So, you may have seen Chris’s post floating around the web with 14 pretty darn fantastic reasons why you should become a FOCUS missionary in 2014. Since there is a plethora of reasons–way more than 14–why you should become a FOCUS missionary, I thought I could offer 14 more* because, why not?
Now, I know what some of you skeptics are thinking: Chris is a missionary; you are too, Jane. You’ve both already “drank the FOCUS juice” so to speak so you obviously just want to brainwash us into thinking we should be missionaries (just like every other missionary I know who’s trying to convince me to join FOCUS staff).
Well, of course in true Jane-fashion, I have a response to that: First, get over yourself. (Just kidding…) Second, would you want a list from an engineer of reasons why you should become a cosmetologist? No, that’s silly. You’d want a list of why you should become a cosmetologist…from a cosmetologist. So, here’s your list of why to be a missionary…from a missionary. Finally, I officially declare you ought not listen to those people who haven’t ever been a missionary tell you that us missionaries are crazy and you should never be a missionary…
Without further ado I present:
14 More Reasons Why You Should Become a FOCUS Missionary in 2014
1. Say “good-bye” to that awkward mold you’ve been placed into and skip town.
It became known at my last job that I was one of the best people to go to when the copy machine broke or you needed to figure out how something logistically could work. Maybe I don’t always want to press buttons on the copy machine until it starts working–you could do that too, you know! Also, I was the “one who hates hugs.” (Because I used to hate hugs.) How do you convince everyone who’s worked with you for a couple years that you don’t actually hate hugs that much anymore? Answer: You don’t. You pack your bags and skip town to a new exotic locale.
2. It’s the best job ever.
I can’t tell you enough times that being a missionary is the. best. job. ever. I give you “Exhibit A” from a tweet I tweeted a couple weeks ago. All the comments underneath are from, you guessed it, other missionaries who agree with me!
3. MPD (a.k.a. Mission Partner Development…a.k.a. fundraising your salary) isn’t that bad. In fact it’s pretty enjoyable.
A lot of people are held back from missionary work because the thought of fundraising your salary is too daunting. Yesterday a couple of Sisters from the School Sisters of Christ the King were visiting campus and asked what the most surprising part of being a missionary has been. My reply was, “Fundraising. It’s crazy how easy it ended up being.” I went on to discuss that, yes, I did have to work hard, but the Lord totally provided (surprise there, He did it again)! It’s also a huge blessing and joy to share the mission of FOCUS with friends and family. All this talk about fundraising leads me to point 4…
4. Want a raise? Okay, get one.**
So you can’t possibly be a missionary because you have a boatload of school loans and could never pay them back. Or, you couldn’t do it because you’re just graduating and already married with a baby on the way. If you need to raise an extra $1000 a month for all your ridiculously huge student loans, then you can! Just go out and find more people to share the mission with and ask them to join your support team. (I dare you to find me another job that allows that. Imagine walking into your bosses office at your first “grown-up” job and asking for a raise right off the bat so you can afford your school loans.)
5. Attain mad-crazy skillz for future employment.
I give you some questions from the future (your first job interview after your time with FOCUS):
1) So, tell me about when you’ve had to be self-motivated in your work. –Oh, if I wanted to get paid I had to find people to support me.
2) Do you have any experience in managing people? –Yeah, I had a “discipleship chain” which looked a bit like a family tree that I was in charge of–I had to make sure messages were communicated and making sure everything was copacetic in my “chain.”
3) Okay, do you have any sales experience? –A little…Every week my teammates and I would go out on campus and walk up to random strangers and start conversations and try and get them to accept Jesus as the center of their lives and join a Bible study.
4) Good, how about public speaking? –Yeah, I mean I helped lead a few retreats and every month we had a gathering for everyone who was a student leader on campus and I had the opportunity to speak to a group of 50-100 a few times every year.
Need I go on? I could.
6. Three words: New. Staff. Training.
Before I became a missionary I heard a lot of complaints from current missionaries about how much they didn’t like summer training. What on earth were they talking about!? Sure, it was exhausting and a lot of work. But, it’s also the best training for young people in the New Evangelization in the U.S. (or, more probably, the world). And, it’s in Florida. There’s a waterpark ON CAMPUS. If you live anywhere near me (or, I suppose right now, anywhere in the U.S. besides Florida or the very bottom of the map) the thought of those hurricanes, heat and alligators in the canal behind the dorms is pretty. darn. appealing. right now. I loved summer training and can hardly wait to go back!
