Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Night Hip Hop

If you are looking for something to do tonight, check out this radio station, Core 104. On Friday nights they play Christian rap and hip hop. Since discovering it, Fridays have become my favorite day of the week. If you like rap, but have wandered away recently due to the vulgar and uncreative nature of what is has become, you will love this! It really is good music with a great message!

(the link take you to a site where you stream the music live)

The Maker and the Instruction Manual

A friend told me today, “I don’t know what is best for me. I have proven that.”

This is such a true statement. I fool myself into thinking I know myself, what I want, what will make me happy, what is right. The weird thing is, when I come to know I was wrong, I simply change my mind and still think I am back on the right track, only to realize I was wrong again.

I see how people get offended when someone acts like they know better. We think, “how can they know me better than myself? How could someone claim that they know what is best for me?”

The fall made us confused about ourselves. We cannot, by our own efforts, live in peace and love easily. We are lost and don’t have any idea where to go. When I’m honest with myself, I really don’t know what is best for myself.

So where do I go? Is it a lost cause of constantly trying new things and figuring out what fits best? If there is no god, then yes. I am simply a human, and can reach a conclusion from my limited reason and fleeting emotions. Definitely not an easy road. However, there is a God, who has revealed the way to happiness. Now, we must simply (?) accept this and live it out.

Which brings me back to the questions “how can they know me better than myself? How *could* someone claim that they know what is best for me?” Well , if it’s God we all keep hearing about, then *they* do. I find it so beautiful that God has given us the Church, and has revealed to it all we need for salvation and happiness. We could have *never* figured it out on our own.

Because of the Church, I know what is right and wrong. I can know, even just slightly, about the nature of God. I know how to behave, what is true and right and good, and how to live my life. If I never reached these conclusions on my own (which I should try to understand, of course), and only accepted them solely because the Church taught it, my life would already be better.

I have proven that I don’t know what is best for myself, but God has shown us by His Bride, the glorious Church. If only we could stop acting as if we created ourselves, maybe we could find peace. (I hope to talk more about this soon.)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Quick note on modesty

After writing about my veil and remembering the conversation I had recently, I wanted to make a point on what the purpose of modesty is. I may talk about it further at a later time (as a lot can be said about it), but I feel that this post (below) hits the nail on the head as to why modesty should even be a concern for someone.

It called Behind Your Veil. Very appropriate I would say.

Yay for veils!

I believe that the Truth will ultimately win, and so therefore, I see no need to shove it in people’s faces. I can give a simple explanation, when asked, and leave it at that, knowing the Holy Spirit will do the rest. As long as the person is reasonable and open, they will find Truth.

I’ve been wearing a veil in church for a little over a year now. I no longer worry about what people think, or if I’m wearing it right, or all the other distractions one can get caught up in when starting something like wearing a veil. It feels like second nature to put it on, and I honestly would feel weird if I didn’t have it. The past few months or so, a lot (a relative term) of people have asked me about it. And while I still don’t have a set speech, it normally ends up being short and sweet (although I can go into many reasons behind why I wear it, the history of it, what it has done for me, etc…). Just this past week, a girl stopped me. “Excuse me. Why do you wear that?” She asked genuinely but it had a hint of utter confusion. I said, “because Jesus is in there (as I pointed to the sanctuary), so I wear it out of reverence for Him. I also wear it for modesty, but mainly because of reverence.” She simply responded, “cool”. So I smiled and since I couldn’t really think of anything else (that wouldn’t have taken at least 5 minutes to explain) I walked away and went inside. I really am thankful when someone asks me about my veil.

Today at Mass I saw that girl. She was wearing what looked like a hood from a coat on her head, only with the coat still attached and hanging behind her. I’m not sure if it had anything to do with her trying to cover her hair or our short conversation, but it touched me. Here is a girl, I thought, who also follows her convictions, and even though she doesn’t have a “proper” veil, she still tries. It gave me a little more hope in people.

