The Lord has called me to serve as a missionary and evangelize the University of Massachusetts Amherst! UMass has over 30,000 students, 21 Division I athletic teams, over 40 fraternities and sororities, and the tallest research library on any campus in the country (not that I would ever go there)!
As a fourth-year FOCUS missionary at UMass, it is my full time job and privilege to share the Gospel and accompany college students along their spiritual journeys. I desire for them to know the truth that Jesus is a real and living person, that everything He teaches is true, and that He loves and thirsts for a personal relationship with each of us.
I have been Catholic my whole life and attended only Catholic schools until going away to college. Suddenly, without my family and Catholic friends around, I lost the community, accountability and example that I had previously taken for granted. Like too many others, I was susceptible to the college temptations to live a life far from Christianity, and I fell very far away from the faith… By God’s grace, the one thing that never changed was going to Mass on Sundays. Even lost and confused in my darkest times, I still went to Church every weekend. It was the bare minimum of my life that I gave to God, but eventually I became far more enslaved by the world than in love with the God who created it. I believed in God, but He felt nowhere near personal. So, as a result, I greatly struggled to find purpose and joy, and I searched for life in sin.
After almost three years of going to the Catholic Campus Ministry building and leaving without talking to a single person, a FOCUS missionary finally caught me. It was a conversation I couldn’t escape but, to my surprise, I really enjoyed it. He just wanted to be my friend, and at the time real friends were difficult to find. He saw me as a beloved son of the Father, as a brother in Christ, and as a soul worth fighting for. He gained my trust and proved his loyalty with persistence and patience in pursuing authentic friendship with me. So, not after long, I joined his Bible study. Then, I prayed with him a couple times a week. Next, it was attending a daily Mass here and there. A daily prayer life, a long overdue confession, attending the Campus Ministry retreat, hanging out with the other Catholic men in the community, Eucharistic Adoration on Tuesday nights, and accepting a high calling of my life into FOCUS’s Discipleship program all followed in this life-changing year. At this point, I became a changed man. The past was over, I found inspiring community, living in the light of Christ was fruitful, and for the first time in college I felt truly fulfilled. This was lasting joy, not fleeting pleasure.
Senior year, when I was recommended to apply for FOCUS, I knew mission was life-giving work. I greatly desired to be a witness of faith and to have the same impact on college students that a missionary had on me. Ever since joining staff, Jesus has just continued to draw me deeper and deeper into His unending love. Everything I have given to Him has been returned to me in ways I could never imagine. Now every day is an adventure because FOCUS gives me an amazing opportunity to live a life worthy of imitation, loving and serving He who makes all things new.
When I answered the call to join FOCUS, I made the decision to rely on the spiritual and financial support of Mission Partners to make my work in this vital ministry possible. I have been incredibly blessed with the charitable hearts of God’s faithful people, giving of themselves in generosity to this mission. If you are interested in joining me, please email me at [email protected] and we can schedule an appointment to discuss this exciting partnership. I would be honored to share in Christ’s mission with you!
Some give by going to the missions. Others go by giving to the missions. Without both, there are no missions. ~ Saint Teresa of Calcutta
My Team at UMass Amherst (2023-2024)
Left to Right: Nathan, Esther, Yours truly, and Jane