Students' experiences at FOCUS SLS Conference

 “Jesus spoke to me during Adoration in a profound way reaffirming my vocation to priesthood. I want to help my distant family come back to the Church.” 

“I learned I must trust in Jesus because he is what gets work, done not me. It gave me confidence to bring God into my friends’ lives, even if they think they don’t want Him. This weekend Jesus did a whole lot. I came into this thinking it would be happy and everything would just be affirmed. Throughout the week however, I ended up thinking about just everything. In the end, Jesus really used the time  to tell  me to take a deep breath, trust Him, and stop taking on the suffering of others. He showed me if I set my eyes on Him  and keep them there, it’s all just going to fall into place.” - Amy 

“Before SLS, I had a lot of anger in my heart about God. Spiritual desolation! I was trying to read the Bible, sit in church and pray and nothing would happen. I had very low confidence in myself, I was always comparing myself to others. This continued in the first couple days of the conference. My group members were so good with their words and so on fire with their faith. I felt like there were so many people that could be better at discipling  others, I was not good enough or worthy  enough.  One girl  said to me: ‘Our spiritual life is like a well. At times it is filled with nourishing water. At other times it runs dry. It is a continuous cycle between being filled or dried. Whenever our well dries up or we have a dry prayer life or even a dry relationship with God, it is not always due to the devil. At these times it is a direct invitation  to dig deeper into the well. The deeper you dig, the closer you are to more water. You will reach that water again.’

After hearing this, Sr. Bethany Madonna taught us that we just need to allow God to love us where we are at. That entire day I could feel God and the devil fighting  for my heart. I could feel them fighting because I was being torn in so many directions that day and I was in constant tears. At adoration, for the first time ever, I allowed  Jesus to love me. He kicked the devil out of my heat and started to pour His love on me. I realized that there is no reason to do things perfectly because Jesus loves me as I am. I don’t  have to evangelize perfectly  because it isn’t about me, it is about sharing Christ. As soon as I realized that it should  never be about  me and that Jesus loves me, everything changed. God revealed so much to me on this trip  because I opened myself to Him. It was amazing!” -Alexa 

“So that was awesome. Honestly,  too many things to share so if you want to know more, just ask. Things that were awesome: 1. Being surrounded  by other student leaders. 2. Being alone with Christ.  3. Amazing new friends. 4. Just a new fire for evangelization! I need to journal about everything but I’ll make y’all  a copy.” -Eric Zimmerman

“Discipleship was something I didn’t fully understand before SLS. Reading the road map, I realized I was out there trying to be a disciple maker, but hadn’t grown yet as a disciple myself. I had not a tool in my toolbox, yet I was trying to throw everything I had at converting  my brothers in PKT. The book has a compare/contrast  diagram on growing vs. commissioned  disciples. Realizing that I needed only to have a heart for helping people rather than telling God how I was going to change those around me overpowered me. The next two days I gained all these tools for my tool box, realized how my Bible study can be better, how I can enter that with humility  and reaffirmed this in confession, and finally found out how people can love so much. Intercessory  prayer and the spiritual multiplication depth chart. I came in trying to find out how I can be spiritual chair for PKT but realized God just wanted me to find myself, and be that authentic Catholic the word is waiting to meet.” -Ben 

“There  is no part way. Good is not enough. We have to be all in. 100%. #holdingnothingback #livelikeIknowChrist

“SLS taught me that love is a choice. Even through desolation or trials, I can choose God. Even if I don’t feel Him, I can love Him.  God has proven  His love for me and how beautiful it is that I get the chance to prove it in return.” -Marie Foley

“Going  on SLS was an awesome experience for me. I feel like  I’ve come away from the conference with a much better understanding of how to evangelize and I think that I have more confidence when it comes to teaching others. SLS also reaffirmed my belief that fighting  for souls is absolutely the most important mission  that we have and that it is something I need to think and pray about more seriously to discern where my place is in it.” -Rachel 

“SLS changed the way I look at my Catholic Faith and my mission within my relationship with Christ. It has given me more clarity  on God’s will  for me.”  -Canon

“For  the first time this week I was able to surrender the need to have control over my life. I gave it to Jesus to fulfill His plan for me. Whenever I thought about letting go before I always thought, ‘But what if He leaves me hanging?  How do I know He’ll  show up and lead me?’ Then, at the concert, I sang the words ‘I know He holds my future  in His hands,’ from the song Because He Lives. Although I’ve sang that song so many times before, I really believed it that time. I can trust Him and His beautiful plan for my life because He lives.

“Got  fired up and feel ready to preach Jesus.” -Scott 

“I feel a lot better equipped to be a Catholic leader on campus. SLS really gives me a lot of hope at how young and alive the Church is! I was reminded of some really important truths like how incredibly powerful prayer is, that I myself  can’t  save anyone,  and to always keep your focus on eternity. All of that brings a lot of peace. I met some AMAZING people in small groups and sessions and even just walking around. Jesus definitely gave me peace, joy, and hope, and I feel newly inspired, empowered, and motivated to go make disciples.”

“Jesus helped me to know Him on a much  deeper  level.  I was inspired to give absolutely all that I can to serve Him, and He reassured me of my call to love Him through others. Christ introduced  me to two young ladies from Texas who were scared for their campus and the future of the Catholic Faith. This conference brought  them so much hope, and it was beautiful to witness that hope alive in their hearts. I was privileged to be journeying  along with so many others.” -Isaiah