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Longhorns Lovin’ the Lord (an update on FOCUS at the University of Texas-Austin)

First of all, please forgive my completely cheesy, alliterated title.
But you have to admit; it’s just too perfect.

If you’ve been following my posts since I started writing for Catholic Sistas, you learned why I became a full-time Catholic missionary, read some of my thoughts on giving thanks and last month, had a few things to ponder.

This month, I am so happy to share with you some of the truly remarkable things the Lord has done this semester at the University of Texas.

It would be pretty easy for me to spat out a bunch of numbers to tell you of our success. In fact, I guess I will. After our first semester on campus, we had 14 weekly Bible studies, 8 student leaders and over 100 students involved in some way. These numbers could say a lot, especially when you consider there were only 2 missionaries on campus starting a first year program, but they really can’t say enough.

When my teammate Jimmy and I walked into this year, we didn’t quite know what to expect, other than, ya know, normal missionary stuff: blessings, challenges, spiritual warfare, students who need Jesus. All we could do (and did do) was pray, offer sacrifice and trust that God was going to lead us to the right students. Our plan was to invest deeply in key students who would be mentored, grow in their relationship with Jesus and be prepared to start studies and mentorship in the Spring semester. Our goals were to END the school year with 8 Bible studies and 6 student leaders.

Well, obviously, God blew our plans/goals/expectations out of the water. What we found at the University Catholic Center at UT were students who were hungry for knowledge and so willing to step up in leadership. We found even more students who were interested in joining a small group. So many, in fact, that Jimmy and I each led 4 studies and 6 students started studies of their own. Through one-on-one mentorship, or discipleship, we’ve challenged these leaders to grow deeper in their relationship with our Lord, learn how to study Scripture and give their lives for mission. In short, we want them to be mini-missionaries. We love being replaceable.

This is what the New Evangelization is all about: loving our Lord so much we desire to make Him known. Not only do we desire it, we actively seek opportunities to share life in Christ with others. We want these students to be saints, to have a deep thirst for our Lord and a great zeal for souls. That is the way a culture changes. That is the way we live for Christ.

Here is a homily from Father Mike Schmitz at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, another FOCUS campus. He does a great job communicating what it really means to be a disciple or “disciple-maker,” and is extremely inspiring in his message. It’s geared toward college students, but the message is applicable to anyone who wants to be a saint.

We’ve welcomed 2 new missionaries to our team this semester, and we’re asking God for big things! Do YOU want to be a part of this? Because you can be, through prayer and financial sacrifice. I’d love nothing more than to share all of our joys and spiritual fruit with you all the time and to see your sacrifice transform into great things.

Please contact me with any questions, comments, etc.

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  • Update on FOCUS at UT « Where there is darkness, light. - […] out my post in Catholic women’s blog, Catholic Sistas. Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Categories […]January 30, 2012 – 11:27 amReplyCancel

  • Martina - As a graduate of UT, these numbers make me excited at the success so far and the potential to change minds and hearts on one of the most fiercely liberal campuses. You are definitely doing God’s work by bringing students to know Christ and elevating them to go out and share the Faith with others. 🙂January 30, 2012 – 2:13 pmReplyCancel

  • Joan - Glad to hear things are going so well for you and Jimmy, keep up the great work and continued prayers.January 31, 2012 – 1:25 pmReplyCancel

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