Heeding His Voice — April 18, 2016

Heeding His Voice

Happy Easter!  Actually, Happy 4th Week of Easter!  Yesterday, we heard Jesus say, “My sheep hear My Voice; I know them, and they follow Me” (Jn 10:27).  The most important part about being a missionary is our own relationship with Jesus.  We cannot preach Him if we do not know Him, and we cannot adequately invite others into a relationship with Him if we do not love Him.

Part of loving the Lord is to do His Will.  Jesus says that, as His sheep, we will hear His Voice.  He has a plan for each of our lives, and He would not be a loving God if He did not let us in on that plan.  In order to hear His Voice, we need to spend time in quiet prayer and read the Scriptures.  

Shortly after arriving in the Phillipines in January, I begin to receive both in personal prayer and the Scriptures a consistent message: Return to your own land.  After this kept happening, I spoke about it with my team leader.  We were about to go on a team discernment retreat in regards to ministry for the year.  There, the Lord would reiterate going home over and over again.  I corresponded with those in leadership positions in FMC, and I proceeded to take more time to pray, offering up my Divine Mercy Novena for discernment. Jesus continued to speak clearly, and this coming Friday, April 22, I make my way back to the U.S. 

The word missionary comes from a Latin word which means “sent.”  The One we are sent by is Jesus.  He originally  sent out His disciples saying, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:19-20).  Pray for me please, as the nation He sends me to this time is my own.  

I have loved my time in the Philippines on Camiguin Island tremendously.  My time with the wonderful people here has been such an amazing blessing.  I have already begun the good bye’s, which is never an easy process.  And while it saddens my heart to leave this paradise of a place, the first love of my life is God, and I have to follow Him, wherever and however He should lead me. 

So…pray for me please!  I’m flying back to Louisiana, our FMC home base, to pray and discern what adventure the Lord has in store for me next.  I’ll be in touch with benefactors soon to explain what you can do, if you’d like to keep supporting the mission I’ve served at in the Philippines.  Amazing works that truly glorify God and help His people are being done here.  I am so grateful that I’ve been allowed to take part in it.  Thank you all for everything.  May God bless you.

“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and  I will hear you.  You will seek Me and find me; when you seek Me with all your heart, I will be found by you, says the Lord”(Jeremiah 29:11-14).

Jesus, I trust in You.

Saved by Fe — February 24, 2016

Saved by Fe

Saved by Faye

I’m from the East Coast. There we have eight deadly sins: the normal seven that the rest of the world has, but we also have another one: lateness.  

We pride ourselves on punctuality and efficiency. We follow schedules, and when we say 8 am, we really mean be there by 7:55 am. If you’re late, you miss the Metro, are given a tardy slip, left behind, or even fired. That’s the way it works.

Then I came to the Philippines, and not even just to the Philippines, but to a tiny tropical island in the Philippines. As a rule of thumb, nothing starts on time. If something was supposed to start at noon, and it begins at 12:58, people say,”Hey, it’s still in the noon hour.”  

Now Jesus has given this mid Atlantic girl a tremendous amount of grace to adjust to the loose concept of time that is present here. Most of the time, I just go with the flow. But one Sunday morning, I just couldn’t take it.

  Mass was supposed to start at 6:30 in the morning. It was almost 7 by the time it began, but first we had our own version of the World Day of the Sick so the actual Mass started around 7:30. I was hot, tired, and starting to feel hungry.

I looked around at the rest of the congregation. Didn’t anyone else care? Couldn’t Mass at least be on time? I could feel indignation surging through me. I started to pray, asking Jesus to help me not be so mad. I needed some divine intervention to help me regain some semblance of a Christian attitude.

Enter Fe.  

Fe and her brother Louie both suffer from cerebral palsy. She’s ten, and he’s fourteen. Neither one of them can talk, walk, or sit up straight. We’ve been helping their family with food, housing, and hospital and physical therapy trips. Both Fe and Louie, as well as all of our other hospital patients,were brought to this Mass for a special blessing.  

At a certain part of the Mass, Fe was carried over next to me. Now Fe has an amazing smile. With all that she has been through in life, she still smiles with all her might.  

And Jesus used that smile to change my heart.

My indignation, anger, and restlessness disappeared in a flash. I was so happy she was there next to me!

“Hi, Fe!” I whispered. Her smile grew even bigger. Much like a baby, Fe cannot use her neck muscles to support her head. I put my missal on my lap, and then adjusted Fe’s head so she could have a kind of pillow.  

As I stared at her, I was very much aware that Jesus was telling me that whatever I did for the least, I did for Him. I was really allowing Jesus to use my lap and missal as a pillow!

I went up to receive Holy Communion and then repositioned Fe’s head. It was amazing to have Jesus in the Eucharist inside me and to have Jesus in Fe in front of me. Time was no longer important. Jesus had used Fe to save me from myself.