I love seeing women in Mass with a head covering. Some are a bit “slyer” about it than those like myself, who are obviously trying to cover their heads. Today alone, I saw a woman with a hat, a wide headband (which isn’t recognized as a head covering really, but still does a great job doing so. I also know that this is what it is meant for, as she only wears them at Mass), three others (including a middle-aged woman) with traditional veils, and the girl with the make-shift veil. And these are only those I happened to notice (as I don’t look around much). I am so happy to see that other women are recognizing this great practice and are willing to cover their heads in public! May God bless them and all women!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Secret love affair

Being in a student church group is odd. It’s odd because we are all in love with the same thing (if I can even call it that), yet that love affair is so personal and beautiful, we rarely even venture into the depth of it with those very people we know share the same love.

I wonder if anyone ever thinks about how in love that quiet guy is with Jesus. Or what that one girl prays about when she goes back to her dorm. Maybe when I hear someone say a profound statement, or look really deep in prayer, I think to myself they are full of love. But really, I know that everyone is in love. Maybe even more in love than I am.

Perhaps we aren’t meant to share too much of our romance with others, no matter how close of friends they are. Some things remain highly precious and important simply because it only belongs to us. I should never hide my love, but some gifts I receive were meant for me only. They are extremely personal whisperings of Jesus straight to my heart. And I will keep them there.

So, I bet that others also have this semi-hidden love affair going on, and it only pokes out every once in a while to witness to it, or to invite others to it. How beautiful to know others are just in love as I am!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Living for Christ better be worth it

If I was describing what it takes to be a Christian to someone who knew nothing about Jesus or even God, I would understand if they thought I was crazy. Our faith demands a lot from us. It isn’t just outward things, or giving up money and time, or looking happy all the time. No, it even goes farther than that. We have to conform ourselves on the inside, and monitor our thoughts and intentions. We are asked to do things we don’t want to do (and may never want to do), but still, we must do them. We are told to carry a back-breaking cross in as much silence as we can bear and still help anyone on our path. We are sometimes even asked to give up our physical lives, or worse, what we love the most.

Why would anyone do this? And why would anyone wish this upon others?

If the Catholic Church isn’t full of Truth and the Holy Spirit, it would have never survived past a few actually crazy persons. The Church demands very hard things from us and it doesn’t back down or weaken it’s stance either. And instead of dying from a lack of interest, it has grown and flourished and changed the world. Something about this way is different. It is a scheme no human could have possibly devised, for it seems so counter-intuitive that it couldn’t possibly work. But look at how many have chosen just this! And look at what has come from it!

It would be crazy to attempt any of these things if God didn’t exist, and furthermore, if He didn’t will this Church. But because, in fact, He does, I can start down this road, and succeed in it and become a saint. Doing these things would be crazy without a purpose, but when one has “the purpose”, it would be crazy not to.

Oh, Alabama

Today was hot. Then I went to class. The class is in a computer lab and the air conditioner for the building was broken. During the 45 minute class, the room went from 88.9 to 89.8 degrees. Gotta love the summer.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Heavenly Night

I've always loved the night. I can theorize about many reasons why, but a big one would be that it seems to present a whole new world to discover. I like that there are less people around at night. I feel more like myself. I can dance around and perhaps no one will even see me. Perfect. At night, I can see the stars. They were hidden in the sky all day; blocked by clouds and sunlight. But at night, the stars get their chance to shine. I feel small and great and loved at night. And it seems endless. I have no where to go, nothing to do, but be. Yes, I love the night.

Sometimes I wonder what it will be like in heaven. Will there be a "night" there? Will I ever get to see the stars again once I leave this earth? I am fascinated by the contrast of light and darkness(so much so that it's the major theme of this blog). Surely darkness is a "bad" thing. In darkness we wander around confused, not knowing where to go. In darkness, things seem different than they are. And although the world appears different at night, really, most is now just hidden.

