By Kelly Schaffer
Four new young people are here on campus at Franciscan University of Steubenville as part of the Fellowship of Catholic University Student (FOCUS) Missionary team,.
“We give (students) practical tools to be launched into a lifelong Catholic mission by practicing now while they are in their three to four years of discipleship just like the first disciples of Christ before they were sent out” said Luke Oestman, the leader of the FOCUS missionaries.
This year’s four FOCUS Missionaries are Oestman, Steve Lewis, Hannah Brehm, and Kristin Laylock.
“Our main thing is to invite college students into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church,” said Laylock, a FOCUS missionary. “To inspire and equip them for a lifetime of Christ-centered evangelization, discipleship and friendship in which they lead others to do the same.”
Franciscan is already a devoutly Catholic school, but Laylock said: “There are always students who fall between the cracks, or who aren’t receiving the fullness of formation because they aren’t seeking it out. Our job is to seek them out.”
FOCUS Missionaries run small group Bible studies and coordinate outreach events around the J.C. Williams Center every Thursday afternoon.
Oestman is in his fourth year as a missionary with FOCUS. He met his wife while studying at Franciscan from 2003-2005, and they have been married for six years with four children. Oestman loves Franciscan.
“It is like coming home to my family,” he said. “I love working with the friars as well as the professors and the administrative staff.”
Oestman expressed his hope that with the work of FOCUS and of the Franciscan students, everyone has the potential to change the world.
Lewis is from Los, Angeles, Calif. and graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a degree in Philosophy in 2010.
“I’m really impressed with Franciscan’s true community of faith and the students’ desire to be formed and conformed to Christ,” Lewis said. He brought his keytar (a hybrid between a guitar and a keyboard) here to have fun and play music with students.
Brehm is a recent graduate from Loras College with a major in English literature and minors in music and religious studies. Brehm’s family lives in Peosta, Iowa and she is the second oldest of nine children. This is her first year as a FOCUS Missionary. Brehm, like Lewis and Oestman, loves Franciscan.
“Everyone is very friendly and most people are excited for FOCUS to be here,”
said Brehm. “I love being able to share life with students and especially to learn more about scripture.”
Laylock is also a recent graduate from the University of Mary in Bismarck, N.D. with a major in mass communication and minors in theology and philosophy, as well as Catholic studies. Her family lives in Pittsburgh and she is very thankful to be living close to them.
This is her first year as a FOCUS Missionary. Laylock is excited to have such enthusiasm for the Catholic faith at Franciscan.
“Not many missionaries get to ‘brag’ about having half the soccer team showing up to a Bible study every week, but here, it happens because there is a genuine desire for something more,” she said. “It’s also been great to see that there are indeed ways we are needed here, and that we’re not just another program on campus.”