The number of opportunities that I have to serve Jesus in the poor here are endless. From feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, visiting and helping the sick to praying with the dying and helping students, it’s really an amazing, blessed life. Thank you for your prayers and support that are really such an amazing difference in many lives, including my own.

And that annoyance with the lack of timeliness? Well, short of the grace of God, that will probably always be there. You can take a girl off the East Coast, but you can’t take the East Coast out of the girl. Besides, in Heaven, we’ll be outside of time anyway. The Philippines is good preparation…In more ways than one 😊
“Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” Matthews 25:40

At Fe and Louie’s house.  Fe is on the right.

Penguin — January 27, 2016


Our home!

Maayong buntag! Good morning! I have officially been in the Philippines for a week now! After four planes, countless time zone changes, and a trip over the International Dateline, my mission partner (Cassie) and I set foot on Camiguin Island.
It is incredibly beautiful here. The water ranges from a deep blue to a light green, with all shades in between. The volcanoes rise high in the middle of the island, covered with lush green plants and trees.
The people are very friendly and very curious. With my blonde hair and blue eyes, I easily stand out. The people are not afraid to stare, but they offer beautiful smiles and the English that they know.
The Lord has truly brought me to green pastures. I live in a nipa house. Made from bamboo, it is super cute, and it provides fine living arrangements for myself and mission team. I live with three other girls, and there are two missionary families that live on the island, as well.
The language is unlike anything that I’ve ever studied, but has a pretty singing quality to it, and the people appreciate it when I try to speak the little that I know.
In the midst of all this goodness, I find myself homesick. Sometimes it takes going to the other side of the world to realize just how much you appreciate the people back home. God has truly given me a wonderful family.
He is now increasing my family, by placing me amongst the people here. He is the giver of all good gifts, and He gives each one for a reason. Here is a story about a particular gift, Penguin.
Depending upon whether you ask me or my mother about Penguin’s origins, you’ll hear a different story. I thought I got him from a Kindergarten field trip to the Baltimore Zoo. My mother says my great aunt gave him to me. Regardless, Penguin has been around for 25 years now. He’s seen better days, as my old dog used to love to carry him around by the nose, and he’s also missing an eye.
Penguin has been living at my parents’ house for quite sometime. This past summer, he’s become a traveling companion of sorts, seeing as my parents are moving, and they couldn’t bear to throw him away. He’s become a world traveller and has been taking up residence in my suitcase. But last night, Penguin got a new lease on life and a time to shine.
Yesterday was the 10th birthday of a little boy named Reymart. Reymart didn’t get a new video game, new shoes, or Legos. Reymart has cerebral palsy and is blind. He is unable to walk or talk so all of the above mentioned gifts wouldn’t come in handy. Then the Holy Spirit gave me an idea-a stuffed animal! That would be a great gift for him, but I haven’t seen a single stuffed animal anywhere…except…aha! In my suitcase! Penguin!
Last night, I gave Penguin away. And, seeing as I’m homesick, it made me cry. Not that I’m particularly attached to him; it’s just more of what he represents. But long ago, that stuffed animal was given to me in love. Now it was my chance to give a gift of love away. In giving that gift, I think my heart found a bit of solace. Salamat sa Dios.

“Jesus said, ‘Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life (Mk 10:26).'”

Checklist/Recap — January 6, 2016


Three months of formation with Family Missions Company completed, including a month in Mexico…Check!

Officially commissioned as an FMC missionary, complete with a flash mob at the reception…Check!

Four wonderful weeks at home, celebrating Christmas with family and friends…Check!

Ringing in the New Year at the National Shrine in DC by celebrating the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God; walking through the Holy Door for the Year of Mercy; and praying at the side chapel of Our Lady, Queen of Missions…Check!

Mission appeal at St. Philip Neri, where I was received by wonderfully generous parishioners…Check!

Getting everything packed…not quite a check…

In two days, I head back to Big Woods. I am excited to see all my fellow missionaries and hear all the good things God has done in their lives over the past month.

In eleven days, I head out to the Philippines. I am excited to meet my new mission partners and my new Asian family. I can’t wait to hear all the good things God has done in their lives.

Jesus “was manifested in the flesh,

Justified in the Spirit,

Seen by angels,

Preached among the nations,

Believed on in the world,

Taken up in glory” 1 Timothy 3:16

Praise the Lord, all you nations! (EP 1, Epiphany)

Our Lady, Queen of Missions, pray for us!
First Newsletter! — August 17, 2015

First Newsletter!

Here is the newsletter that I recently sent out.  If you would like to receive future newsletters, please send me your address.  Thank you!