But I think the darkness that the bible describes isn't the same darkness that I love at night. Night darkness isn't complete darkness (I can see the stars of course). At night, it is quieter, but not completely silent. And although I may not be able to see as much of the world as I can when the sun is out, I focus more on what I can see. I rely on, even just for a minute, my senses in a way I don't need to during the day. In the darkness at night, I feel more alive.

The biblical darkness isn't like this. It is complete darkness that is also void of other things (like truth, hope and love). One cannot hear the voice of God in this darkness because there is nothing good there. It cripples the senses instead, because there is nothing to experience. This darkness is horrible, because God is not there.

During the night, the night that God created, hope is inherit. When the sun is missing, I know it will soon rise again, and the world will be as I remember. And while I love the night, I must sleep in order to enjoy the day also. Maybe there will be a "night" in heaven, only one that is even better than tonight.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What can I say when words utterly fail?

How firmly do I believe in God? This week’s readings have been asking me that. This week’s world events have been challenging my answers. Even now, I question how much I should share here. This may be vague, but I must say it. Everyday I feel (and see) the battle for souls raging, and God Himself has told me to play a part in it. Maybe I’m overemphasizing, but every other time in my life that I’ve felt this way or been in a similar situation, something profound has happened. It was something that unmistakably God orchestrated from the start. I will be in awe of God for the rest of eternity.

How firmly do I believe in Him? More firmly than I believe I exist. More firmly than the love of my parents or the laws of physics and nature. My entire being is a witness to Him and that hardly does God justice. My issue of trusting God is being burned away, and I welcome it. Nothing I can say can hint at how I feel, or what I would do, or what I know. And that isn’t the important thing anyway. All God wants is everything I have. He can have it. It was never mine anyway.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

So, I'm going to Africa!

Goodness a lot has happened this past week! In short, I will be traveling to Uganda with Four Corners Ministries Inc! See their website here. We will be meeting up with Fr. Michael in Uganda for four days, then traveling to Sudan. I am going with a group of consisting of a doctor, nurses, and college students and will be assisting with the medical care and distribution of medicine in Uganda. While there, we will also help in many many more ways! I am so excited! Please pray for me, as this will be my very first mission trip and definitely my first time to witness anything on this scale. Please pray also for the others joining us, Four Corners Ministries Inc.’s future projects, and especially for the children and adults in Africa who need food, water, shelter and love from others. This is my letter I’ll be sending out (altered slightly for this blog):

Kelley, Fr. Michael, Me!

Mission 2010: Uganda and Sudan

“Do your best to speed Ze’nas the lawyer and Apol’los on their way; see that they lack nothing. And let our people learn to apply themselves to good deeds, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not to be unfruitful.” -Titus 3:13-14

Dear YOU!

During my first summer in Auburn, Alabama, my church, St. Michael’s hosted a visiting priest from Uganda, Fr. Michael Ssenfuma. He comes from a very poor and war-torn part of the world that struggles everyday for basic needs like food, shelter and basic education. Many children die from preventable diseases and dehydration. Despite this, Fr. Michael is one of the most joyous and inspiring people I have ever met. His love for God and his daily work to do all he can for others has impacted me and everyone he meets in Auburn. Two years ago, during his first summer in the United States, we talked about Uganda and some of his hopes for the future. He wants to show the youth there that God, and other people, really love them, and give them the resources to grow in their faith and live out what God is calling each of them to be.

Since meeting Fr. Michael, I know I needed to do something to help with this mission. In the past my efforts didn’t go far. This year, however, I learned about a group of doctors and nurses from Alabama who will be traveling with Four Corners Ministries Inc. to Uganda to lay the groundwork for a orphanage and help with the medical needs in this desperate part of Africa. When in Uganda, we will meet with Fr. Michael in his hometown of Masaka and provide medical treatment and supplies for extremely impoverished children and their families. We will also travel to Kampala where we will do the same. I am learning how to figure out a person’s eye prescription so that I’ll be able to hand out glasses to those who need them. I will also assist the doctors in whatever way I can with distributing medicine and medical care.

