Friends! I would like you to meet my friends Katie Rinehart and Jake Huber!! They recently launched a blog: This Is Us (Katie + Jake). This handsome couple serve on separate campuses as FOCUS missionaries. Here's a little bit about their story, long-distance relationships... and fasting!
Please keep these two and all of the FOCUS missionaries in your prayers!
The Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) asks all first year missionaries to fast from romantic relationships for a year. However, because we started dating before our first year in FOCUS, it looks a little bit different for us. We take a significant step back from communication, which looks like: talking twice a week (3 hours total), writing letters, not texting (CRAZY RIGHHTT?!?!) seeing each other twice a semester, and crying a ton.
FOCUS doesn’t ask its missionaries to fast from dating because dating in and of itself is bad, but rather FOCUS challenges us in the fast because if we are not careful, dating can become something we just have to have in order to be happy.
The World: “Why would you ever want to do a dating fast?…”
Jake: The dating fast has easily been the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. However, the suffering and sacrifice that comes with the fast has drawn me into a deeper relationship with Christ. In the beginning when we were starting to implement the fast, I was losing my mind. The woman that I had spent every day with for the past six months was now 1,211 miles away from me, and I couldn’t do anything about it. All I could think about was, “Jesus what the heck is going on? Are you fighting for this relationship like I am? I am freaking out.” At this point, I didn’t understand the graces that were in store for me. I clearly felt called to FOCUS, and I trusted in that, but I wasn’t trusting in Jesus with the biggest desire in my heart…Katie.
Katie: The hardest part for me starting the fast was constantly trying to almost prove to others around us that Jake and I’s relationship was good, ‘holy’, and that we didn’t need a fast. I think I felt we were above it and no part of me wanted to do it for a year. However, it was through another FOCUS missionary, Katie Pestka that God started to soften my heart and convict me towards the goodness of the dating fast. I vividly remember Katie asking me one day, what is the purpose of my life? I answered, the purpose of my life was to find and follow God’s will and to find happiness through that. She then shared with me something that I always want to remember:
As women, we dream of finding our future husbands and then and only then will we be completely happy and satisfied. But the purpose of our life doesn’t end when finding our vocation; it’s our vocation that sanctifies us and leads us to the real purpose of our lives…eternal life with our Father.
Jake: In Fr. Jacques Philippe’s, Searching for and Maintaining Peace he states that, “the measure of our interior peace will be that of our abandonment.” Looking back now, my biggest struggle with the dating fast has been detaching from all of my greatest desires and allowing Jesus to do His thing. Sometimes the Devil forces us to believe that if we give everything to God, that it will be destroyed. This couldn’t be further from the truth. “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 16:25). I have experienced an immense amount of joy in taking everything to Christ before taking them to Katie. Our Heavenly Father knows and loves Katie so much more than I am able to … so of course I am going to seek His advice! As I pour myself into the Father, He pours into me, and leads me in pouring that love into my relationship with Katie.
Katie: ^Wow I’m so in love. Similarly to Jake, I’ve found that by not having the option of contacting Jake right as something amazing or crappy happens in my day, it has retrained my heart and mind to tell Jesus first and then eventually tell Jake. And this is where our vocations should always be!
A past FOCUS missionary, Claire Swinarski was giving me advice about the dating fast before we started and said that her and her now husband picked a patron Saint to pray to throughout the fast, especially when they missed each other. We absolutely loved this idea, so we hit up St. Joseph because he played a such a huge role in bringing us together. We set an alarm on our phones that goes off every night at 10 p.m. and we stop whatever we are doing and pray to St. Joseph. If we happen to be with people during this time we invite them to pray along with us. It’s been so beautiful because even though we aren’t together, we know that every night we pray at the same time and are connected through prayer. This fast has been the reason for a lot of tears and late night Taco Bell visits, but it’s also been the reason for me falling more in love with Christ and in turn being able to love Jake more purely. Sometimes it’s the things we dread the most and cause us the most pain that ultimately lead us to the most joy.
Jake and Katie: We love Jesus, this fast and each other! We want to take advantage of all this dating fast has to offer, so that being said, we will be waiting until it’s over to continue our blog together. T-minus 2 months (but who’s counting?!) Stay tuned to hear what’s next!
Reet and Deet,
Katie and Jake
Katie Rinehart + Jake Hubert serve as Midwestern consultants for AskAuntKatie.com. Katie R. is originally from Clive, Iowa. Indicative of her patience and perseverance Katie once waited 10 hours to sing for 30 seconds at an American Idol audition. Jake hails from St. Louis, Missouri, and he once ate 5 hot dogs in one sitting. Both graduated from the University of Missouri Columbia (Mizzou) and serve as missionaries for the Fellowship of Catholic University Students.