Dear Friends in Christ,
The peace of Jesus be with you!  Many of you may have heard the exciting news that God has called me to be a full-time foreign missionary with Family Missions Company.  I am incredibly excited!
When I was a little girl, I used to watch Touched By An Angel.  I wanted to be an angel when I grew up so I, too, could tell people that God loves them.  As I got older and realized humans do not turn into angels, I still had the desire to do something with my life.  At the age of seventeen, I went on a retreat where I discovered that the Eucharist is Jesus.  This amazing fact changed everything for me.  Every night before I went to sleep I would kneel down beside my bed and ask Jesus what I was supposed to do with my life.  One night He answered in a vivid dream that I was supposed to lead people to Him.
I studied at Mount Saint Mary’s University where I majored in Theology, desiring to spend my life as a missionary.  Upon graduation, God sent me to serve the beautiful people of the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota.  I would spend the next nine years of my life with the religious order I encountered there – the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (S.O.L.T.).  After four years of volunteering, I had discerned that God wanted me to enter religious life.  It was a good formative experience where I lived at various missions in New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado, and made awesome friends; but through prayer and life experiences, I realized that God was not calling me to take vows.  Specifically, I felt like the Holy Spirit wanted to me move in a different way when it came to missionary life.
A friend mentioned Family Missions Company (FMC) to me several years ago.  As I was leaving religious life, the name came back to me, and I googled them.  I saw that they were a lay Catholic missionary company with much experience in the field.  They proclaim the saving news of Jesus Christ to the poor in third world countries, as well as serving their temporal needs.  They truly put into action the Great Commission given to all of us by Jesus before He ascended into Heaven: “go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:19-20). (It just so happens that’s my favorite Scripture passage!) I fell in love with them, but I felt that God wanted me to return to the Turtle Mountains.
It been an amazing year as always here at St. Ann’s in North Dakota, but FMC just would not leave me alone.  With the help of amazingly generous benefactors, I was able to attend FMC’s annual missionary conference in Louisiana this past November.  I loved it!  Then, in February, I went back to Louisiana for an official “Come and See.”  After prayer, discernment, and many signs, I truly believe this is where God is calling me next.  I am amazed that He can fulfill every desire of that little girl’s heart who so wanted to be like an angel and tell the world that God loves them.
If you have ever read St. Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians, you will notice he writes a great deal about mission partnering.  Missionaries do not go into the field alone.  We need your help.  Prayer is so incredibly important.  Jesus tells us that if we pray and have faith we can move mountains.  There are over seven billion people in this world and less than a third believe in Jesus! If we truly believe in Jesus and love our fellow man, then we need to share the Gospel.  It is not Christian to keep the love of God to ourselves. I need your prayers as I live among the poor in such countries as China, the Philippines, India, Ecuador, Haiti, Peru, and Mexico. Some of the possible things I will be doing include Bible studies, home visitations, building houses, sacramental preparation, and just loving those who do not always receive love.
Another way to mission partner is by giving financially.  I will be needing around $15,500 for my first year in missions.  That is quite a lot, I know, but I am confident that if the King of the Universe wants me to do this, He will be able to make it happen. All of the money in the world belongs to Him; we are just stewards of His many gifts. This is the breakdown of the money situation:
Approximately $10,000 is for the regular amount that one is expected to raise for their first year in missions.  This goes towards training and living expenses in Louisiana for my three month training (Intake) beginning this September.  It also covers a three week mission trip in November to Mexico, airfare to the mission site to which I am assigned (I find this out in November in Mexico! I will let you know when I know!), language school, as well as monthly living expenses for a year.  I will be living on $300 a month because we live simply among the poor.  I will also be using some of your donations to help the poorest of the poor where I’ll be living.
A little over $4,000 will go towards my student loans.  I am almost done paying them off, but not quite! If you would like to donate towards my student loans, please contact me.
The rest of the money will go towards traveling to and from Louisiana, as well as back again as I fly out from Louisiana to Jesus’ first mission post for me.  We are also expected to have some spending money as we eat some meals on our own.
I am so excited to go on this next adventure to foreign mission, to follow Jesus to the ends of the earth to proclaim His Gospel message, but as you can see, I literally cannot do this without you.  Anything you can give is greatly appreciated, but what I need the most is monthly donations.  I have signed up for at least two years with FMC, and monthly donations provide sustained giving.  I am aiming for at least fifty monthly partners.  This counts toward your tithing, and donating to me through FMC is tax deductible.  If you could donate, $20, $40, $100, $200 or whatever a month, you will be eternally blessed.  I will send you updates from the mission field and let you know how your prayers and donations are changing lives.  I will also be praying for you and the prayer requests that you send me.
Mother Teresa said, “Some give by going, others go by giving.”  I ask you to take a moment to pray and ask Jesus if He would like you to partner with me in proclaiming the Gospel.  If He does want you to partner, ask Him if He would like you to do a one time donation or be a monthly donor.  Then ask Him how much.  As Pope Francis says, “Ask Jesus what He wants from you, and be brave.” (I love that quote!) If you honestly are unable to donate, please pray! If you are able to donate, please pray! The power of prayer is amazing, and it is by prayer we obtain many graces from God-and I will be needing these graces out there in the field.  So will those that I will be working with and serving.
If you would like to donate, you may do so one of two ways:
You can make a check out to Family Missions Company with my name in the memo line.  You can also donate online at Kayla.familymissionscompany.com.  I ask you that if you are able to donate, you do so in the next three weeks, so I will have an idea of how much money is available.
Remember, God can never be outdone in generosity. Feel free to share this letter. Also if your parish or youth group would like to adopt me, that would be great! God bless you abundantly!
In Jesus and Our Lady,
Kayla Cservek
P.S. If you are able to donate frequent flier miles, please contact me!
Getting ready to go to the ends of the earth!  If you want to walk on water, you gotta get out of the boat!
Getting ready to go to the ends of the earth! If you want to walk on water, you gotta get out of the boat!
Kayla, Trust…and Go — July 4, 2015

