Jeff and Emily were united in mission through the sacrament of marriage on April 2, 2016 in Miami, Florida. God has blessed them with 4 children, Isaiah Phillip, Damian Diego, Karolina Mae, and the newly born Isabella Rose (not pictured).
Your generosity is enabling mission to thrive around the world and we are so grateful!
Jeff serves as the International Area Director overseeing all the international campus programs for FOCUS which exist in Europe (Austria, Germany, the UK and Ireland) and in Monterrey, Mexico. He is based in Denver and travels to meet with bishops, priests and students in many countries to ensure the mission continues to grow and thrive. The Lord blessed Jeff and Emily’s time as missionaries on campus at the United States Air Force Academy, Arizona State University and the University of Southern California. Jeff also directed FOCUS Missions (short-term mission trips) for 10 years prior to overseeing work on international campuses.
Jeff & Emily were led to the heart of Jesus Christ by different paths. Jeff studied Political Science and Spanish with a Certification in Latin American Studies at Colorado State University. During his time in college Jeff longed to live out his Catholic faith but FOCUS hadn’t yet expanded to CSU and he was left wanting. After graduation Jeff received a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship to study in a masters program in International Relations at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile in Santiago. Right before departing for South America Jeff attended a FOCUS conference. It was like finding everything he’d been longing for on campus and never found in his four years at the university. His heart burned within him as he met some of the most inspiring people he had ever encountered and heard some of the most inspiring talks on faith that he’d ever heard. He also discovered FOCUS had a small international missions program which captured Jeff’s attention. Over his time in South America Jeff realized that he could serve the Lord through an international vocation in FOCUS by helping FOCUS grow their nascent short-term missions program. Jeff met with Curtis Martin, the Founder of FOCUS, and was invited to become a missionary on campus before moving into the role with Missions. Jeff was assigned as a missionary to the United States Air Force Academy which providentially fulfilled a lifelong dream. Jeff had suffered a severe eye injury in High School that prevented him from attended the Academy so this assignment had great meaning and providence. After serving for two years at the Air Force Academy Jeff went on to run FOCUS Missions. In 10 years Jeff and his department grew FOCUS Missions from 6 trips to over 100 mission trips in over 50 countries. The fruits of this work were overwhelming as many students found their vocations and had their lives changed forever through encounters with Christ in the poor. Highlights from this time in FOCUS included leading 3 missions to Kolkata, India to work with the Missionaries of Charity, chartering boats in the Brazilian Amazon for missions to remote corners of the jungle, and leading expansion trips to much of Latin America, Southeast Asia and several countries in Africa.
In 2014 Jeff was awarded a Rotary World Peace Fellowship which allowed him to study at Chulalonkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand and obtain a post-graduate certification in International Peace and Conflict Resolution. Jeff studied with a small group of prominent leaders from the Middle East, Australia, Russia, Asia and the Americas and traveled to active conflict zones to dialogue with actors in the conflicts. The biggest highlight of working in Missions was meeting his wife Emily while serving on a mission in the Dominican Republic. Emily studied Advertising and Public Relations with a minor in Art and Concentration in History at University of Nebraska in Lincoln. Emily was raised Catholic but did not truly come to know the depth of her Faith until a FOCUS missionary invited her into a bible study at her sorority house. This same missionary invited Emily on the mission to the Dominic Republic which, beyond meeting Jeff, also proved to be a pivotal moment of conversion for her. She returned to campus on fire to share the love of God and, upon graduation became a FOCUS Missionary. A few years later Jeff and Emily began dating and, while on mission in the Amazon of Brazil, Jeff asked Emily to join Him in mission for a lifetime through their vocation of marriage. She said yes, and they were married on April 2, 2016.
As Jeff’s role evolved over the years it eventually lead to his current position overseeing FOCUS’ international campus efforts in Europe and Latin America. The fruits of the full-time mission on our international campuses have been amazing. Although there are some cultural adaptations that have to be made to encounter students where they are at, the spiritual hunger in the students is the same. In just a few years in serving in Ireland, 7 young people have pursued a vocation to religious life or priesthood. Today in Vienna there are well over 100 students in weekly bible studies. Now the majority of our FOCUS missionaries serving in Europe are native European citizens.
As Jeff and Emily continue to be called as a missionary family, we greatly enjoy raising our 4 children and taking them on mission with us throughout the world. We await with great anticipation what the Lord has in store for continued life on mission.
When we answered the call to join FOCUS, we made the decision to rely on the spiritual and financial support of mission partners to help us through this mission. We’ve been blessed with the most amazing people who have journeyed with us throughout our career in FOCUS. As we continue this journey in our vocation of marriage and parenthood we invite you to join our support team. Thank you so much and God bless!