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FOCUS Profile: Andrew Gogl Helps Others Imitate Jesus

By Maria Servold

FOCUS Profile: Andrew Gogl Helps Others Imitate Jesus

When Andrew Gogl first met a missionary from the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, he was not actively pursuing his Catholic faith.

A junior at Eastern Washington University at the time, he had grown up in a home with devout Catholic parents, but had drifted away from the faith during his first two years of college, he said. 

“I thought, ‘maybe I should try this church thing out and see what happens,’” he said. “That’s when a FOCUS missionary walked into my life. It was perfect timing.”

The missionary showed him how the Catholic faith can be a normal part of life.

“I wanted to imitate all that he did,” he said.

Gogl became a FOCUS missionary himself and has served for three years on college campuses, first in Colorado, and now at the University of Idaho.

That idea of imitation is now something Gogl carries forward to those he accompanies on the journey to relationship with Jesus. He said imitation of Christ is the definition of discipleship. 

“I want you to imitate Jesus in all you do, and I want to teach others how to imitate him as well,” he said. “Imitation is the root to the heart of discipleship; all flows out of that imitation of Jesus.”

As a missionary on the University of Idaho campus, Gogl meets students and builds relationships with them. He also serves on the campus ministry staff. In his few years in service, Gogl said he’s been blessed to see six or seven students he’s worked with join the Catholic church. He has also been blessed to be able to get married and have two children while serving as a missionary.

Serving as a missionary has changed Gogl’s relationship with Jesus in three ways, he said. First, it has helped him to own the faith. Rather than being just “my parents’ faith,” he said he now sees the Catholic faith as the fulfillment of a personal relationship with Jesus. 

Second, he has learned better how to pray and engage in an interior life of prayer every day. 

“Someone may say, ‘pray for a half an hour every day,’” he said. “What if we’ve never been taught to pray?”

Finally, FOCUS has helped Gogl learn how to share his faith in a practical way. On a college campus, he said, belief among students ranges from faithful Christianity to none at all. Knowing how to walk with all of them toward Jesus is a challenge, but one he’s up to.