Kayla, Trust…and Go

Totus Tuus

July 3, 2015, St. Thomas, pray for us!

       Times of transition are always times of growth.  There are so many things for which to prepare, and life gets even more interesting than usual.

       I’ve been making preparations to get ready to go down to Louisiana for Intake 2015 with Family Missions Company (FMC).  Application-check.  References-check.  Short Bio-Check.  Newsletter sent to FMC Office-check.  Attempt at blogging-check.  Gathering 200 addresses for my newsletter-ummm…uhhhh…not quite a check.  When I try to sit down and put the addresses I do have into the Excel sheet, things just keep popping up.  The latest was this evening-I put in one name, and my phone rang.  Someone was needed to cover Adoration, and I was pretty much the only person left on the hill.

       I gathered up my missal and notebook and walked over.  Truth be told, I was happy to go be with Jesus.  In the midst of all these preparations and everything going on here, it’s nice (not to mention necessary!) to spend some time with the One you are being a missionary for in the first place.

       Seeing as I had Jesus and the chapel all to myself, I plopped down up front on the floor and started talking out loud to Him.  I just thanked Him for being here with me in the Eucharist because He’s made it so we can be together virtually every single day for the past nine years-that’s receiving Holy Communion over 3,100 in nine years!

       I realized with joining FMC I won’t be receiving Holy Communion every day since we go to missions where there aren’t a plethora of priests.  I really had to pray about that when discerning FMC.  Jesus helped me to understand that He would still be with me, and that I should go proclaim Him to others who were not so fortunate as to know Him.  it is wonderful that I’ve received Him so many times, but now it is time to take Him to others who do not even know His Name.

       I sat there in Adoration, thanking Jesus for His goodness in bringing me to St. Ann’s.  And then…I started to cry.  I’m not much of a crier; however, there is something that always makes me cry…and that is leaving St. Ann’s.

       I think the reason Jesus called me to Adoration this evening is to prepare me to let go.  As I prepare for all the exciting adventures and newness that Our Lord has in store for me with FMC, He and Our Lady are helping me to let go of St. Ann’s.  Not that I’ll ever entirely let go.  This beautiful place is so much my home.  In the past nine years of my life (all of which have been with SOLT), six of them have been spent on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation.  I have so many beautiful memories  of the wonderful times I’ve had here.  People are asking me if I’ll come back and at least visit.  I sure hope so.  I try to move as the Holy Spirit moves me.  (Although I do tell people, I’m finishing up my sixth year-six is the number for incompletion in the theological world, while seven is for completion.  The Father always loves to delight me, so perhaps He’ll bring me back for a seventh time.  Perhaps when I’m 90, He’ll let me retire on the rez 🙂 )

       So pray for me, please, as I get ready to follow Jesus on the next adventure.  Pray that not only the next mission goes well, but that I’ll say “see you later” to this one gracefully.  God bless you.

“So let go my soul and trust in Him

The waves and wind still know His Name…

Through it all, through it all

My eyes are on You…

It is well with my soul”

It is Well, Bethel Music

Father's Lake-Quite literally my favorite place in the world!
Father’s Lake-Quite literally my favorite place in the world!
St. Ann's Church
St. Ann’s Church
Hello world! — June 4, 2015

Hello world!

Totus Tuus

Kayla Cservek is originally from Baltimore, Maryland. She has felt called to missionary work since her late teens. After graduating from Mount Saint Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, MD and obtaining her degree in Theology, she began volunteering with the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in Belcourt, ND. Having spent the last nine years in various domestic missions, she feels Our Lord calling her to foreign missions with Family Missions Company. She is excited to share the love of Jesus with the world.

God bless you,