Does FOCUS Even Work?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


If you're big on the New Evangelization, that is, trying to see how we share the Gospel (the good news of Jesus Christ-that He is God, and that He came to save us, He did save us, and He is saving us...it's easy but complicated) to a post-Christian world (this is becoming a huge run on sentence. can't stop. won't stop.), you've probably heard of FOCUS.

FOCUS, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, is the largest Catholic outreach program in the United States. They put missionaries on the college campus here in the U.S., where they form real relationships with college students, share the Gospel, and invest in them so they can do the same with others.

I was a FOCUS Missionary for 2 years, what I sometimes consider the best and worst 2 years of my life. During my first year, I was super homesick/very confused about God's plan for my life/amidst a team with a lot of challenges. I had a hard time making friends (the second most important part of the job). And I often wondered if FOCUS really did or could work.

Now I know.

The answer is YES. I've been off campus for a year, and in many ways, it's like my first year on staff. I have few friends. It's hard to pray. I'm not sure what God's doing in my life.

HOWEVER.

I have been so encouraged by the fruit, or what Jesus did, with my two years on staff. I have REAL RELATIONSHIPS with my friends from FOCUS. I talk to all my teammates/roommates from Georgia. My teammate Brittany and I are probably better friends now than we were in Florida. I spoke with one of the women I discipled (mentored) in Florida, and I was so excited to hear about her upcoming third year as a missionary.

I was really really close with two students from Southern. And we're still close! It's a funny kind of close. Close in the way that both of them missed my birthday...but I coincidentally received "just because" notes in the mail from each of them the same day or a day before...and I did the same to them. Isn't that the best kind of friend? Birthdays seem obligatory, but sending mail just because is a more real act of service. It's a bigger sacrifice.

The other crazy thing?

The roles have reversed! Or maybe leveled out? I went from being their missionary to needing their support to start praying again, to living a more virtuous life. And they are CHAMPS. It's been beautiful and humbling to have the women I've served invest in me.

So, does FOCUS work?

It did for me.

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