Raul Castillo

“Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”
– Jesus of Nazareth (John 15:13)

Where I serve

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The UCO FOCUS Team on Placement Day 2023

I have the honor to be serving at The University of Central Oklahoma (UCO). While I am originally from Texas, I lived in Oklahoma during 2021 while working at a summer camp. Getting the opportunity to now go back 2 years later brings my story to a full circle. I am happy to be back in the community, blessed continue learning from it, and excited to serve all students that God’s placed at UCO!

My Story

I will never forget the first time I felt it. It was my first time moving away from my family into my own apartment hours away from home to start my Masters Education in College Administration. I had finally arrived to the place where I wanted to be. All the desires I had to help people, advance my career, achieve more academic recognition, and finally become “someone” in the world had finally been fulfilled. Yet, this all culminated in me sitting alone on my couch, wondering what the ‘next’ thing that would make me happy would be. I refused to believe that all my desires came down to loneliness and hopelessness. This was one of the most challenging nights I’ve experienced.

By the Grace of God, the next morning I realized I had two choices. I could either stay on my bed and continue going down a path of empty promises, or I could go to mass. That day, I was invited and welcomed with open arms. Soon enough, I met FOCUS missionaries at Texas State University. At first, I just wanted to hang out and have fun. I saw Jesus as a vending machine, and I hoped that by checking the right boxes, saying the right prayers, and doing the right actions with the right people will give me the happiness I longed for while still being able to do whatever else I wanted. Praise be to God this was not the case at all.

One morning after a life-changing Confession, I saw the FOCUS team praying in the chapel during Eucharist in Adoration at 9:00am. I remember being so mad because I could not logically understand why anyone would waste an hour of their day paying in front of what I thought to be an empty room. I remember screaming inside of my lungs hoping for someone to tell me that the had to someone more. It was at this moment that I realized that I was never meant to find some-thing, I made to find some-one. By getting involved in bible study, discipleship, SEEK, and developing virtuous friendships, a prayer and sacramental life, I realized that everything in this life is meant to lead us to a deeper relationship with Christ. Therefore, nothing that I did mattered if it did not lead me closer to this purpose. I realized that nothing that I did for a student mattered, no amount of education, orientations, events, mentoring, or advising mattered, if they did not know who Jesus Christ is. Therefore, I made the difficult decision of withdrawing from my master’s degree, my internship at Texas State, and become a FOCUS missionary.

My hope is to bring the Gospel, a message of hope,  to all people I encounter by my witness and testimony. I hope to be able to deeply invest myself into the lives of my students. I hope to lay down my life for them, for there is no greater love than to lay down one man’s life for his friends. I hope to show students that nothing will ever fulfill, but someone can; that is our Lord Jesus Christ.

Your Impact

God has given me the privilege of fully investing my life in serving the students, the people, and the community at UCO as a Catholic Missionary with FOCUS. He has convicted me of His great commission so greatly that I decided to withdraw from my master’s degree program and from my previous job. With that being said, He has also planned for me to form a team of supporters that would like to join me on mission by providing me with spiritual and financial support. I recognize that whenever someone joins my mission support team, they are offering all their works, joys, and sufferings, and I believe that this will increase the Graces received by our students. None of this would be possible if it wasn’t for your support, and I would love to invite you into mission with me at UCO! Please feel free to contact me if you would like to talk to me about joining me on mission. I appreciate your generosity and taking the time to read my story. Know that you are loved, and that I am praying for you.

Find other missionaries

FOCUS brings the joy of the Gospel to colleges and parishes across the United States (and beyond)!
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