Where I serve
God has called me to serve college students at Edinboro University, a medium-sized school in northwest Pennsylvania. At Edinboro, I spend much of my time hanging out on campus with students, leading a Bible study, fostering community through hosting events, and mentoring students in their faith journeys. I am blessed to serve with three other missionaries, Hannah, Dan, and Alyssa, as well as our chaplain, Fr. Dan.
Meet Team Edinboro! Left to right: Dan, Hannah, Alyssa, me, Fr. Dan
I was raised by a wonderful Catholic family, and I grew up going to Mass every Sunday and praying before meals and before going to sleep. I went to Catholic schools through grade school and high school and learned a lot about God, the Bible, and the Catholic faith, but I never quite grasped what it means to have a relationship with God.
As a freshman at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, I was fortunate to meet a FOCUS missionary named Josh my first week on campus. He invited me to join his Bible study and come to community events. Additionally, he invited me to be a part of his life, as a friend. I didn't realize it at the time, but he was modeling for me how to live a virtuous lifestyle as a young adult. I learned a lot from Josh and from the other students around me as I was growing in my faith life.
My sophomore year, I began to really feel the effects of Crohn's disease. I was constantly exhausted, constantly nauseous, and was rapidly losing weight and feeling very self-conscious about my appearance. It was physically very difficult for me to be involved in the Catholic community at UNO, and while I continued attending my FOCUS Bible study, I wasn't progressing much spiritually. This persisted throughout the rest of my undergraduate career. While I was able to maintain a few friendships, this was a very isolated time in my life.
The summer after my senior year and before my year of graduate school, I worked an internship in Chicago. This was my first time away from home and having to choose going to Mass for myself. Something about this experience (the Holy Spirit, wink wink) placed a desire on my heart to embrace my Catholic faith; to go beyond the lukewarm. I decided to live in the brand new St. John Paul II Newman Center at UNO for my last year of school, and it changed my life. I was surrounded by awesome young Catholics who cared about growing deeper in relationship with God. I had an accessibility to the Mass and confession that I never had before. I got to know the FOCUS missionaries and priests at the Newman Center far better than I had in previous years. One of the missionaries, Brian, invited me to go to SEEK in San Antonio that year, and it reaffirmed my desire to continue to cling to the Lord and grow in my faith.
After graduating, I worked for two years as an electrical engineer in Omaha. During this time, I continued to grow spiritually, committing to daily mass several times a week, praying every day, and taking on more leadership within the Newman Center community. I became more involved with FOCUS than I was as a student, entering into discipleship under Brian and mentoring two students, Luis and Dan. I also led an ALPHA small group for the community. While I had a stable, well-paying job, all my experiences were leading me to believe God wanted me to serve Him in an even more intentional way. It's kind of a long story (I know this has already been long), but everything pointed to me becoming a FOCUS missionary, so I took a leap of faith, and now I'm in the thick of it. It is such a joy to be able to share with students the gifts I received in Omaha.
My discipleship chain in Omaha. Left to right: Brian, me, Luis, Andrew
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.