God has called me to serve college students. I am so blessed to have grown closer to Christ as I’ve been gifted so many graces, one being joy. This Christ-given joy I have received is not something I want to keep to myself; I want everyone to experience this everlasting joy. Thus, I am thrilled to be serving at Drexel University in Philadelphia where I will have the ability to do just what my heart desires: to spread the love and joy of Christ to others. Jesus has transformed my life for the better and I m eager to transform others lives as well. If you ever want to hear more of my story, I would love to share more with you 🙂
My story actually begins in the faith as I was raised Catholic, but when I was in high school I struggled a lot with my personal faith life. My family is extremely devoted to the faith and I did not feel like I was comparable to them, which left me found wanting. The times I would go to church and pray were because my mom wanted to go to church and pray with my siblings and me. When I got to college I knew I would no longer have someone holding my hand to practice my faith, which excited me as I wanted to build my faith myself, so I wasn t loving God just because my family told me to but because it was my choice. I was pretty confident that I would be okay practicing my faith on my own because of all the hours my mom made me go to church, but it was much more challenging than I perceived it to be.
It was when my older sisters invited me on my first retreat with their university that had FOCUS missionaries, that I realized there was so much I was missing. One of the first things I noticed is that I never had Christ-centered friendships. Before that retreat, my faith was something that was only really experienced within my family, but having other students my age that could understand what I loved the most and what I was going through in this stage of my life was so encouraging and beautiful. We were striving for the same thing, God, and it connected us as we got to walk on this journey side-by-side, which helped me to grow in virtue, faith, and so many other ways. The next thing I realized I was missing was an authentic relationship with Christ. After that retreat, the FOCUS missionaries invited me to a Catholic conference where thousands of students went to learn more about their faith, share in fellowship, and encounter Christ. There I realized how much I did not know about my faith. I remember going to a talk that spoke about learning how to pray and have a relationship with Christ and being mind blown. I thought I knew this stuff, but there were so many more layers that I was not aware of, and this allowed me to have a greater desire to have a personal relationship with Christ. This wanting to be closer to Christ made sense after someone rhetorically asked how can you love what you don t know ? All these things settling in my heart and my head made me desire to invite my friends around me into having a relationship with Christ. Also, I wanted to walk with and teach them about a God who loves them and wanted for them to feel an everlasting joy.
But despite being taught so much about faith, being in college caused a lot of my identity and worth to be placed in the things I did and the things I would do, in particular, my future career. This caused me to be frequently anxious because I felt like I had to perform well in everything I did because it was equivalent to my worth and because I felt like I did not know myself if I did not know what to do next in life. This led to most of my prayers being dedicated to excelling in what I did and clarity for what to do next. Clarity took a long time to dawn upon me but in hindsight, I learned a lot about my faith, particularly the virtue of trust in God, and about myself as I learned where my focus should be. I was putting a majority of my identity into my talents and my future career. Through encounters with different people and learning how to have a personal relationship with God rooted in trust I learned something extremely valuable: I am only defined by something that is timeless, God, who made me in His image, and all else that is passing, doesn t define me, but merely describes me.
This is something I wrote in May of 2021 in my prayer journal:
Lord, how often do I let things of the world define me? I always say I don t know what my passions are. But Father you are my passion and I am Yours and that s all I need to know for now. Does the future still scare me a bit? Yeah, but I know it does not make up my whole being. I am not my future career, I am Your beloved daughter. When I asked You what you saw when looking at me, I wanted you to tell me who I was. As in what are my qualities, talents, etc. And then it hit me what better thing can I be than Your child. I need to focus on You and allow You to tell me whatever it is You need to tell me when You are ready. So God I have hope in Your detours for me, please bless them, and allow me to see the graces I m receiving because I want to grow in Your time.
At that moment, I was blessed to find what I was searching for, but it made me realize how many others people, in particular college students, must be experiencing this confusion. It s normal to hear people say college is the perfect time for students to figure out who they really are. So, students will look everywhere to find out who they are. But with no guidance in finding one s true self , there is a lot of confusion about what that looks like and it is easy to get lost along the way. As a missionary, I truly desire to guide those who are lost and restless to Christ because as St. Augustine, he declared: You made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You . As a recent college graduate, I know the expectation to perform, but there is no performance needed to be seen and loved. We could rest in front of God offering nothing, like a helpless child and He would just delight in our existence. This kind of love is unconditional and I want to love like Christ, and as a missionary, I will be gifted the opportunity to strive to love others like Him and see Him in others.
When I answered the call to join FOCUS, I made the decision to rely on the spiritual and financial support of mission partners to help me through this mission. I’ve been blessed with the most amazing people who have journeyed with me as I serve on campus. If you are interested in partnering with me, please let me know of the best way to reach you and I will schedule an appointment. I’d be honored to share this mission with you.