This is why we do what we do. (Guest Post: Julie Bushaw)

I had the awesome opportunity to tag along on an NAU hiking trip to Sedona, AZ with around 60 other students.

Taking a break from cliff jumping, rock climbing, and swimming I was able to sit down with a girl named Bre.  She started explaining to me that she was applying to go to school for a year to earn a degree in life-long ministry.  She felt God’s call to apply and hopefully be able to do His work in impoverished countries.

I was excited to meet another missionary and started to explain the work I do with FOCUS.  She asked me a lot of questions about the mission and my Catholic faith and finally thanked me for the work we were doing.  She ended by saying that she hasn’t met many Catholics who actually practice their faith.

I told her that is exactly why I do the work I do, and exactly why FOCUS exists.

I was so thankful to have met her and have the opportunity to reflect on the reason the Lord has called me to this mission.


Julie is a first year FOCUS missionary from Grand Forks, North Dakota. She graduated with her degree in Elementary Education from the University of South Dakota. 


This is Convicting

Here is a video of a gentleman that we had the privilege to work with this year. His story is similar to many that we were able to work with at the University of South Dakota. My teammates put some videos of our students together, and I’m so glad they did. When I’m not on campus, it reminds me that our work does not only touch lives, but changes lives.

This fundraising is worth it. This big move to Arizona is worth it. I’ll let Greg (in the video) tell you why.

(There are more videos of other students on this YouTube Channel: usdnewmanfocus)

So, I (thought I) had a bad day

To be totally blunt, I’m not in the mood to update this blog. By the time I sit down at the end of the day I have become unenthused, ungrateful and frankly kind of dramatic. I’ve really been focusing on the difficulties involved in a summer of fundraising, rather than the blessings.

Some nights I convince myself that everyone disproves of our family’s choice to continue in our mission work with FOCUS. Other nights I’m just so certain that the people I’ve called that day (to ask for financial support) have a dart board with my picture on it hanging right by their phone (as if many people really have wall mounted phones anymore). Of course, I know these scenes are all lies the devil places in my tired brain, but instead of acknowledging that fact, and turning to Jesus, I’ve been picking up the remote. Rather let CNN or HGTV distract me then give God ten minutes to hold me. (You know, because seeing some people obsess over their lack of granite countertops and others wonder why our country has so many problems, is so uplifting.)

Dumb, I know. But, hey, I’m just being honest.

What’s so infuriating to me is that I can’t make sense of how I could end my days spent with my spirited husband and beautiful charmer of a son with a “woe is me” attitude. The whole situation feels quite illogical.

So, I’m going back to a basic suggestion from a friend and mentor of mine: End my day by writing out ten very specific things I’m grateful for from the day.

I don’t have to explain why this helps. It’s fairly obvious why somewhat forcing myself to write down gifts I’ve been given today changes my inner conversation with God. My side of the conversation transforms from seriously God, give me a freaking break to (in my case) a silent and humble mental wow followed by an embarrassed smile.

I guess I forgot about that eye doctor and his wife who bent over backwards to encourage us the other night, or those hundreds of families who support what we do, and that husband of mine who brought home those sandals I’ve been eyeing, and of course that healthy kid who looks like me and smiles like his father.

Funny how reality is less depressing then we are tempted to think.

Praise God.

Why We Are Saying Goodbye, Again

Yesterday was the end of FOCUS New Staff Training, and this morning held the last of this year’s final goodbyes.

I’m really bad at goodbyes. Any of my college friends could tell you how terrible I am at expressing any kind of sorrow during a “so long.” It’s usually because I don’t experience much pain in the moment of a goodbye. I know I’ll miss that friend, of course I will, but it doesn’t hit me then.

Well…to be honest, it hit me this morning.

I don’t to say mean that I finally had a teary departure, because I didn’t. However, at 6 am this morning, I felt the weight of saying goodbye more than usual. Desi, my disciple from last year (and Georgie’s babysitter this summer) crawled into bed to wake me up before she left. For some reason my heart broke for all the people I love. It was like I was back in my dorm at Benedictine when my friend and disciple Marga was packing her things. Man, how hard that good bye was. Then, I remembered Allie and Hollyn, Abby, Marnee and Liz. Even those I was going to see in a few days (My family, Josh’s family, Sara, Brittany and Em) came to mind as I realized I would be leaving them shortly too.

Thankfully this sorrow was soon followed by conviction. This is what heaven will be for. In heaven we can stay. We can be all together. Now, now we have to go. We are called to go out.

“To the extent that we nourish ourselves on Christ and are in love with him, we feel within us the incentive to bring others to him: Indeed, we cannot keep the joy of the faith to ourselves; we must pass it on.”
– Pope Benedict XVI, Papal Address to Rome Diocesan Congress, June 23, 2006

To all I just left, will leave, or have left in the past: I love you dearly, and I hope to spend eternity with you. We just can’t be together now because we have to bring Jesus to others.

(Desi and Georgie)


(Me and Marnee. She was my mentor who has now left her family and friends to become a Servadora in Washington D.C.)