We’re making disciples at California State University, Long Beach! Affectionately known simply as “Beach,” it is a campus that exists for the common man. With one of the lowest tuition-and-fees rates in the nation, combined with a 40,000-student population and recognition as a Hispanic-serving and Asian American Pacific Islander Native Hawaiian-serving institution (whew, that’s a mouthful), it produces some of the hardest-working alumni around. Beach Athletics (in particular the Dirtbags, our the baseball team) are a huge part of campus life, as well as an appreciation for art – we’re home to one of the largest publicly-funded art schools in America (Steven Spielberg and the Carpenters are a few of many notable alumni). Our primary mission work is mobilizing the students in Beach Catholic (our Catholic club), working in tandem with St. Bartholomew’s Parish nearby, to drive deep the Gospel message across campus, one soul at a time.
Camden: As someone who grew into a well-rooted and fruitful faith in college, I know the deep impact just one person who wants to share the love of Christ can make. I spent my freshman year at Grand Canyon University as a lukewarm Christian with no real community. After I got involved at our Newman Center and joined the Church the next year, the Holy Spirit changed my entire approach to a life of faith and kindled within me a deep desire to help as many people as I can experience something similar. When I attended my first FOCUS conference during my senior year, I was introduced to the world of Catholic college ministry and invited by our Lord to pursue a college-campus mission, and so I jumped in headfirst and have been so blessed ever since I gave the Holy Spirit my “yes” to this mission. Going into Year 4, I am so stoked to continue bringing lots of love and excitement to Cal State Long Beach.
Marian: I talk a lot so my paragraph is going to be longer than Camden’s. I was 16 years old when I fell in love with the Lord. I was born, baptized, and raised in the Catholic faith. My family went to Mass every Sunday, we prayed before meals, and I mean we even prayed the rosary sometimes as a family! In my opinion, that was more than enough to check the boxes of my faith. That is how I lived; however, it was not long before my own life reflected the reality that there is no middle ground with the Lord. In being lukewarm, I eventually found myself very far from God in my actions, thoughts, and desires. But God was on a rescue mission for me. Through LifeTeen and specifically, during one high school retreat – my life completely changed. In particular, all it took was the Lord capturing my attention in the Eucharist for me to realize I was completely loved by Him. My life has never been the same since. In college, I got involved with our Newman Center (where I met Camden!) and quickly found myself in leadership roles. There was nothing that has brought me more joy than to pour into souls, live life with others, and to bring people to Jesus. Now, I get to do it everyday for living! Day by day, yes by yes! I spent the last year as a missionary at Cal State Long Beach, and I’m excited to return this year. To the next adventure!
When we answered the call to share our marriage on mission with FOCUS, God invited us to depend radically on Him for spiritual and financial support through mission partners. We’ve been blessed with the most amazing people who have journeyed with us as we serve on campus. Working with mission partners is one of the best parts of our job! If you are interested in partnering with us, please let one of us know the best way to reach you and we will schedule an appointment. It would be our great honor to share this mission with you! Together, by the grace of God, we can labor in His fields to bring Him glory (Matt. 8:35-38).