January 18, 2019

Encounter with Christ leads woman to offer that gift to other young adults

By John Shaughnessy

Missy BrassieTears filled Missy Brassie’s eyes as she talked about the most emotional part of the five-day conference involving more than 17,000 young adult Catholics from around the world.

It happened again on the evening of Jan. 5 in a massive exhibit hall of the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis for the participants of SEEK2019, the conference established to give its participants the opportunity to deepen their personal encounter with Jesus Christ.

“All of these people coming together for eucharistic adoration is the best part of the conference,” said Brassie, 31, a resident of Denver who returned to her hometown of Indianapolis for the conference.

“Surrounded by thousands of their peers during adoration, they feel that they’re not alone in their faith, and they feel that they’re personally spoken to by the Lord. People say that everyone around them disappears. It’s just Jesus and that person in that moment.”

Brassie had that experience again at this year’s SEEK conference, which is organized by FOCUS—Fellowship of Catholic University Students—the organization that seeks to “share the hope and joy of the Gospel” with college students and other young adults.

“My relationship with Jesus is always deepened here,” Brassie said about the conference, which she has attended eight times. “Even though I’ve been to so many conferences, there is always something that renews me.”

For the past seven years, Brassie has served as a missionary for FOCUS, striving to bring college students to a deeper relationship with God in such places as the University of Illinois, Texas A&M University and Ave Maria University in Florida—and also in her current work at FOCUS headquarters in Denver.

Her role as one of the nearly 700 missionaries in 159 locations around the world has led her to interactions with a wide range of people, from international students who have no knowledge of Jesus to lifelong Catholics seeking to become closer to him. No matter their background, her conversations involve asking people two defining questions.

“I say, ‘Do you know that God loves you? Do you know he has a plan for you?’

“Our conversations go from the basic level to deep discussions. That has been really cool. I don’t have to have all the answers because Jesus loves them.”

Brassie knows that love in her own life. The 2005 graduate of Roncalli High School in Indianapolis said she had “a pretty strong faith life in high school,” but it wasn’t a primary focus during college until she studied abroad in Sydney, Australia, in 2007.

“It was the year before World Youth Day was held there in 2008. I had an encounter with the World Youth Day cross that travels around the world. Seeing that cross, I realized that God cares about me personally. It was the first time I felt he found me or I found him.

“My life has never been the same. That was the day I gave Jesus my heart and let him make me what he wants me to be.”

Now, the former member of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis works to help other young adults experience that same relationship with Christ.

“He really provides and intervenes in our lives in ways that mean so much to us.” †


Related story: Young adults embrace opportunity to deepen faith at SEEK2019

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