Hi there! We are Jake and Adrienne Barajas. We got married at the end of December in 2022, and we are grateful to spend the rest of our lives together serving the Lord as best we can. Thank you for joining our family on this mission!
This year, we are privileged to serve as part of the inaugural FOCUS team at San Jose State University! Jake is humbled to have been asked to step in and serve as the Team Director, and Adrienne will be serving in an affiliate role as a part-time missionary, helping out by leading college women in bible study and mentoring our first-year female teammates. Having served on a variety of campuses and in several different roles over the past four years, we are so excited to get back out on campus together at SJSU, helping souls to encounter Christ and to know the Truth and Love for which they are made.
Jake’s Story: In March of 2018 while in school at Indiana University, I had an incredibly powerful encounter with Jesus Christ and made the decision to dedicate 100% of my life to Him. This meant I was not going to think of things in terms of how other people would think of me. Instead, the only concern I would have going forward is how I would be viewed in the eyes of the Lord. This conviction led me to heavily consider applying for FOCUS the following summer. However, after discussing with my family, it seemed it would be best for me to pursue graduate school in hopes of becoming a clinical social worker. Little did I know, God had other plans for me. In August 2018, God vividly called me to serve Him as a FOCUS missionary and there was no way I could deny the call a second time.
After experiencing some highs and lows during my four and a half years in college, there is no denying I was and am the most fulfilled when my life is centered around Jesus.
Adrienne’s Story: The Lord was incredibly patient and gentle with me as I grew to know Him. Having been raised Catholic, my faith and morals were always very important to me, but I had yet to discover the profound depth of a personal relationship with our Lord. Like Jake, I also experienced God’s love profoundly during my years in college. At Boston University, I was blessed to come to know the Lord primarily through authentic friendships with other young (and fun!) people who took their faith seriously and lived it out joyfully (a combination of qualities which I, in my pride, had formerly thought impossible). I continued to learn more through my involvement in bible studies and was deeply moved during a spring retreat, where I heard for the first time that we all are called to holiness. Through encounters such as these, I realized and nurtured within me a desire to give more of my life to God, a desire that stayed with me when I started graduate school at UC Irvine.
Throughout the year I spent in Irvine, the Lord ultimately revealed to me that my true identity was not in my studies, not in my talents or accomplishments, not in what I should or could do, not even in my relationships or in what my friends thought of me – rather, I was to be found, and loved, completely in and by Him. This encounter with Jesus and His mercy changed my life and set me racing on a path to give myself more totally to Him. I had experienced wonderful friendships with FOCUS missionaries at both BU and UCI, and the idea of becoming a missionary myself became more and more attractive as a way to live a truly meaningful and fruitful life. Though I saw the objective good of becoming a professor with a Catholic worldview, as had been my initial intention in starting graduate work, I became entirely convicted that the best thing I could do for university students was not to teach them about literature, but to first teach them about Jesus – to start from the ground up, helping them to know their identity first and foremost in Christ’s love.
After much prayer and discernment, I ended up leaving my program and so began the most wonderful adventure of living a life centered on Christ as a missionary disciple. I couldn’t have imagined the Lord’s generosity in response to this “yes” I had given Him, ultimately giving me greater freedom of heart and leading me to the very man who would become my now husband!
Our Story: We first met in Bismarck, North Dakota in 2019 when we each began working for FOCUS. A few days into summer training, we both received the same placement to serve as full-time missionaries at UC Berkeley. After two years serving as teammates and growing closer as friends, Adrienne and Jake each realized a deeper desire on their hearts and began to date. Having both determined that they wanted to discern a future and vocation together, Jake remained at Berkeley for a third year and served as Team Director there, while Adrienne decided to stay in California and providentially started a new job just an hour south in San Jose. The Lord provides! We were engaged just about a year later on Easter morning in the spring of 2022. Jake then switched roles to serve with Digital Outreach, helping to reach more campuses and students that don’t necessarily have the resources for a full FOCUS team to guide and support them. During our engagement that year, Jake worked in a digital capacity specifically with San Francisco State University (which now has an in-person team!) and the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. We were married in December and currently live in the South Bay, where we are so grateful and excited to serve together again as on-campus missionaries at SJSU. Though neither of us are from the Bay Area, we have grown to love California and take seriously our call to make Jesus known, especially here!
When we answered the call to join FOCUS, we also knowingly made the decision to rely on the spiritual and financial support of mission partners to help us accomplish this mission. We deeply believe that the Lord has given us our vocation as husband and wife in order to be a gift to others, and that He will provide the means for us to stay in the Bay Area so as to bring as many souls as possible to know and love Him.
We each have been blessed with the most amazing people who have journeyed with us as we serve on the college campus, and we see the immense need for young people to know the Lord and to believe in His goodness. If you are interested in partnering with our family as we seek to make His love known, please let us know of the best way to reach you and we will schedule an appointment. You can also reach out to us personally via email at jacob.baraja[email protected]. We would be honored to share this mission with you!