I’ve been called to serve students at the University of Colorado. Those aware of my obsession with buffalo know this is a dream come true, quite literally. When I first converted to Christ and felt a calling to ministry, I never would have guessed that would look like becoming a Catholic missionary in Boulder… but that’s the thing about God; His plans are always surprising and infinitely better than our own. It would take more than a few paragraphs to tell the full story of how one goes from lukewarm Christian / wavering agnostic to Reformed Baptist to investment banker turned Catholic missionary, but the short story is this: God’s loving kindness has led me here, I’ve seen the need for Christ and His Church on the college campus, and I don’t believe there is anything more important or fitting that I could be doing with my life.
I grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, maintaining a loose faith in God and calling that faith “Christianity” when it was convenient for me. Never, though, could I articulate what that faith meant beyond a vague hope for something beyond myself, nor live as though Jesus Christ was truly who He claims to be. I chased fulfillment instead in what the world could offer, but no wealth, happiness, success, or variation of those three could ever satisfy…
You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in You.
I think the 5th century doctor of the Church was onto something. My parents say that as a kid, I would ask the deepest of questions from the car seat; I suppose that it was this wonder and restless longing for transcendent Truth, Beauty, and Goodness that eventually, through exhaustion, foolishness, heartbreak, and friendship led me to the Source of it during my junior year at the University of Kansas. A quote cited in my baptism testimony, and so often interiorly repeated in times of doubt, asserts that:
Christianity is either the most devastating disclosure of the deepest reality in the world, or it is a sham, a nonsense, a bit of deceitful play-acting. Most of us, unable to cope with saying either of those things, condemn ourselves to live in the shallow world in between.
This radical, black-or-white truth of our absurd existence was ultimately the fork in the road that broke down the walls of my heart to Christ’s love. Having lived in the “shallow world in between” for 21 years, and now having seen the deep joy, purpose, and rest offered by the Cross and Resurrection of Christ has reordered my life entirely, and set me on a mission to proclaim this Good News to the world (and to college students like me).
And Jesus came and said to them, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
My life was changed for Christ on the college campus. My friends’ lives were changed for Christ on the college campus. Countless others’ have been changed for Christ on the college campus. Yet so many are still searching. Every college student I’ve ever met comes to campus searching for identity, for community, for direction, and a path to follow in life; I believe few find one that truly fulfills. But those that do–the ones that miraculously come to a life-changing and life-saving relationship with the Living God, and find their identities as beloved sons and daughters–will leave campus having found “life to the full” (John 10:10).
No fraternity, sports team, club, degree, job, or relationship will provide the clarity, direction, or fulfillment that Christ will. I pray my life can be lived in service of that Truth. I’m not a missionary because I couldn’t find anything else to do; I’m a missionary because God is real, Jesus Christ is who He says He is, and I’ve been called to make Him known to university students. I don’t know what God’s plan is for my life or for those that aren’t touched by Him on the college campus, but I do know that a life transformed in college will lead transformed families, firms, parishes, and nations for as long as they live. If I can be a vessel that God uses to spark this transformation, then “here I am. Send me” (Isaiah 6:8).
Those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.
1 Cor. 9:14
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. If you are interested in partnering with me, please reach out personally either by phone (505-274-2657) or through email at [email protected] and I will schedule an appointment. I’d be honored to share this mission with you.