How many years did you serve as a FOCUS missionary?
What campuses did you serve at?
What did you go on to do after FOCUS?
Graduate School in Architecture at Notre Dame
What is your current title/position/occupation?
In what ways did your time with FOCUS help prepare you for what you're doing now?
First of all and most importantly people skills, relating to both peers and older generations. I am able to relate to a variety of people. I am able to see things from people's perspectives. I am able to relate to an older person like how I did to my mission partnerships. I have been able to build networks, and FOCUS was the best place to prepare me for that.
The faith formation you receive for FOCUS is once in a lifetime opportunity. Learning how to do a postulate with your peers in FOCUS is a life-long endeavor. Having time to devote in focus to peer evangelization helps you in the workplace to relate to others. No matter what, winning souls is one of the most beautiful opportunities our LORD provides us with.
The budget training you receive at FOCUS has prepared me for what I am doing now. As a college student most young people don’t have much experience building a disciplined budget. As a focus missionary you have to raise your salary and you are responsible for your own livelihood and you are forced to prioritize. Once I was married, my family became my team. FOCUS forces you to focus on your long term budget.
Creativity. FOCUS provides opportunities for leadership and problem solving at a very young age. Organizing large-scale events and delegation is a big part of your time at FOCUS. A young missionary is already in the position of leaderships as a young adult and you are forced to solve a lot of problems.
Preparation for vocation. My time with focus helped me to spend an extra generous time with our lord in prayer to discern my vocation. This has helped me to be a father and a husband. Without that time at focus I wouldn’t have had the confidence and clarity of vision for what God wanted me to do and what it would look like. The desire to build a family in a marital relationship was clearer to me after my time at FOCUS. I lived near and spent time with other FOCUS families and I was able to learn from them and see how a vocation and father could be lived out. My time at focus allowed me to discern my vocation and embark upon it.
In your experience with FOCUS, what was most rewarding for you as a missionary?
To see the Holy Spirit working in the lives of the students. That is both watching and witnessing a young peer take his prayers life seriously. To see the enthusiasm which a student enters seminary. I was able to learn from the students, and learn how to live my faith life and how to take risks. A student of mine, John Robinson, and I went skiing with a few other guys from CU Boulder at Copper Mountain. It was my first time skiing in the Rockies. He was encouraging me to go on the harder ski runs and took me up one of the lifts to a blue slope. Not only did I try to keep up with him, but I went straight down the mountain, I couldn’t even pivot to slow myself down. I had the worst wipe out of my life. I took a risk. It was a total embarrassing wipe out. My student saw me (the apparent expert leader) wipe out, and it was humbling. It was a metaphor of how I saw the students. You aren’t just praying by yourself. I was learning from him on the ski slope and I was learning from him and the other guys in the bible study every week. I was learning how to live a life in Christ from them. Just as they were from me.
What would you say to a college senior considering joining FOCUS staff?
FOCUS is a great way to serve the church, to grow in your faith formation and to meet a large group of brothers and sisters in Christ. This is once in a lifetime opportunity for faith formation.
Why do you personally believe the FOCUS mission is so important and critical today?
FOCUS is critical today because I know from my own experience. That is how I built a strong relationship with Christ. I was a college student at the University of Illinois and a missionary invited me to a bible study and my life has never been the same. My attendance at the bible study and the catechism I had has changed my life because of it. I see its effectiveness and how it has changed my life. It worked for me and I am living proof that it will work for others.