November 12, 2011

Karen's Story


"As a CSU freshman in 2007, I thought I had all I could ever want in college - the boys, the parties, the endless "craziest night ever" stories, and still the good grades, the church attendence, and the good reputation to go with it. So why did I feel so empty? I was proud to be a chameleon that could blend seamlessly into any environment; I was master of the good-girl/ bad-girl game. It wasn't until I became involved in FOCUS that I realized the problem: I spent so much time acting that I wasn't even sure who I really was.
I joined a FOCUS Bible study because my sister had told me to. I had no idea how invested in me my Bible study leader, and later the FOCUS missionaries, were ready to become. These were not my party friends, who could care less about me when we weren't drinking or gossiping. These were people who wanted to know me, and who wanted me to know God. These were people who would call me out when they saw through my acting, because they knew I was only fooling myself. The community I found through FOCUS helped me to realize how much God really cared for me, and who He really intended for me to be.
Three years later as a senior, I actually have better grades and crazier stories. The men and women I trust are holy, and we don't just attend church - we live the Mass. I now lead a Bible study and two discipleships through FOCUS. Through these, it is always my hope to share the love that was shared with me, that the girls I now invest in may come to know their true identities as daughters of God."

Written by Alicia Bowen, Missionary at Colorado State University

Lindsey's Story

Lindsey is a freshman this year at the University of Mary.  After her older sister (who is a junior and a campus minister) introduced us, Lindsey and I became fast friends through Ultimate Frisbee and laughter.  I invited her to come to my Bible study, and she showed up with a roommate and a friend from high school in tow.  

At that first study, Lindsey expressed some fears in her expected experiences at home during the upcoming Labor Day weekend, but didn't go into much detail.  The following week, however, after we had talked about Peter's magnanimity during his stroll on the water in our second night of Bible study, Lindsey asked if I could stay after and talk with her.  She began pouring out her heart about her struggles with alcohol, with a history of harming herself through cutting, and with former temptations toward suicide.  Her first visit home had allowed her to confront these terrible trials of her past and powerfully contrast them to her experiences during college so far.  She spoke of longing to give her life to Christ, to continue to learn and understand Him and His Word, and to live up to the greatness He was calling her to; namely, to "get out of the boat" as St. Peter had done.

Turning to me, she asked "How can I do this?  How can I live a life that is good?"  I asked her when she had last received the Sacrament of Confession.  She answered in her vulnerable way "Oh, I'm not going to lie, it's been at least three years."  I invited her to recognize this as the next step on her walk toward Christ, and gave her the necessary resources and a commitment to go with her when she was ready.

Just under two weeks later, Lindsey returned to Confession and began the healing process she so desperately needed.  Her joy after receiving the sacrament was palpable. 

She has since committed to accountability in learning how to pray, and for two weeks has remained faithful to prayer every single day, desiring more and more each time I see her to grow in knowledge of the Lord so that she can share Him better.  In her words, "I feel like He's saved me, and I need to tell people."

~Marnee Peterson, Team Director at University of Mary, Bismarck

Finding Girls for Bible Study

I was on campus last week working on things and I overheard two freshmen girls talking and then they brought up "church" and I decided to eavesdrop a little bit.  I knew the second that they brought that up, I had to talk to them.  It took me about 15 minutes to work up the courage to stand up and go to their table.  By the time I got to them they were already on a different subject.  I told them that I didn't mean to overhear their conversation but I heard them talking about church and I told them that I was a Catholic missionary on campus.  They were very interested in what I had to say after that.  I invited them to go to Mass and told them where both the church and Catholic Campus Center was.  I almost walked away after that because they were packing up their stuff but then I asked them if they would be interested in Bible studies and they were very interested in that.  They gave me their numbers and I have been inviting them to things since then.  It hasn't bore fruit yet, but I have a good feeling about it!

~Kelly Huber, Missionary at University of Northern Colorado