Landon Kemp

Pole Vault as a Path to God

Never would I have thought a sport like pole vault would teach me how inadequate we are without the strength of God to help us get over all the bars of life.

“Because God has made us for Himself, our hearts are restless until they rest in Him.”

~St. Augustine


Where I serve

I am super excited to be serving as a first year missionary at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. The color purple has always had a special place in my heart and I will be wearing it with lots of enthusiasm for my Wildcat student-athletes. Also, St. Isidore’s brand new Catholic Student Center is going to be a wonderful place to encounter students and spend time with the Lord. Go Cats!

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My Story

It is in our sufferings that God speaks to our hearts. We can think we can do it all on our own but we were not made to be self-sufficient. 

The summer before going into my freshman year of college, I was booted. As in, I had a stress fracture in my foot and I needed to spend the entire summer resting.

My worst nightmare…

I was crushed.




My identity was stripped.

This meant I had to work twice as hard to get myself ready to compete at “Pole Vault U” at the University of South Dakota. I pushed myself as hard as I could by controlling every possible thing in my life to ensure I would have success as soon as I got back on the runway.

I eventually made it back to competing but besides the change in school and being 12 hours from home, something felt missing.

My sophomore year of college I had the most success. On paper, it looked like everything was going great in my life. I was consistently making high bars and had a few PR’s (personal records). I was back to competing

But internally, I was suffering, sad, lonely and depressed.

I couldn’t shake these feelings no matter how much success I had but I can now thank the Holy Spirit for encouraging me to go sit at the St. Thomas More Newman Center church one night. There I met a FOCUS missionary who asked me my name and invited me to her track bible study.

I felt seen, known and loved not just for being the pole vaulter but for being Landon.

I was a lost soul found by a missionary who for the first time, showed me the face of Christ.

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and the gospel will save it.” (Mark 8:34-35)

I have never been more convicted of the need for mission and evangelization on college campuses. We all have our things, our crosses but Jesus invites us to lean into our crosses, to pick them up and embrace the Way of the Cross because it is in our sufferings that the Lord can redeem us by His merciful love.

We were not meant to carry our crosses alone and when we give everything to God we become unshackled from this world.

Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)


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Your Impact

I cannot thank you enough for choosing to support me on my mission with FOCUS.

FOCUS changed my life and I am so grateful to be able to bring Christ to other college student-athletes at Kansas State University.

Thank you for giving faith, hope and love to all the lost souls who have yet to meet Jesus Christ.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

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*Renee is a dear friend of mine who helped me to know Christ through track and our friendship.

Find other missionaries

FOCUS brings the joy of the Gospel to colleges and parishes across the United States (and beyond)!
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Know, Love and Serve God

We encounter God in an intimate relationship through daily prayer, the sacraments and the Scriptures.

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Build Virtuous Friendships

By building genuine friendships, we meet students on a deeper level.

FOCUS Find A Missionary Teach Others Share Christ Smiling

Teach Others to Share Christ

We teach students how to share the gospel, who in turn teach other students how to pass it on.

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