Michael serves at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. And Madison is serving at Samford University. There are also a few other colleges which we will be working with, but our main mission will be to those schools mentioned. You can always find us hanging around the St. Stephen the Martyr Catholic Chapel, around our campuses, or praying at the Cathedral of St. Paul. We are truly excited to be placed in Birmingham, where catholic roots have been established for quite some time. Feel free to reach out to either of us if you, or someone you know, will be in Birmingham!
Our Focus story really begins at SLS 20 when we both experienced a conference like no other. Seeing so many students, religious life, and zeal for the Lord, really made us begin to think… “Are we doing enough?” It was shortly after having this thought that we found Summer Projects, a 3 month long faith formation program founded by focus, and immediately registered for a summer that would change our lives. During those 3 amazing months in the mountains of Colorado, we really got to see what authentic community looked like, and how amazing the sacraments become when you participate in them everyday. After going back into a normal life and falling back into a lukewarm faith for a few years, the Lord called us to go back to focus. But this time as Missionaries. Here is our individual testimonies to really take you through what it was like for us, and how we got here!
My name is Michael Skaggs, and I was born and raised in Texas as a cradle Catholic. Growing up, I was actively involved in my faith, attending Sunday Mass and catechism classes. However, as I entered high school, I became disenchanted with youth group and my faith gradually faded away. Throughout my college years, I searched for happiness in various places, but found myself trapped in the secular world.
It wasn’t until my sophomore year that I decided to pursue confirmation and rediscovered my faith. Attending a conference called SLS during my junior year further ignited my passion for Catholicism. It was there that I learned about Summer Projects, a faith formation program organized by Focus. Participating in this program in the summer of 2020 completely transformed my life, as I experienced the beauty of true Catholic community. After working in the corporate world for two years, I discerned a calling to become a Campus Missionary with Focus. My wife and I interviewed for the position shortly before our wedding, and we accepted full-time roles a week after the ceremony. I am thrilled to serve at UAB, allowing the Holy Spirit to work through me and lead others back to their faith.
Hello, name is Madison Skaggs. I was born in Natchitoches, LA and then later my family and I moved to San Antonio, TX (Where I would later meet Michael). after graduating High School in 2017 and taking gap time, I received my AA in Theology from Franciscan University Online. I first felt the Lord calling me to mission in 2012 at a Steubenville Conference, at the time I didn’t know what that meant, but overtime He slowly revealed it to me. I began the process of discernment by going to a few mission trips and as well as assisted my parishes youth ministry, but still I felt Jesus calling me to a different kind of mission.
My college years were the most formative years of my life. I believe I had I not been in an environment of faith and practicing Catholicism, my life would look very different. I am blessed for those who walked with me and guided me in those years, and I desire to do the same for other.
I am excited to be serving at Samford University in Birmingham, AL alongside my husband. It is a dream and blessing to get to walk with students who need guidance and help them to draw closer to our Lord. Please pray for us in our mission!!
We deeply value the support of our mission partners, as they are the foundation of our mission’s success. Through their generous contributions, both in prayer and finances, we are able to fulfill our purpose. Prayer is at the core of our mission, and with the assistance of our partners, we ensure that every prayer request is brought before the Lord. Focus has always taught that “ministry without prayer is just an activity”. We are thrilled to join forces with friends, family, and fellow believers to extend this mission to others. While not everyone can devote an entire day to serving students, being a mission partner is equally impactful. Financial support from our partners enables us to devote ourselves entirely to the students we serve, being Radically Available to them throughout the diocese of Birmingham. Whether it’s exercising with a student in the morning, sharing a meal with our Bible studies, or hosting gatherings at our home, we can deeply invest in the lives of these students because of your contributions. Your support not only benefits us directly but also goes towards providing meals and snacks for gatherings, bibles & books, and enabling students to attend our annual SEEK conference.
Feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns you may have, or simply to learn more about what we do!