (ha ha, get it?) to a Daily Mass going, Holy Hour-a-day Catholic. I promise I'll keep it short and sweet... Here we go! 

To give a short preface, I was born in a very strong Catholic family. We attended Mass every Sunday and prayed by my younger sister's bedside every night. This created a strong foundation in my faith. Years passed and my parents gave my first car and the option to go to Mass. Being the 16-year-old boy I was, I thought it was much more fun to hang out with my friends on the weekend than it was to go to Mass. One thing lead to another, and I started to live a life filled with sin. 

Throughout the rest of high school and into my sophomore year of college, that sin grew to a breaking point. So I went back to my roots-- I started attending Mass again. I would leave right after communion so I didn't have to talk to anyone. But one day, someone got to me before I could leave. He invited me to come to his Bible Study. I went just to make some friends. We sat in his garage, ate burnt pizza, and talked about Jesus. I wasn’t sold though, so I went back. I realized there was something different about each one of the men in that Bible study. They were all filled with joy, a joy that I had never seen before. So I went back again and started asking more questions. My questions and their answers soon led me to the chapel where I would be with Jesus. 

That was when everything started to change. I started to pray again. I was excited to go to mass, and I went to confession for the first time in a year! I started to see the sin that ran my life for what it was and not as a comfortable lifestyle. This was in no way easy… Early in my re-version, I struggled with understanding the Lord’s mercy. I thought that I was not worthy of his Love. This lie was destroyed by the community at the Catholic Student Center. I was so loved by each student there. It was through those students that I came to see the Lord’s, merciful heart. 

Josie's Story

I went into college so far from Jesus. I was an overachiever convinced I could earn love. I had a perfect GPA entering college and maintained it. I played every sport and was involved in so many extracurriculars in high school. College was no different. I quickly become obsessed with building my resume and networking, creating for the perfect application for law school. Family and professors thought I was brilliant, dependable. And I was those things…on the outside. Behind closed doors and on the weekends though, I was living a life of sin, a life that kept me in a constant state of unrest, always needing to prove more. I was lonely, as most of my relationships were based on use, what we could get out of one another academically or professionally.

Towards the middle of my first semester of college, I was invited to a FOCUS Bible Study by a girl in my history class. I had no intention of going, but God moves mountains. I showed up to the Catholic Student Center one evening feeling completely out of place. I was immediately sought out by a FOCUS missionary who welcomed me and continued to invite me to coffee, meals, and into her home after that night. Through my friendship with that FOCUS missionary, I met a community of young Catholics who showed me real joy and authentic friendship. It was witnessing the level of fulfillment in their lives that made me realize how empty I was. I saw that the FOCUS missionaries and the students that hung out with them were praying every day, going to daily mass, and living a life of virtue. I began going to the chapel often. I spent many prayerful hours realizing how far I’d strayed from the Father those first few months of college and how desperately He wanted me to come home. I spent uninterrupted time with Jesus for the first time in my life, and I fell in love with Him and the tender mercy he had for me. Then, over winter break, I attended a FOCUS conference. There, I listened to speakers who shared Truths I had never heard. I left knowing that I had to make some serious changes if I ever wanted to be fully free to follow Jesus. I said yes to discipleship with a FOCUS missionary. I broke up with the high school boyfriend. I began praying a holy hour each day. And I became a daily mass go-er, things I would have never imagined doing when I first got to college that August.

Towards the middle of my first semester of college, I was invited to a FOCUS Bible Study by a girl in my history class. I had no intention of going, but God moves mountains. I showed up to the Catholic Student Center one evening feeling completely out of place. I was immediately sought out by a FOCUS missionary who welcomed me and continued to invite me to coffee, meals, and into her home after that night. Through my friendship with that FOCUS missionary, I met a community of young Catholics who showed me real joy and authentic friendship. It was witnessing the level of fulfillment in their lives that made me realize how empty I was. I saw that the FOCUS missionaries and the students that hung out with them were praying every day, going to daily mass, and living a life of virtue. I began going to the chapel often. I spent many prayerful hours realizing how far I’d strayed from the Father those first few months of college and how desperately He wanted me to come home. I spent uninterrupted time with Jesus for the first time in my life, and I fell in love with Him and the tender mercy he had for me. Then, over winter break, I attended a FOCUS conference. There, I listened to speakers who shared Truths I had never heard. I left knowing that I had to make some serious changes if I ever wanted to be fully free to follow Jesus. I said yes to discipleship with a FOCUS missionary. I broke up with the high school boyfriend. I began praying a holy hour each day. And I became a daily mass go-er, things I would have never imagined doing when I first got to college that August.

My conversion was one I couldn’t keep to myself. I began leading a Bible Study. Over the next two years, I got an internship at the Catholic Student Center and started discipling three women from my Bible Study who are now some of my best friends. Sharing my faith became the top priority, even in my classes and extracurriculars.

When my senior year came around and Jesus asked me to give up grad school to continue sharing His love with college students full-time, that un-free part of my heart rose back to the surface. I wasn’t open to applying to be a FOCUS missionary. I had to deny once again the part of myself that wanted to choose status, achievement, and proving my worth over the love the Lord was offering my regardless of those things. As I prayed with the parable of the rich young man, Jesus showed me that achievement was the wealth I clung to, the wealth that kept me from freely following Jesus as a missionary disciple and trusting His will for me. This realization led me to more prayer. As I asked for the graces to trust in Jesus’ plan for me, I began to desire mission work more than I ever had. My desire for every college student to really know Jesus became even stronger. Almost overnight, saying “yes” to FOCUS in November of my senior year became the easiest decision I ever made until Luke proposed this May. Saying "yes" to marrying my best friend became the easiest decision I've ever made, and now we get to serve as FOCUS missionaries together. And we can't wait!

Your Impact

When we answered the call to join FOCUS, we made the decision to rely on the spiritual and financial support of mission partners to help me through this mission. We've been blessed with the most amazing people who have journeyed with me as we serve on campus. If you are interested in partnering with me, please let me know of the best way to reach you and we will schedule an appointment. We'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 …