Simon Rees

“There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love. The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty — it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There’s a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.” 

~St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Where I serve

I am exactly where the Lord needs me, and that is back at Central Connecticut State University for my second year!

 

Please pray for me and my team!

My Story

St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, that small woman with deep wrinkles but a deeper love, who is well known and beloved all around the world, has seen true material poverty. And yet she knew that the deepest hunger is for love. And sometimes, that’s the piece that is missing, especially on college campuses. That’s what I discovered when I arrived as a freshman at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts. But maybe I should back up. 

God had always been a word in my vocabulary, but never a character in my life, until it came time for confirmation. As part of that process, I had the option of going to Steubenville East, a Catholic conference for high schoolers. It was after Saturday night’s Eucharistic procession, during which I witnessed many of my friends experience incredible things, when everything started to change. I noticed that Jesus felt real and close, and that maybe I should see who this Jesus was. And from there, I didn’t look back. 

Fast forward to WPI, and I was in the middle of a whirlwind of clubs and classes and parties and rumors, and as cramped as I was in my freshman dorm, everyone felt far away. It all felt like a dream, and love was artificial… except within the Newman Club. Small as it was in numbers, it felt real. In the Sacraments I found peace from the chaos of school. 

Now fast forward to 2020, and the pandemic hits. When everything should have come crashing down, God was raising his kingdom: FOCUS arrived at WPI for the first time. So while the entire world was shutting down, the brand-new missionaries — through the grace of God — were opening the doors to God’s grace in a new and exciting way. Those four original missionaries had no right to come into a school completely locked down with COVID rules, enslaved by pride, never having had a FOCUS presence on campus before, and making a difference… and yet against all odds, they did. 

Jump to 2023. I knew God had brought me to WPI to witness the amazing transformation through FOCUS, and I desperately wanted to be a part of that mission. I graduated from WPI with something far more valuable than a B.S. in Physics and a High School Teaching Certification. First, dozens of lifelong, Christ-seeking friends. And from the example set by the missionaries, I also learned the value of loving others, as well as that often-overlooked value of allowing myself to be loved by others. Truly, I can say God has given me life, and given it abundantly. 

If you want to catch a glimpse of that joy, check out my many music videos!

Your Impact

I’ve seen it countless times: students in college are craving the love that only God can give, but they just don’t know that yet. Who will respond to the call to bring the Gospel to the spiritually poorest among us? For me, it was sometime in 2022 that I knew. And I echoed Isaiah in saying: Here I am! Send me! And He did, and I truly loved my first year of mission at CCSU. I made so many amazing friends, and the Lord blew me away with how abundant He can be in just one short year. 

CCSU boys

Pray for my students! This is us on our pilgrimage to Medjugorje!

I couldn’t have done it alone, and I continue to pray that more people will feel the call to support me on mission. Will you join me? The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Prayerfully consider if God is calling you to mission with me. I would be honored and humbled to have your support!

Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe. You provide for my every need, and by your strength alone will I fulfill the mission you have set before me. Thy Will be done, on Earth and in Heaven and forevermore. Amen.

Find other missionaries

FOCUS brings the joy of the Gospel to colleges and parishes across the United States (and beyond)!
FOCUS Find A Missionary Know Love Serve God Monstrance

Know, Love and Serve God

We encounter God in an intimate relationship through daily prayer, the sacraments and the Scriptures.

FOCUS Find A Missionary Build Virtuous Friendships Together

Build Virtuous Friendships

By building genuine friendships, we meet students on a deeper level.

FOCUS Find A Missionary Teach Others Share Christ Smiling

Teach Others to Share Christ

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

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