In the next few years, Four Corners Ministries Inc. will be building an orphanage in Uganda. This will be set up in a family structure, where a couple will look after (up to) eight children in a stand alone house. Other houses will form the community of the orphanage. This is called Abaana’s Hope. Abaana is an Ugandan word meaning children. By living in a loving intimate family environment, these children will have the necessary foundation to lead a love-centered life and reach for their dreams.

I will be traveling to Uganda this Thanksgiving break, leaving November 18th and returning November 27th. I am excited that God has allowed me this opportunity to serve Him overseas. By doing this, I hope to spread Christ’s love to whoever I may meet and to also raise awareness of the struggles many children face in Africa. By supporting me first in prayer, you are already improving the world and making this mission a success. Please pray for me during the preparation for and duration of the trip.

You can also support me by providing funds that will allow me to have the opportunity to serve as the “hands and feet of Christ” in Uganda. I have already fundraised about $2,000 for my trip. This leaves about $1,500 left to raise. The cost of the trip includes airfare, food, lodging and other travel expenses. I am still fundraising in other ways, including collecting change to purchase rosaries and informative pamphlets on different topics (such as the sacraments). I’m calling this separate account “Pennies for Prayers”, as it will help give the children a stronger foundation for their faith. Any monies donated can go to either my trip costs, Pennies for Prayers, or directly to Four Corners. Through your support, the love of Christ will be demonstrated to those who are hurting physically, socially, and spiritually.

Thank you for being a part of my support team. I absolutely cannot do this alone, and it can only be done through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Thank you for your investment of prayers and funds. Thank you for caring. It is very encouraging to have people who love the Lord praying for me. God will bless you through your prayers and giving. Colossians 4:2-4 reads:

“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us also, that God may open a door for the word, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.”

This was Paul’s request to the church of Colossae; I am also making this my request to you. Whether you donate money or resources, the greatest thing that you can do for me is pray. Thank you.

You can contact me at You can also donate by clicking the donate button at the top of the page. Learn more about Four Corners Ministries Inc. at
Fr. Michael has a music ministry. His first album, Njagala, is available on iTunes and his second album will be released soon.

In Christ, Ruth Yusckat

p.s. See my itinerary of my trip here.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Faith without works is dead

How would you go about winning over a heart? Is it with words that draws another closer, or is it more of our actions that speaks the loudest?

Today, I realized how hollow my faith is. I do a lot of talking but hardly any acting. I go to bible studies, apologetic classes, daily Masses, and talk all the time to my (Catholic) friends about my faith. I am missing a very important element of service. Praying and fellowship are very important and good, but I don’t want to lose sight of one of the main things Jesus called us to do. We must care for one another. That is people we don’t know. People we don’t like. People who aren’t like us, or that we can “relate” to very well. People who seem beyond help (in whatever capacity). I am called to love them. And I have failed miserably at that.

Jesus walked around and healed people, comforted them, and saved them. After Peter tells Jesus he loves him, Jesus tells Peter to feed and take care of his sheep. How much more evangelizing could we do if we actively loved undesirable people! Helping drunk homeless, hanging out with a bratty kid, collecting food, there is so many things that could show others Christ’s love, without us ever saying a word!

Oh, but how I would much rather walk around and talk to people about Jesus than actually being Jesus for others! Seeing the homeless, talking to the sick and lonely, providing for those who lost a lot in a disaster is hard and unattractive. It is something I avoid. And it’s a shame I’ve never been called out on it!

I’m writing about this because at my church’s student center we have very little opportunity to serve others (who aren’t our friends) and even less participation. I hope to change this. I can’t make excuses anymore about why I can’t do something. Anyone can always do something. I hide behind those excuses, because I didn’t really want to do it in the first place. So where does that leave my faith? It leaves it pretty fruitless.

Even sitting here writing about this, I realize, may be a waste of speech. But I hope it will keep me accountable in the next few months. If I go on talking about action, without action, I must either become silent, or “put my money where my mouth is”. I’m hoping for the latter. My faith is not empty and there is much work to do.