Carrie Schmidt

I am happy to be returning to CMU for my third year as a FOCUS missionary and second year as Team Director. I am from the great state of Minnesota, so don’t be caught off guard if you catch me saying “oofta” every once in a while! I graduated college in 2014 from St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota with a nursing degree and before becoming a missionary, I worked as a RN on an acute care mental health unit for a year. I love anything that involves coffee or ice cream. Being around little kids gives me more energy than taking a nice afternoon nap.

Favorite Saint: St. Therese of Lisieux: She inspires me to strive to be more holy by doing small things with a great amount of love. I am amazed by her desire to love God more than He has ever been loved before. The image painted in my head, by St. Therese, of God extending His arm to carry little trusting souls who are striving for holiness to Heaven makes my heart rejoice.

Favorite Bible Verse: “Blessed is she who believed that what was spoken to her by the Lord would be fulfilled” (Luke 1:45). Mary is an example of perfect confidence and trust in the Lord, something I am always striving to grow in. This verse reminds me to have faith, like Mary, that God can do all things, even those that seem impossible. Mary wins our heart and leads us to her son in order to heal us of any distrust we have of the Lord. My prayer for our campus this year is that Mary take each of our hands and lead us to the fountain of God’s mercy to trust in Him and rest in His loving embrace.

Awareness of God’s Presence: I see God’s presence as He speaks to me through Scripture and in the Mass, in little kids, being by a lake or an ocean, and interactions with people He puts in my path each day.

Andrew and Sarah Farnsworth

We are third year missionaries, having previously served at Wright State in Dayton, Ohio. Andy is from Montrose, Iowa and studied community development at the University of Iowa. Sarah is a native of Michigan from Ypsilanti and studied education at Eastern Michigan University and taught high school biology and chemistry before going on mission with FOCUS. We have a one year old named Cecilia; she’s a blast!

Favorite Saint: Andy’s is St. Vincent De Paul because of his life of radical service to the poor. Also, he was kidnapped by pirates and sold as a slave in a foreign country. His captors were so moved by his Christian hymns they became Christians and set him free. Sarah’s is Saint Mother Teresa because of her amazing humility, despite the fact that the entire world saw her as an incredible leader in the faith and symbol of compassion for the poorest of the poor. I admire how bravery and humility as she stood up for the unborn and spoke very publicly about one of the greatest crises of our time: abortion. I am inspired by her intense faith, her call to found the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, and her devotion to the St. Mary.

Favorite Bible Verse: Andy’s is Romans 8:28: “All things work for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose” because of the peace that comes from knowing God can bring good out of anything. Sarah’s is Phil. 4:4-7: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice. Let all men know your forbearance. The Lord is at hand. Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” This verse is so dear to me. My mom used to say this before we went to bed. Whenever I feel anxious, I cling to this prayer and it gives me peace and reminds me that God’s hand is in every aspect of my life, and He desires for me to be joyful and content, resting in His peace.

Awareness of God’s Presence: When you have a very specific calling to do something; in the peace that comes from knowing that you are doing God’s will, even when the task is challenging; in each other as husband and wife; in the generosity of the faithful; and through serving others and allowing them to help us in our times of weakness.

Daniel Rhoda

I was born and raised in Minnesota, I went to college at the University of Minnesota Duluth, and graduated in the fall of 2015 with a degree in Organizational Management. I love the outdoors, playing sports, watching movies, and spending time with loved ones. I try to not take life too seriously (I made a major life decision and changed my major after I watched the movie Moneyball), no matter how hard I try I cannot multitask (just ask anyone), and I would say my best trait is my charming personality.

Favorite Saint: St. Maximillian Kolbe because he gave God everything that he had. He heroically died in the place of a stranger in Auschwitz during WWII. St. Pope John Paul II called him a “martyr of love” and he continues to inspire me.

Favorite Bible Verse: 1 Timothy 6:7: “For we brought nothing into the world, just as we shall not be able to take anything out of it.” This verse reminds me what our purpose is here on earth and to fight against the many wants of this material world.

Awareness of God’s Presence: I see God’s presence in my family, in nature, and as weird as it may be: The Lord of The Rings soundtrack; it just gets to me, every time.

Megan Carlson

I am a second year missionary who served at the University of Minnesota Duluth during my first year. I am from southern Minnesota and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences at Drake University in the spring of 2016. Some of my favorite things include Minnesota, colorful socks, and cross stitching (I’m even working on cross stitching the Last Supper!).

Favorite Saint: St. Rose of Lima is my favorite saint because of her faith and extreme commitment to grow in holiness. The sacrifices she made to grow closer to God are crazy and inspire me to do more to grow in my own faith. I chose her to be my Confirmation name, but I’m pretty sure she chose me.

Favorite Bible Verse: Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know well the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe, plans to give you a future full of hope” because it’s a great reminder that God has a plan for my life and that that I need to say yes and follow Him.

Awareness of God’s Presence: I see God’s presence in Mass and the sacraments, in nature, in the people I encounter, and sometimes in those little silent moments where I wouldn’t expect Him to be present.