7. You always have a place to stay.
So there’s a missionary from Philidelphia who’s serving in Missouri and she came up to North Dakota for a wedding last weekend. When she went to visit some people in Grand Forks, she stayed with the missionaries. Let me tell you… that’s not an uncommon occurrence! (It doesn’t even matter if you know the missionaries you want to crash with!)
8. The rest of your life can be totally purpose driven.
So we’re supposed to make disciples our whole lives. After 2 summers (as well as continued formation and growth throughout 2 school years) of some of the best training in the business of Gospel sharing and making disciples you will know what you’re doing! You won’t have to go Grad School, Law School, the workforce, etc. and be totally lost. You’ll know just how to build a Bible study and lead your coworkers/classmates closer to Jesus. It’s refreshing knowing what you’re doing.***
9. You can pretend you’re an expert blogger even though your mom is the only one who reads your blog.
I think it would be cool to have a blog that thousands of people check everyday to see what sort of wisdom you’ve posted that can inspire them. That’s not what this blog is. It’s more a way to keep in contact with my family and any mission partners and friends interested. But, sometimes for fun I pretend that’s what this is!
10. You get to serve on a team.
You don’t go to summer training with hundreds of other missionaries and then get sent off somewhere by yourself to try and be a missionary. Having a team for support is a good thing! FOCUS also has other forms of accountability and encouragement–for example, everyone on staff has a mentor or accountability partner that they talk to every-other-week. So, you’re not left alone on this fun, though frequently challenging, mission.
11. Jesus probably wants you to.
Enough said there. How could you say, “No, thanks.” to Jesus?
12. Live the adventure. Trust the way.
That’s the recruitment slogan for FOCUS. Don’t you want an adventure to live? I wanted an adventure, that’s why I became a missionary. Last year, a missionary said to me that so many people want to be a missionary (or work for the Church) after graduation because they want to “give back.” And, while that’s good, the reason people should want to be missionaries is because it’s a great adventure. Now I know from personal experience, it is!
13. Infinite wedding invites…who doesn’t love a good party?
Join FOCUS staff and your friends will grow exponentially. Between ages 24-26 the number of weddings you’re invited to grows from only-your-cousins-weddings to your-old-friends-from-high-school and maybe some college friends. You just start getting older so you know more people getting married. But, then you become a missionary. Not only do you meet a ton of people who are also missionaries****, you go to a campus and form close friendships with a bunch of students on campus. Let’s just say every day in FOCUS is a day closer to many more epic weddings.
14.There is no juice.
Yeah, can you believe it? There isn’t actually any “juice” they make you drink to love the mission of FOCUS. I realized that during our last class at New Staff Training last July. The speaker was talking about staff retention (among other things) and my friend Mary leaned over and wrote, “Where else would we go?” on my notebook. She meant, “We have the best job ever. Why would we leave FOCUS? I can’t imagine another place I’d rather work!” So, happily there is no juice, just a bunch of young Catholics on fire to share their faith with students all over America!
Now that you’ve read the list, head to the website to apply!
*If you read Chris’s list and cross-check you may, admittedly, find some some doubles (or almost doubles). If you think that’s a copout because I couldn’t come up with 14 unique reasons to become a mish, you’re wrong. Challenge me to it and I can give you plenty more unique reasons. I just thought some of his reasons were so legit they were worth mentioning again.
**All the “raise” business is, of course, within reason. There are salary caps and the like. But, FOCUS does a good job of teaching responsibility with money (Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover is actually on the first-year reading list)! I don’t mean to imply that FOCUS encourages greediness or selfishness with money…cause, of course, they don’t!
***Obviously there will be challenges in navigating a new situation like Med School or your new job. But, let’s just say you’re better trained than a large majority of other young Christians who want to share their faith with their classmates/coworkers.
****Don’t worry, if you become a missionary you’re not obligated to invite the hundreds of other missionaries to your wedding. But, you will certainly develop close friendships with plenty of other missionaries that you’ll want to invite to your wedding!