Matthew Zahn

                "The higher we go, the better we shall hear the voice of Christ."               - -Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati

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Where I serve

This year, God is calling me back to the great state of Oregon to once again serve the students at the University of Oregon. SCO Ducks! I am eagerly anticipating all that the Lord has prepared for us this year, so stay tuned and please keep us in your prayers!  

My Story

Sometimes God allows the plans we’ve made for ourselves to c-o-m-p-l-e-t-e-l-y self-destruct in order to reveal His greater, more perfect ones for us. When I got to college, this is exactly what happened. By my standards at that time, life was good--really good. ASB President, Homecoming King, Valedictorian, and I was headed to the school of my dreams. By the end of my first quarter at UCLA, everything changed. My grades plummeted to an all-time low, I was no longer playing sports, and I found myself all the way at the bottom of the social ladder. What happened?! All these things I had built my identify around for so long were in shambles. I look back now and remember feeling like I had hit rock bottom.

And that’s where the love story begins. In the midst of my sadness and confusion, God gently moved my heart, calling me deeper. At that time, because my relationship with Him consisted only of Sunday Mass and sporadic prayer, I had a tough time discerning his subtle movements. As a result, I reached for every Catholic resource I could find. I started listening to Catholic podcasts, reading Catholic books, and even attending priestly discernment meetings. I was searching, almost desperately. It was at this time that a friend gave me a copy of “33 Days to Morning Glory”, a book about Marian Consecration. For 8 blessed months of growth and purification, Our Lady took me by the hand and walked with me. I consider my consecration to Jesus through Mary, aided by this book, to be the best decision I made in my college career, and the one that prepared my heart to receive the gift of FOCUS that would arrive on campus my sophomore year.

My experience with the missionaries on campus started with friendship. Marcus and Anthony would take me on hikes, throw the football around, and just hang out. All the while, they challenged me by asking me questions like, “What gets you out of bed in the morning?”, and “What are you living for?”. I was invited to look beyond those aspects of my life I had invested so much time and energy in, and seek the deeper meaning for which I was created: not comfort, but greatness; not the world, but Jesus.  I was invited into discipleship by Marcus--a one-on-one mentorship where I learned how to pray (with Scripture, for others, and with others), what it meant to live a life of virtue, how to uphold the dignity of the women in my life, and so much more.  Marcus and Anthony’s invitation to prayer and the Sacraments, and even to informal get-togethers, modeled for me God’s invitation into a deep and personal relationship with each of his beloved sons and daughters (you and me!). When I realized that the God of the universe desires intimacy with each one of us, I couldn’t see the world the same way anymore. Suddenly each day took on an entirely new significance. Suddenly, every encounter I had with a person on campus (and at UCLA, there were TONS!) was an encounter with a unique thought of the Creator of the Universe--someone with dignity, someone with inherent value that is also loved perfectly by God. Suddenly, my studies were about a lot more than grades--it was about service, and honoring God by doing everything with excellence and humility.

Your Impact

The implications of investing in a single individual cannot be overstated. Because that one will reach many, many more. And that influence extends far beyond the bounds of any academic institution. The world today, more than ever, needs the love and mercy which are at the heart of the Gospel Message. All that’s needed is to turn on the TV or check the news headlines on the internet to know that. I’m a missionary today because FOCUS Missionaries met me right where I was at and walked with me. I’m a missionary today because I was invested in, and I was made to know that I matter, and that I am loved. And for these reasons, my life will never be the same.

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.

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 …