Luke Verst

“There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love. The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty — it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There’s a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.” – Mother Teresa

Where I serve

FOCUS played a crucial role in deepening my relationship with Christ. Now, God has called me to the University of Washington, where I am committed to inviting students into that same transformative relationship!

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My UW team: (left to right) Jet, me, Benita, & Ally

 

There is a significant need on college campuses. Many students feel isolated and unloved. In their quest for satisfaction, happiness, and validation, they often lose faith in the Father, seeking these in popularity, recreation, or other pursuits. Statistics show that nearly two-thirds of college students feel alone, and more than half regularly feel hopeless. This generation is experiencing a crisis of identity, purpose, and belief.

 

Thanks to FOCUS missionaries, many students have come to understand that they are deeply loved and accepted by the Father. This realization empowers us to love others genuinely. For me, FOCUS missionaries have exemplified the love of a child who recognizes their worth and love in the eyes of God.

My Story

Growing up Catholic, my parents made sure to emphasize the importance of making it to Mass every weekend.  Because of that, I knew deep down being Catholic meant something, that there is a purpose.  In high school, I wanted to find out what that was.

I started college at the University of Louisville and quickly found myself involved with many things very quickly, including Catholic Campus Ministry and Lambda Chi Alpha, a fraternity I had joined.  After sophomore year, I joined the FOCUS missionaries on my campus and a number of others on a mission trip to Denver, Colorado to work with Christ in the City, an organization known for knowing, seeing, and loving the homeless.  Here, I experienced a community that loved each other, us, the homeless, and most of all, the Lord to a degree I had not seen nor experienced.  I knew there was something special there.  There was intentional time spent with others, which I had not experienced much in my life.  There was joy.

I returned to college for my junior year and quickly falling back into my routine way of living, and months later found myself involved in a few more organizations and working a second job.  The interactions I had with my friends were transactional, many of them soon to cease.  I valued place and experience over genuine relationships, personal health, and prayer.  I found myself in one of the lowest times in my life, feeling overwhelmed and abandoned.  Distraught, I began going daily
to an adoration chapel nearby.  I turned to the Lord in the monstrance and started to recognize a profound relationship with the only One who could truly fulfill and hear me.  In Him, I found a true friend.

IMG 4870 OriginalI applied to CIC’s summer program and found myself in Philadelphia months later.  It was a much smaller group of missionaries than I was expecting, but it allowed us to more easily invest in each other.  I began to realize the self-centered way I was living and phased into a God-centered way of living.  Out of insecurity and into confidence in Him. I began to understand how to truly love someone.  The intentionality and authenticity of the community of missionaries there was healing for me in many ways.

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Tony and I played a good deal of cards together.

It was truly a blessing being able to love the homeless as well.  I formed many authentic friendships on the streets and many times felt loved by those friends.  I went to Philadelphia with a mission to know, see, and love the poor, but in turn discovered my own poverty and need for Christ to meet me there.

Back in Louisville my senior year, I realized the dire need for college students to understand the love Christ has for them and that only He can bring them out of their brokenness.  That is why I became a FOCUS missionary.

 

It’s also crucial to build good authentic friendship with others.  My senior year, I lived with 7 other guys and it was a great year of joy, prayer, accountability, and laughter, and building each other up as men.IMG 5287

Your Impact

Christ has called all of us to be missionaries in our lives. In order for me to be able to embrace this as God’s first calling and do this full-time I need support, but even more importantly I need partners. Partners are as every bit apart of this mission as I am and are crucial to bring the Gospel to the young people on these campuses. I can’t do this alone… that is why I am honored to have people like YOU on my support team, helping bear fruit in the mission through your spiritual and financial support. Because of YOU, I am able to reach so many souls for Christ. Thank you for your yes!

I would to love to get the opportunity to talk to you more about Christ, FOCUS, and the mission.

Find other missionaries

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

Know, Love and Serve God

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

FOCUS Find A Missionary Build Virtuous Friendships Together

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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Want to learn more about Radiating Joy: The Michelle Duppong Story? CLICK HERE!
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