From student to missionary
When I first came to UAB I was not expecting to be involved with the St. Stephen’s community. I knew there was free pizza and a few bible studies, and I thought that sounded fun, so I figured I’d come by every once in a while. However, as my time as a blazer continued, I started meeting other Christians who seemed to be way more on fire for Jesus than I was, and the only difference I found was that I was Catholic, and they weren’t. As I began to think about stepping away from the faith, I also started to become better friends with one of the FOCUS missionaries on campus, Emily. I would bring all of my questions and doubts about the Church to her, and she patiently walked with me in that, while showing me they true joy and freedom of being a young Catholic living out her faith.
This propelled me to search for the truth more intentionally, and thankfully it was much closer than I could’ve imagined. Being surrounded by the missionaries and other students at St. Stephen’s, I began to fall in love with Jesus Christ and His Church. I went to a SEEK conference my freshman year and encountered 15,000 other Catholic, college students that loved Jesus, and I was in awe. I had no idea that existed, but I knew then that the Lord was doing big things in my life. I begged Him to help me, knowing that if I was going to live out my Catholic faith, I would need His strength. And thankfully we have a good Father who hears every little cry of our heart.
As time went on, the community at St. Stephen’s began to grow and it slowly became a home for me and many others. The missionaries continued to walk with me and help strengthen me in the Faith, as well as call me deeper into the mission of bringing others into the family of the Church. It didn’t take much convincing once I felt the Lord asking me to give Him two years of my life serving as a FOCUS missionary, bringing students like me closer to Him. As a student, I had no idea what I was missing, from knowing the fullness of Truth in His church to the beauty of living the adventure that is a life with Him.
My deepest desire was and still is to share that truth, and the truth of our deepest identity as sons and daughters with other students. It is overwhelming to think that just one yes of a missionary 5 years ago ultimately changed my life forever. I am beyond humbled to be a small chain in His mission of bringing abundant life and love to other students, and I am praying that whatever the Lord is calling you to, He would give you the courage to say yes. And I fully believe that your yes can, and will, change everything.
Katie Sherman, UAB, class of 2020, FOCUS Missionary at the University of Louisville
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