Meet The Missionaries
I began my missionary work as a founding missionary at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the fall of 1999.
I graduated from Benedictine College with degree in Liberal Studies and hold a master’s degree in Pastoral Theology from Madonna University. My wife and I have three children, John Paul (8) and Josie (6) and Joshua (4).
I was raised in a Catholic family, was active in my home parish, and attended 14 years of Catholic schools. Entering college, I knew a lot about God, but didn’t really know Him.
With some encouragement from my parents, I lived at Newman Hall, a part of the Newman Center at the University of Illinois my freshman year–little did I know that the people and community there were about to rock my life.
I ignored the invitation to bible study my freshman year, but could no longer resist the desire to attend, and eventually immersed myself in the Newman community. Through FOCUS bible studies, conferences, retreats, and one-on-one mentoring with student leaders and missionaries, I developed a a relationship with Christ.
I grew up Catholic, had a great Catholic education, and never got into much trouble.
Despite this good start, when I got to college, I didn’t know anything about Scripture, I didn’t know how to really pray (if I was honest with myself), and I thought “evangelization” meant having two white-shirt and black tie wearing men knock on your door with a Bible in their hands.
Then I met a FOCUS missionary who showed me the treasure I had in Jesus and His Catholic Church. For the first time, I saw the big picture of my faith and it brought me to incredible intimacy with Christ in my prayer life. I was taught how to share my faith in a way that wasn’t judgmental or condescending, but still without wavering from the fact that Jesus is “the way and the truth and the life” and that He founded one Church.
I was blessed to be a cradle Catholic, yet knew that I needed to grow deeper in my understanding of the faith, as well as to fall more deeply in love with Christ. For this reason, I chose to attend Ave Maria University, a Catholic college near Naples, Florida.
During my time at Ave Maria University, I had the opportunity to grow in my Catholic faith through the spiritual and intellectual opportunities that were made available to me. So many of my friends at Ave showed me an example of living the faith in a dynamic and powerful way. I came to understand that true and lasting joy is only found through living a life imitating Christ, and that the only way to share this joy with others is to share Him and the truths that He has provided us within His Church.
I graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in May, 2010. As a senior in college, I noticed the FOCUS missionaries on my campus living a radical lifestyle – striving for Chastity, Sobriety, and Excellence in their daily lives. This made my feelings of isolation shatter and reignited my desire to have a personal relationship with Christ and to share that with others.
That is why I am a missionary, to bring Christ’s light to those who need it most at this point in their lives.
The second leading cause of death among college age students is suicide. Young people have lost faith, hope, and love for others and themselves.
It is for this very reason that I wanted to join the mission of FOCUS and serve at UNL. I desire to be a visible witness to the transformative power of Christ’s love through my own testimony but also through genuinely loving those I encounter.
I graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May and will be serving at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln this year.
When I came to Illinois, I had no idea what FOCUS was and certainly did not want to actively get involved in my faith. God had different plans! My involvement with FOCUS (beginning my sophomore year) through making friends, attending and leading bible studies, and one-on-one mentorship changed my life to be Christ centered and to strive for excellence as the man God created me to be.
I was an Resident Assistant for three years at Benedictine College in Atchison, KS. While working as an RA, I was made very aware of the pain that so many college students hold inside their hearts. Longing, searching, yearning for something more. That something that many are looking for is the love and healing that comes from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. As a missionary I strive to be radically available, willing to run with students towards God on their faith journey…no matter how rocky that path is.
I attended the University of Nebraska back in the mid 90′s and got caught up in the party culture, never finishing school. I didn’t want anything to do with Christianity at the time, but things became so difficult I eventually surrendered my life to Christ.
Four years ago, I attended the Christian Leadership College at Lincoln Berean Church, where I received training in Christian leadership. While in school, I asked “How would God run a business?” Shortly thereafter, I opened Sacred Heart Tattoo in an effort to run a christian business and reach out to those who otherwise would not hear the gospel message.
Every day students came from campus into my studio. I listened as they shared with me how the temptations of alcohol, drugs, immorality, and relativism were wearing them out. I am currently mentoring a couple men I met through the studio, one of which joined the church this Easter 2011.
My tattoo studio was an amazing training ground for ministry. Now God has called me to work full time with students to have a broader impact with those whom I am uniquely suited to share the gospel.
I am serving in my third year as a missionary at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I am originally from a small town in northeastern Colorado called Idalia, and I studied my undergraduate degree at the University of Northern Colorado.
Entering my third year on staff with FOCUS, I also began a master’s degree in Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education here at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I feel very blessed to have been given such a wonderful opportunity to continue to use my passion for college students. My work with FOCUS has only set my heart aflame for serving students during this critical time in their lives. My hope with this master’s degree is to only continue my work with college students for the rest of my life.
As a former collegiate athlete, I understand the pressures and demands put on students both in the classroom and on the playing field. I also know the great level of distraction college life can provide and how vulnerable these youngsters can be to compromising their principles, even those that should know better. A student athlete has physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual needs. My goal as a Varsity Catholic missionary is to help with the most vital component to their well being, their faith.
My wife Amanda and I had a life changing experience in college. We were on similar paths in our faith life when we met in undergrad and realized that we were both desiring a relationship with Jesus but had not opened ourselves completely to Him. In our search, we came to know FOCUS. Through FOCUS, we encountered God in a new way and realized He was calling us to go even deeper.
By God’s grace, we have realized and have answered His call in a powerful way; by becoming missionaries. As a missionary couple, we are seeking those who are lost like we were; in college, looking for meaning and truth in life that only a relationship with Jesus can satisfy.