No sentence better summarizes both my life as well as my calling to be a missionary than Romans 12:2 (referenced above), therefore there is no better way to tell my story than incorporating this inspiring verse. I am very blessed to have grown up as a cradle-Catholic, as deep down my life has always been rooted in my Faith, attending mass, receiving the Sacraments, and living virtuously. While I initially grew up very sheltered and comfortable, soon my Faith began to be tested late into my high school years and early college years -- both by various people around me who held beliefs contrary to my upbringing and by empty promises of fulfillment offered by the world through success, money, and fame. Many times I was given a choice to either place God first or rather school, work, athletics, friends, or various other things … and I began to choose the latter, seeking personal perfection, fulfillment, acceptance, and happiness that ultimately was never found. Lacking a deeply personal prayer life and an intimate love of God, I immersed myself in my work and school aspiring to be a successful engineer, often leaving God, family, and developing true friendships as no more than secondary commitments. In conforming to how I thought I could best take what the world offered me, I fell into despair as a shallow, lukewarm Catholic, and I fell into isolation, as many of my friendships lacked authenticity and virtue on my part.
By the grace of God, I was inspired at the start of my sophomore year of college to make a quick search for "Mines Catholic" on the internet, believing that there had to be other Catholics on my campus desiring a more profound college experience. The first page brought me to FOCUS's Colorado School of Mines Missionaries page -- my first ever exposure to FOCUS. I got connected with a missionary named Jacob, who met me where I was and genuinely wanted to invest in a friendship with me. I soon began to meet tons of other Catholics like me on campus, began to get more involved with social events, and even got invited to attend a Catholic conference called SEEK2019. It was here that my desire to pursue God more intentionally was reignited. Throughout these five days, I finally allowed all my priorities to briefly be placed secondary to God, which resulted in more peace and clarity than I had ever felt. I also began to see the necessity of virtuous friendships by example of all the amazing Catholics I began to meet and share my life with. In the giving of just a small portion of myself, God had begun to transform my mind, heart, intentions, and desires. Slowly but surely through prayer and surrender, God was uncovering my attachments and weaknesses, yet still leaving me with the choice and freedom to prioritize.
As my convictions grew for both desiring to be a strong Catholic as well as a successful engineer, it was challenging to properly balance my priorities, often feeling like I had to choose God or my career and not both. But, looking to the example of FOCUS missionaries I had met who graduated with engineering degrees, placed God first by serving as missionaries for a few years, and still went on to have successful careers and fulfilling vocations afterwards, I started to see the true power of surrender. In giving my "yes" to God, no matter what I may have sacrificed initially, I found that God gave it all back and more, often in ways I didn't expect. Case and point -- despite my respect for FOCUS and its many missionaries, I had no intention of ever becoming a missionary myself, that is until Luke came along and made a profound ask as to whether I had ever considered applying. After a lot of conversations with God in prayer and many friends, I decided to give my yes to God by applying to be a missionary at the beginning of 2021, leading to my acceptance a short couple months later. In responding to God's call to be a missionary, I have already found it to be the most challenging, most rewarding, and most essential path I have ever taken. In the giving of my "yes" to God in small ways everyday, I have discovered that all of the goodness, happiness, and fulfillment I've been looking for is found only by following God's pleasing and perfect will for me.
As a missionary, my greatest desire is to lead all students to Christ. My life has been transformed by Jesus and I want nothing more than to bring this joy to others and introduce them to the life-changing message of the Gospel. In His ministry on earth, Jesus humbled Himself to meet us on our level, taking on our humanity, and spent most of His time investing deeply in a few. I look to Jesus’ own example to find the best method of reaching the world. I've been constantly amazed by the different souls I've encountered on campus.