Howdy, Catholic Sistas readers. Lauren Garcia, here, a FOCUS Missionary at the University of Texas-Austin. I’m so happy to be contributing to this lovely blog. Finding community is essential in the life of a Christian and to use the Internet as a means to that is awesome. I look forward to sharing stories from campus, bringing to light issues young women face and pouring out my love for our most beautiful Faith. But today, I want to talk to you about FOCUS and why I am where I am.
FOCUS is the Fellowship of Catholic University Students. Over 13 years ago, Curtis Martin founded the organization in response to the New Evangelization, a call for all of us to fulfill the Great Commission in all walks of life. We choose to serve on college campuses because it’s the place where students are most influenced, where they will make decisions that will effect the rest of their lives, where our future leaders, parents, teachers are receiving formation and information that will change the world, for better or worse. We hope and pray for the better. If I had to say what we do in a few words, I’d give you our motto, “Launching college students into lifelong Catholic mission.” But what does that mean? And what exactly does it look like?
It’s simple, really. I share love. I share life. I strive to preach the Gospel with my life and invite students into that fullness of life our Lord calls us to. If they’re convicted by the love of Jesus to share it with others while they’re in college and for the rest of their lives, I’ve done my job. Or at least, I’ve let God use me as an instrument to help ignite that conviction.
While I was a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, I immediately got involved with FOCUS and started leading my own study by my sophomore year. I was formed well, taught about evangelization and sought opportunities to share my faith with my peers. But I don’t think I realized the real burden to “make disciples of all nations” until my senior year, when I was deciding among various graduate schools and serving as a FOCUS missionary. I knew I could start Bible studies and invest in women while in graduate school, so why do I have to be a missionary? So many things about being a missionary scared me: fundraising my whole salary, being sent somewhere I didn’t want to go, giving my whole life and setting back all my plans. And those things I was scared of just gave God the opportunity to ask, “Do you really trust me? Do you really want to make me known?” The answer to both had to be yes.
And here I am, after only a year of serving on FOCUS staff, starting a brand new program at the University of Texas. As a Texas native, I have been praying for FOCUS to go to UT ever since I knew what FOCUS was. And God blessed us this year with the opportunity to come to this influential campus and change lives! Praise Him.
Want to learn more or get involved?
**Lauren Garcia is a missionary with the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) at the University of Texas at Austin. A 2010 graduate of the University of Nebraska, Lauren is a native of College Station, Texas. She loves reading, music and coffee. Visit her personal blog here.**