Amanda McGowan

Hometown: Friendswood, TX

Education: B.A. in Communication with a concentration in Leadership and Conflict Management and a minor in Religious Studies from Texas A&M University

Ministry at Ablaze: Fundraising

Ministry Background: I went on AYC (Galveston-Houston Archdiocesan Youth Conference) as my first retreat the summer after 9th grade. By the end of that retreat, I was so inspired that I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life bringing that to others. Throughout high school, I took up every opportunity to be mentored by my youth ministers and served in many varying volunteer catechist roles.

In college, I took a step back from youth ministry to take advantage of every opportunity I could during my limited time at St. Mary’s Catholic Center. After graduation I served for two years at St. Mark in Argyle, TX as the Director of Middle School Youth Ministry. After Hurricane Harvey God put a tug in my heart to return home to Houston where I served as a missionary with Adore Ministries in a Harvey affected parish 20 minutes down the road from my hometown.

Passions and interests: I’m up for anything. I love meeting people and learning about what draws people into their varying hobbies even if it’s not my cup of tea. I love spending time with my dog Rosie and training her to do new tricks. Having adopted her on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe she’s named after the roses that surrounded Mary.

How did you become involved with Ablaze/why are you involved? My first encounter with Ablaze was in the summer of 2012 when two of my high school friends had just come home from serving on NET. When asked at a party what they were doing next they told me about this guy Matt Rice and this vision he had for Ablaze (at the time known as CCFM). Since then I have always been closely connected with those at Ablaze. In college, I even volunteered for a couple of their events. Over the years my friends would often ask me to apply but for various reasons, the timing was never quite right for me to join full-time and at times I even told God “no never”. After a lot of encouragement from friends Dylan Browning and Mckenzie Dao, I finally decided I would at least go through the application process to learn more. Throughout my discernment, God reminded me of the vision I had for the type of youth minister He was calling me to be back at my very first retreat and it became clear that He had been preparing me through my various experiences to eventually make my way to Ablaze.

Favorite quotes and Bible Verses:

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. -Psalm 37:4

Everybody is a genius but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.

 -Albert Einstein

From my point of view, God is the light that illuminates the darkness, even if it does not dissolve it, and a spark of divine light is within each of us. -Pope Francis