Stephen Ernst

Hey! My name's Stephen. I'm a FOCUS missionary.

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Where I serve

I'm currently in my fifth year with FOCUS, currently serving on the Events team in Denver, Colorado. After serving for four years at James Madison University in Virginia, FOCUS has invited me to serve the community on a national level. On campus at JMU, I loved that it was a big school with lots of school pride - exactly what I'm used to coming from the University of Maryland! I built so many amazing friendships that turned into mentorship, guiding these students closer to Christ. Now, on the events team, I will be working on a team of 14 missionaries to plan the annual conference, new staff training, retreats, and other events that FOCUS organizes. 

My Story

I entered my freshman year at the University of Maryland with a solid upbringing in the Catholic faith; I had gone to Catholic school from kindergarten through high school at Gonzaga College High School, and I was involved with my parish throughout that time. However, in all of that time, I had not made the faith my own yet. I did not get too involved with the Catholic Terps group on campus until a friend introduced me to a FOCUS missionary at Maryland. Through his example and the examples of other upperclassmen I met, I saw the faith and joy of Christ radiating from them and desired that for myself. That missionary walked with me on my faith journey, showing me how to live out the Catholic faith I had grown up with through the sacraments, bible study, and my moral choices. That spark grew within me through the annual FOCUS conferences I attended as well as getting involved with discipleship under a FOCUS student leader in which I lead a weekly bible study for underclassmen.

Your Impact

My contact with the FOCUS missionaries on campus sparked the faith that my parents had instilled within me during me time at home and in Catholic school. At that critical time when I was just starting to make my own decisions, that contact was a gift from God; my life today would have been completely different if I had not found the faith.

It is that opportunity for growth that I want to pass on to students of James Madison University. I hope to welcome the students I meet into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, wherever they are in their faith journey, and give them the guidance that was provided to me.

This mission is becoming increasingly important in today’s world, and I need your help! Today, 90% of students lose their faith in their four years on campus. Through your prayers and financial support, you can help me to more fully serve the students on each campus where FOCUS missionaries are present and combat this staggering statistic.
All donations are 100% tax deductible! If you have any questions or prayer requests or would like to talk more about my mission, feel free to reach out!
Thank you for your prayers and support!


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 …