Yaquelin Ortiz-Tapia

“La cruz nos indica una forma distinta de medir el éxito.”

-Papá Francisco


Where I serve

God has called me to continue serving at the University of Maryland, College Park for the upcoming fall semester! I am so excited to be working with the UMD team: Catherine, Bea, Katie, Will and Jack! I hope to make my final semester at UMD meaningful! I will receive a new campus placement in December, stay tuned for more updates later.

My Story

Coming into college, my Catholic faith was definitely not my number one priority. Like many other students, I felt more drawn to the party lifestyle, focusing on my future career/resumé, making friends, and pursuing what I thought would make me happy. However, knowing that I would feel guilty if I let my faith go entirely, I still planned on attending Sunday mass when I got to campus.

Everything changed when I encountered loneliness for the first time as a freshman. Although I was trying my best to put myself out there and meet people, I was shocked to find out that there was a severe lack of authentic friendships everywhere I went. It seemed like every college student I crossed paths with only cared about the parties they were going to attend on weekends or ensuring they got the highest grade in their classes. Soon after realizing this, I knew that I needed to find a community on campus that would introduce me to those genuine friendships I was desperately seeking.

After getting invited to attend an event at the Catholic Student Center (CSC) on my campus, I was determined to go and see what it was like. This ended up being one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. From the moment I stepped foot inside the CSC, I knew that something was different there. I could see this in the way that I was personally welcomed by the students and staff the first time I went to the CSC. That day, I made many meaningful and genuine connections that left my heart feeling full. I decided to keep coming back because I craved the relationships and the joy that everyone at the CSC had.

Pretty soon, I joined a FOCUS bible study at the CSC, which allowed me to begin developing a more intimate relationship with God. For the first time, I was beginning to read scripture and pray on a more consistent basis. This challenged me to take an honest look at my life and see whether I was truly putting Christ at the center. This was definitely not easy but the guidance of the FOCUS missionaries on my campus were pivotal in helping me say “yes” to following Jesus. It was also in accepting this call that I was able to find greater freedom and the happiness I had been searching for my whole life!

As I was finally striving to live fully for Christ, the FOCUS missionaries invited me to start leading my own bible study. Although I was nervous about balancing school and being a bible study leader, I decided to take a leap of faith and go for it.

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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