William Yanek

Hey! My name is William. I’m a FOCUS missionary.

Where I serve

God has called me to serve the students at Bemidji State University in northern Minnesota. This is my first year as a FOCUS missionary!

My Story

I grew up in Lawrence, KS, and studied at Kenyon College in Gambier, OH. Entering college, I knew I wanted to go deeper in my faith, but I was unsure how. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it weakened the small Catholic community on campus. As a result, in my second year, instead of trying to grow in my faith I sought fulfillment in goods such as the validation of others and academic success, which could never satisfy. I left my sophomore year hungering for more and exasperated by my inadequacy and weakness, which led me to start praying the rosary and studying Scripture for the first time.

However, by God’s grace, my life completely changed starting my junior year. One day after mass, I met a parishioner and former FOCUS missionary who invited me to a weekly Bible study called the “Crux,” which presented the complete Gospel message over five weeks. I already knew I wanted to put God at the center of my life, but the Gospel presentation in the Crux Bible study made my decision to follow Jesus explicit. In the months following the Bible study, through discipleship, I learned how to hear God’s voice in prayer and grew closer to Jesus in the sacraments. However, I still had many doubts and was plagued by a nagging sense of weakness and inadequacy.

Then one night in February of my junior year, Jesus turned my world upside down. After a talk on evangelization at Damascus Catholic Mission Campus in Centerburg, Ohio, a missionary there asked to pray with me, and as he was praying, I encountered the infinite, wild, loving gaze of Jesus on my soul. At that moment, the Lord dispelled my sense of weakness and inadequacy. He let me know that I need not worry about weakness, timidity, or inadequacy, that He has great plans for my life, and that He loves me for who I am.

My encounter with the love of Jesus Christ compelled me to share His love with others. In my senior year, I started several men’s Bible studies and led Catholic campus ministry. Now, I am following the Lord’s call to be a missionary and share the love of Christ with others full-time.

Your Impact

When I answered the call to join FOCUS, I made the decision to rely on the spiritual and financial support of mission partners to help me through this mission. It is because of the generosity of these mission partners that I am able to continue serving college students full time as a missionary. If you are interested in partnering with me, please let me know of the best way to reach you and I will schedule an appointment. I would be honored to share in this mission with 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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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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