Tomas’ Story

I grew up in Wichita, Kansas. I was raised by a single mother and a father who only came around when he chose to, and most times when he was around it wasn’t a safe situation for my mom. My dad was in and out of jail and then decided to go back to Mexico, and my mom had to work multiple jobs to make sure that my little sister and I had what we needed. Soon after my younger brother came along, we found ourselves in foster care for about a year. After that year, we were reunited with my mom, and shortly after, my youngest sister was born.

I was baptized into the Catholic Church when I was five and I received my First Communion when I was 15, but it was mostly because of tradition, rather than my own choice.

Fast forward to my teen years: I got into drugs, alcohol, and some gang-related activities. I was hanging out with the completely wrong people. Cue Vagabond Missions. Vagabond had only been in my city for two years, so the mission team was super small. However, by the grace of God, I met the male missionary working in Wichita. He invited my cousins and me to hang out and eat food at the Underground. At first, I saw it as a place to hang out with girls and meet up with my friends. However, I started going to Mass and Bible studies. Even though I wasn’t totally invested, the consistency and the love that came from those events were starting to change something inside of me.

The major turning point in my faith was when my cousin, who also attended Vagabond programs, was shot. We all went to visit him in the hospital and a missionary asked me to pray for my cousin. I remember feeling so torn; I felt angry because my cousin couldn’t see how his life could change, but I was also scared to take the leap myself. However, I continued to attend all of the Vagabond programs, and in the spring of 2018, I chose to get confirmed. This time, it wasn’t out of tradition, to make my grandma happy, or even for the Vagabond missionaries. It was totally and completely for me. I took the leap to follow Jesus and I have not looked back since.

After high school, I decided that I wanted to give other teens the same chance that I got to get out of the cycle that we are in when we live in the inner city. I chose to dedicate my life radically to God by becoming a Vagabond missionary. Through Vagabond, I have received so much healing of my past and also have been able to bring other teens closer to Christ. I absolutely love being able to serve God and also serve the struggling members of my own community.


Become a Missionary

Teens in the inner-city face a cycle of neglect, violence, and broken family life. This destructive environment has dire consequences for them and society. Vagabond Missions intervenes during this time of crisis by inviting them into a relationship with God and others. Through outreach and mentorship, teens experience hope for their lives and a place to call home.

We currently have 13 missions in nine cities: Baton Rouge, LA; Greenville, NC; Indianapolis, IN; Mobile, AL; Oklahoma City, OK; Philadelphia, PA; four sites in Pittsburgh, PA; Steubenville, OH; and two sites in Wichita, KS.

Join this life-changing mission and become a Vagabond missionary today.