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. Go Beavers! This is my second year as a FOCUS missionary.

My Story

I grew up in Lawrence, KS, and studied political science at Kenyon College in Gambier, OH. Entering college, I had a relationship with Christ and His Church through weekly Sunday Mass and semiregular Confession. However, beyond that, my priority in life was academic and career success which left me empty, lonely, and unfulfilled. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit my sophomore year and much of campus life shut down, I had to confront the emptiness of my life and an exasperating sense of my weakness and inadequacy. In my need, I turned to the rosary and Sacred Scripture, but not much seemed to change at first.

However, by God’s grace, my life completely transformed 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 definitive. 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, not what I do.

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. In March of 2023, I accepted the call to become a FOCUS missionary and for the past school year, I have shared the love of Christ with the students at Bemidji State University in Bemidji, MN. This past year the Lord has shocked me with His generosity in transforming the guys in our Bible studies and transforming my own heart. Over a hundred students at Bemidji State encountered the Gospel at least once in our Bible studies last year, even though it was FOCUS’ first year on the campus. I can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for the upcoming year!

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)!
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.

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