How Do You Become a Life Changer?

“You get to mentor Shelby! She is a ROCKSTAR!”

Sweet. Awesome. Brilliant.

Week 1:

“Hey, Shelby! When are you free this week to meet for mentorship?”


Week 2:

“Shelby! Can’t wait to meet you! I’ve heard such good things! Wanna meet this week??”


Week 4:

“Shelby! So sorry that bible study time didn’t work!! Let’s get together soon though! This week? I’d love to meet you!!”


Emily’s thoughts:

“She hates me. Good. Great. Shoot. Way to go, Em. New York is LOVIN you.”

*The next day*

I get a text from Shelby, “Hi. I’m going to come to 5:30 mass today. Maybe I’ll see you?”

WHAT. The first lesson I learned from Shelby…. Our Lord is in control. Not me. It’s NEVER me.

She showed up at mass and tapped me on the shoulder. “Hey, I really need to go to confession… Can you tell the priest to go back in the confessional? I really need to go before mass.”

I remember thinking, “Heck YA I will!” I ran to tell Father and then all was well. She went to confession, stayed for mass, we quickly hugged and I had to run to the next thing. But I knew this meeting was important, so I got serious for the first time on my New York adventure, and told her that I thought we needed to sit down and really get to know each other. There was a reason that it had taken us so long to meet, and that reason was not of God.

We met up a few nights later and I honestly had one of my FIRST best nights in NYC. She was an RA, so we met to hang out around her dorm, and it was the first time I felt pulled to be really REAL with someone. I told her my whole story, I didn’t leave anything out. This girl had such a beautiful heart and I felt the Lord really telling me to be vulnerable.

Out of nowhere, I brought up the story of my first confession after my reversion to the faith. I hadn’t told any New Yorkers this story yet, mainly because of fear. I didn’t know what they would think. Isn’t it the WORST when the fear of “what others think” keeps us from being our true selves? Shelby also taught me how to kick this fear in the face.

After I shared my crazy, embarrassing story about confession (ask me in person), she just stared at me….. I thought, “Crap… her respect for me just flew out the window!” But then she got quiet and said, “Emily… that mass the other day… when I told you to get the priest… that was my first confession in 6 years. Once I became a student leader, everyone just expected me to be all set in that department. I’ve been really afraid to tell anyone the truth… But.. can you help me? I don’t know how to do it, and I think I did it all wrong…”

That was probably the first moment in NYC that the Lord spoke directly to my heart. I finally felt a little bit at home after hearing Shelby’s vulnerability and her desire to be all the Lord was calling her to be, despite the obstacles that had been put in her way. She was such a beautiful witness for me in that moment, and I will be forever grateful for all she continued to teach me this year. Together, we truly lived the gospel. And we fought for it. It wasn’t easy to meet, it wasn’t easy to open up, it wasn’t easy to go to confession, or to admit the ways in which we were failing or the ways in which we needed help… But when you begin fighting for things that are above yourself, the fight becomes WORTH IT. And the Lord will reward you. I gained a life changing friend.

And now, I have a huge favor to ask. Can you help me change HER life?

Shelby IS a rockstar, and this summer she is coming with me on a mission trip to Haiti. Originally, another student had signed up but dropped out at the last minute. Shelby felt a pull on her heart, and she said yes to taking the empty spot. She is now working to fundraise the trip with only one month to fundraise 2,000 dollars. She is full of faith that she is supposed to go on this mission and we are racing around to find a way to get her there. If you are at all moved by this story, I would be personally honored if you prayed about donating to her trip. This girl has changed lives. She is changing lives. And she WILL change lives in the future. But with this trip, I think the Lord wants to change hers.

Thank you all for reading this! Below is the link to her fundraising page!! I love you all and I’m praying for you!



The People You Will Meet

“In friendship…we think we have chosen our peers. In reality a few years’ difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another…the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting–any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” can truly say to every group of Christian friends, “Ye have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another.” The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.” 
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

I still remember sitting in the chapel at UNL praying for a GIANT sign from the Lord that I was supposed to say no to grad school and continue with FOCUS. “ANYTHING. Please. Just slam a door in yo girl’s FACE! PLEASE.” That’s what a majority of the conversation was. (Correct, I say things like, “yo” to our Lord and Savior. He accepts me as I am.) Anyway. I didn’t get any fireworks in the air, there were no roses, or special deliveries full of the answer. But once I surrendered everything I had left to him in prayer, he did make it clear.

“Think of the people you will meet. The people that I want to place in your life this next year… they are why.”

By the end of my holy hour, I was filled with a deep peace. I was full of gratitude for my year as a missionary at UNL and all of the amazing people I met and had the opportunity to mentor. And also full of gratitude for the people I was about to meet. The people I couldn’t imagine could be any better than those He had already graced me with.

I remember thinking, “Lord, all I have to do is send a ‘Yes’ in an email and I’m off to England for school. I’m so dang close.” It’s like I was about to take the token leap of faith, and then the Lord turned my head to the right and I saw a crowd of people in the other direction. People whom He had placed there. Strangers that, I knew deep in my heart, would be so very important to me.

I had no CLUE what I was doing when I finally said yes to FOCUS. To be honest, when they told me NYU, I just prayed they (missionaries included) wouldn’t think I was insane. (Which turned out to be only half answered… :))

However, with each new person I met, I was humbly reminded that I came an email away from NEVER meeting them. Never laughing with them, learning from them, crying with them, praying with them, loving them, or receiving their love in return. That sounds extremely cheesy, but gosh is was one of the biggest gifts I was granted this year. I can’t imagine my life now without these people. And I thank God every day for giving me the courage to continue with FOCUS.

If I met you this year, PRAISE GOD. You are so very important to me, and I don’t take our friendship lightly. Thank you for all the ways in which you have inspired me and taught me how to be a better person. I am in awe of how good God is, to have given me the opportunity to meet you, and call you my friend.

*To all of the students and new friends at NYU, what a blessing you are. I cannot explain how much you’ve done for me this year. From how to ride the subway, to how to hear God in the city, you have left me in awe by your strength, humility, and desire to know our Lord. And a special shout out to my senior ladies, talk about STRENGTH! I love you all and I wish more than anything I could be there for your graduation! You go, Glen Cocos.

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To my team and all my missionary frands! Can you believe we almost didn’t meet!? WHAT! I honestly cannot express how lucky I am to know all of you. From training, to campus, to the Culture Project in between! What amazing people you are. How beautiful is it when just a years friendship can feel like much, much longer than that. Thank you for the encouragement, for the shared stories, for your passion, and for your vulnerability.


Friends, I just met you and this is CRAZY, but here’s my gratitude, (you’ve changed my life)- there is no “maybe”.

I hope, if anything, I’ve brought a unique sense of humor to your lives. 🙂

Love you all!!