Simon Bickford

“The worst prison would be a closed heart.”

– St. John Paul II –

Where I serve

I am currently serving as a year-long intern at Northern State University in Aberdeen, SD where I am also in my final year of pursuing my Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry.


My Story

During my first couple weeks as a freshman at Northern State University I felt as though I had two options: to be a faithful Catholic and be viewed as boring and weird, or to disregard Christ and be fun and accepted by my peers. I would later find this to be false, but at the time I believed it and decided to sort of try out both. While I was still going to Sunday Mass when I found the time, the rest of the week I was struggling to live out healthy relationships with those around me and found myself putting all of my worth into the way in which I thought that other people perceived me. The first week that I was at NSU a FOCUS missionary reached out to me so that we could grab coffee, but I had made just about every excuse possible to not meet with him. Eventually I did, and he invited me to Bible study. By an immense amount of grace from God I decided to join his Bible study, and while I was reluctant and thought it was super awkward, I went to Bible study for the next couple of weeks.

In that Bible study I deeply encountered Christ in Sacred Scripture in a way that I never had before. While I had some incredible moments growing up Catholic and going to a Catholic high school, this was the first time that I felt as though it was up to me whether or not I pursued Christ. From there I would continue to be more and more involved at the Newman Center on my campus and went to a SEEK conference during my freshman year at the University of Mary. This conference was extremely impactful in my relationship with Christ and helped me to see that I could live out virtue without giving up on fun and friendship.

The more that I began to understand God’s love for me and the depth of His grace, the more that I desired to share it with the people around me. The missionaries that helped me to grow in my relationship with Christ also taught me how to do the same thing for the people in my life! While the personal experiences that I’ve had with Christ have truly formed me as a beloved son of God, having the opportunity to share in His goodness for the men around me has equally showed me His great love for us.

These experiences made me consider what was truly important in my life, and I began to wonder what it would be like to truly devote my entire life to the person of Jesus Christ. In this consideration, I decided that one of the best ways for me to learn how to do this was to become a missionary just like the missionaries that had helped to free me from the ways of our culture.

Your Impact

At Northern State University, I hope to touch as many hearts as possible in the name of Jesus Christ “so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father,” (Phil 2:10-11). This is an insurmountable task without the grace of God working through the prayer and support of many incredible people like you! If you would be interested in learning more about my mission and how you can support it, please reach out!

Find other missionaries

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

We teach students how to share the gospel, who in turn teach other students how to pass it on.

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