I have been called to serve at Belmont Abbey College in Charlotte, NC! As a Varsity Catholic missionary, I will be working full-time to disciple college students, with special outreach to athletes. College is the time when young adults are searching for truth– truth to questions like, Who am I? and What is my purpose in life? For better or for worse, students will make decisions that affect the course of their lives for years to come. Tragically, some may never be given the opportunity to hear and respond to God s message of love or discover their true identity. Generally speaking, student-athletes are even further hindered from reaching this truth, simply by the nature of their demanding schedules. It takes intentional effort and radical availability to change someone’s story, especially that of an athlete. As a former competitive gymnast, I am beyond excited and truly honored to serve in this capacity. Below is a picture of our team and more to read!
FOCUS was by far the most meaningful part of my college experience, despite the fact that FOCUS was not on Clemson’s campus at the time. In fact, the entire state of South Carolina did not have FOCUS when I first arrived. Even so, missionaries that lived in Colorado, Washington, California, Minnesota, and Kansas all played an essential role in my life’s story. Through all of my lows in college, I encountered the love of God in ways I never had before, and those encounters were through the help of FOCUS.
I had graduated high school at the top 2% of my class, was captain of the varsity gymnastics team, a youth group leader at my church, and a future honors and nursing student at Clemson. I had made “all the right choices” and had many accolades to my name. However, my accomplishments couldn’t protect me, and they wouldn’t save me. Each year at school, there were unexpected challenges that I couldn’t handle on my own, and I couldn’t understand where God was in the midst of them. By midterms of my first semester, my mind, body, and soul felt utterly dead; I suffered from severe anxiety, depression, and gastrointestinal disease. Simply being alive felt like a monumental task; I had never felt so knocked off my feet and helpless. I stayed home the following semester on a medical withdrawal, which was disappointing and humbling to say the least. The words “the best four years of your life” would ring in my ears, and I’d wonder what it meant about me if I wasn’t experiencing that. God never abadoned me, though, and He never wastes anything.
Clemson had actually given me a full scholarship to attend a FOCUS conference over Christmas break called SLS18 in Chicago. I can assure you I was not into it, but by God’s grace, I decided to go regardless of how I was feeling. At SLS18, I encountered God s relentless love and pursuit of me through the sacraments, FOCUS missionaries, and tiny little blessings that only He could do. I met missionaries that were 100% committed to loving me regardless of what I was facing or even where in the country I was living. They willfully entered into my battles, modeling the loving way Jesus had entered into our suffering on the cross. When I was hopeless or despairing, I called a FOCUS missionary… specifically one who lived on the other side of the country, and I had known personally for only 5 days. Her impact on my life is profound, and it all started from one simple encounter sitting in the back of a conference. She is still a friend, mentor, and missionary with FOCUS today!
There are many more stories to share about the way God has used FOCUS to bless both myself and others, and I’d love to share more with you.
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 accomplish this undertaking. I’ve been blessed with the most amazing people who are journeying with me as I serve on campus. If you are interested in partnering with me, please reach me at [email protected] to schedule an appointment. I’d be honored to share this mission with you!
This generation is worth fighting for. Will you join me?