Hi! My name is Elizabeth Stephens and I am an incoming sophomore at UAB! St. Stephens has played a huge role in my faith journey this past year. Before coming to college, I hadn’t really heard of FOCUS or their missionaries, and the first time I met them, I didn’t even realize who they were. I met Karly, Sarah, and Carissa at a women’s night hosted at Carissa’s house. They were so friendly, welcoming, and personable. They made me feel welcome when I wasn’t sure if I would be able to transition into a new prayer community. As I got to know them throughout the next year, I began to witness the beautiful and personal relationships each of these wonderful people had with God, and learn how to deepen my relationship with God. There were very few times I would head to St. Stephen’s and not find a FOCUS missionary there either in prayer, playing pool with students, or discipling. They are always so happy to give advice on how to go deeper into prayer, go over a passage in the bible with me and pray for me, which are things I deeply appreciate. I have had so many good times and conversations with them, both faith-related and not, and I cherish my relationships with them.
The FOCUS missionaries evangelize with students on our campus green once a week, and I decided to go join them in this after my classes to see what it was like. I knew God was calling me to reach out to my fellow students in some way so that they could encounter Him, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. I was really nervous to be praying publicly in a place where so many of my peers hung out, since I didn’t know how they would feel if I shared my faith with them. While the women prayed a Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet for everyone on campus, the men went out and asked other men if they needed prayers. After praying, we went and asked the women on campus if they needed someone to pray for them. The missionary I was with never pressured me to speak, but only encouraged me to pray with them and be bold in my faith. Eventually, I felt enough courage to approach someone who needed prayers, and it was a very moving moment. I was reminded by the FOCUS missionaries how much those around me need, just as much as I do, a Christ-like gesture. Because of them, I have gained the boldness that I need to approach others with Christ’s love.
I am so grateful for our FOCUS missionaries and I can’t wait to get to know them better in these next couple of years!
-Elizabeth Stephens, class of 2023
St. Stephen's is home to students from UAB, Samford, and Birmingham-Southern.
We hope you enjoy reading their stories about what God has done for them.
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