“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! … Do not take a purse or bag or sandals…” Luke 10: 2-4
We moved my oldest son, Zack, into college last Friday. I’ve known for a long time that I’m no longer the one who influences his choices, or remains the primary person shaping who he’ll become. That’s why my nightly prayer for him has been, “Please bring him good, true and faith-filled friends.”
I met his roommate for all of five minutes while helping Zack unpack. He seems like a nice kid. But it’s too soon to say whether he and Zack will bond, or whether he’ll be a good influence or not.
I did make a point of showing Zack where the church is by campus. Oddly enough, it has the same name and Mass time as our home parish where Zack has gone all his life. I do intend on being “that mom” who texts him weekly to remind him to attend. It’s my responsibility and vocation to do what I can to keep him in the faith.
What I wish, most of all, is that there were a FOCUS presence on campus.
FOCUS is a Catholic non-profit organization that recognizes that most people step away from their faith while in college. Like Jesus sent His disciples out with the mandate to take no money, bag or shoes, these young FOCUS workers go with nothing. They rely on the spiritual and financial support of others, and have to do their own fund-raising to pay for all of their living and daily expenses. Yet, these young people are so on fire for Jesus, they’ll do anything to spread that fire to others.
That includes spending all their time being available to the college students where they’re assigned. Day and night, they witness to them as they hang out in the quad and/or answer their questions about faith over a cup of coffee (that they have to pay for out of their own fundraising efforts). Basically, they do whatever it takes to help college students maintain and/or grow their faith, or lead them back if they’ve fallen away.
Despite there being no FOCUS program at Zack’s college, I’m still so excited for him – for all he will learn, and for all the ways he will grow. I just pray that God surrounds him with good influences so his faith is one of the things he learns more about, so as he grows, he grows closer to God.
P.S. – I’m incredibly proud to say that my nephew, and Godson, Brendon Ferguson is now a FOCUS missionary assigned to the campus of the University of Rhode Island. If you feel called to help sponsor him as He does God’s work, click here. If you’d like to connect with Brendon to learn more about him and what he’s doing through FOCUS, you can reach him at Brendon.email@example.com. Thank you!