Bailey Family May 2016

Bailey Family May 2016
Bailey Family May 2016 - Big Woods

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Mexico Recap: weeks 2 & 3

Driving in Mexico we saw beautiful mountains!

Being in Mexico was a huge a blessing. It was also a challenge (but a good one). God wants us to stretch and grow out of our comfort zone. And in the U.S. we had a really big comfort zone. What I mean is that we are basically, for the most part, comfortable all of the time. Our clothes are comfortable, our bed is comfortable, our car is comfortable, our couch, our chair, you get the picture.

Living in Mexico for 3 1/2 weeks we had much less of the comfortable life than we were used to. It is so eye opening to see how much of the rest of the world lives. Many of the homes we visited had no washers and dryers (they hand wash and hang to dry), no stoves (instead brick or cement ovens with firewood), very few beds (sometimes shared by everyone in the house), no hot water, and no nice furniture. The floors are cement (sometimes dirt), the walls are adobe, and sometimes they have a bathroom (usually outside). The homes would be considered very dirty, the furniture is old and often falling apart.

A simple chapel built by some of our missionaries in Mexico. We visited villages and held prayer services almost every evening.

And yet, from the poor of Mexico I saw the greatest faith and generosity. People who had what we would consider nothing, gave out of their necessity, be it clothing, money or their time. When we would visit a village where they had no regular mass (maybe once a month) almost every person who attended the prayer service would come up and ask to be prayed over. We had a pot-luck meal at one of the villages and the women of the village stood by the food and served us the entire time and wouldn't eat until we had eaten. We prayed with a man who had seizures, and was told he could die at any time, who thanked God for the blessings He gave his family (he has a wife and 2 young daughters). I was humbled and inspired by the poor and by my fellow missionaries who always served with joy. God can do great things with us when we let go and allow Him to work through us.

My amazing friend Catherine came down with the short-term mission trip and we were so blessed to have her! She took this picture at a old folks home she visited.

Felicity playing guitar while Daddy plays the Djembe.
We learned lots of songs in Spanish and Hannah is busy learning the guitar.

The girls watching the parade right outside the mission house.

Felicity and Theresa (little missionaries) in the courtyard at the mission house.

Holding hands in the dining room at the mission house where we ate all our meals in Mexico. Marta fed 50 - 80 people everyday! And even more when we had visitors from the community.
This is where we shared Thanksgiving with over 100 people.

Felicity making Magdalena smile (Theresa's sister).

Grace playing under the clothes lines where we hung our laundry in the sun. The washer we used didn't have a spin cycle so we had to hand ring everything. There was also a stone washing tub for hand-washing and an american washer (but my loads were too big for it).

Grace getting her hair washed in the pila (we also brushed our teeth here). There were 6 showers to share between us all and sometimes it was easier to just wash your hair.

Grace getting ready to get her hair braided by Melissa (one of our mission partners) 
and Felicity on Rebecca's lap.

Our family in front of our bedroom with a Mexican blanket. 
It gets very cold in the part of mexico we were in and many of the poor needed blankets.

Here is an awesome blog post a friend sent me that really reflects the theme of stretching that we experienced in Mexico.

Bailey Christmas Travel Plans

Sorry it's been so long since I posted. We had our commissioning ceremony last Wednesday and the next day we moved out of our house at Big Woods, cleaned, packed the van and drove away towards California! My mom is with us and went on our 5 day road trip to San Diego. We are SO excited to be here!!!

We wanted to share our travel plans with ya'll so you would know where we will be and when we can see you!

December 12th - Leave Big Woods and drive to California
Dec. 16th - Arrived in San Diego, CA
Jan. 2nd - leave California and drive to Kansas
Jan. 7th - talk at the Spiritual Life Center, Wichita, KS
Jan. 13th ??? - leave Wichita for Big Woods (depends on when we fly out)
somewhere between Jan. 15-30 -  fly out of the country to our new mission post!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Back from Mexico!

Our family is back at Big Woods after 3 1/2 weeks in General Cepeda, Mexico. We are taking a day to rest and I will try to post some more pictures soon.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Our home for the next 3 weeks is La Casa de Misionarios. It used to be the servants quarters to the main house next door (now owned by the city). It was built before the U.S. was a country!

We have a small bedroom that the 2 younger girls share with us. Hannah & Catherine are in the "Hen House" which used to be a stable and now houses 20 beds filled with 15 missionary girls.
There are 3 bathrooms to share and we all brush our teeth in the middle of the courtyard with bottled water.

We visited a rancho on Saturday and will be visiting many more while we are here. We invited the people to join us for a prayer meeting in the church and 2 missionaries gave their testimonies (Donovan was one of them). There were 3 other groups in different ranchos. We struggled with our Spanish phrases but I know with time and practice it will get better.

God is using this time to help us die to ourselves even more as we get used to having less than we are used to. The girls are having a blast getting to know the missionary kids who live here and some of the local children as well. They make friends very fast. Kids really do make the best missionaries!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Off to Mexico!

We are leaving this evening for Mexico. Please pray for us

* to have safe travels
* to stay healthy
* to be open to God's plan for us there
* to prepare our hearts and those of the people we are going to meet

We will be on a short-term trip until the end of November. Our access to phone and internet will be limited so we may not be able to call or go online each week. We will be taking pictures and sharing our stories with you when we return (unless we can blog while there). So check back often and remember to keep us and all of the missionaries in your daily prayers!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Cake, cake & more cake!

Lots of Bailey b-days recently! We celebrated Donovan on Nov. 1st and Felicity the next day. Donovan won his birthday cake at the Saint Cake Walk the evening before at Holyween. It was a special birthday cake from a local bakery known for amazing cakes. I didn't get a picture of the cake but here it is (in the big white box) on the cake table at Holyween.

After shaving his head to be St. Dominic for Holyween,

he shaved the rest off. I got a picture of him with the other missionary dads and our director Joseph. The shaved head thing seems to be a trend around here...

Donovan, Travis, Joseph, Dave, Eric
We started Felicity's birthday at our house with a pancake breakfast (the BEST pancakes ever) and she opened her 1 birthday present, (a doll, just like her sisters). She loved it and named it Perpetua. (Get it! Felicity & Perpetua!)

I'm 3!
Felicity had a blast Saturday evening walking around the Big House with her "new" birthday dress & her birthday doll while everyone told her "Happy Birthday Felicity"! She had lots of fun playing train with some of the missionaries. After dinner everyone sang Happy Birthday, May the Good Lord Bless You & For Shes a Jolly Good Missionary and then she blew out her candles on her a birthday spice cake with chocolate frosting & lollipops on top. Click on the link below for a super cute video of her blowing out her candles.

Saturday Brooke asked me if I could make a surprise birthday cake for Mrs. Genie Summers (founder of FMC). I was honored and very excited at the opportunity to make a cake again. I have been making cakes for 3 years and haven't had a lot of opportunities lately. I had so much fun designing and putting this cake together. I used my favorite recipe for cake (Extreme Chocolate Cake) and filled it with white chocolate cream cheese frosting and put chocolate covered pecans around the edge. They all loved it and said it was the best cake they had ever had. That compliment was such a blessing to me!

God surprises me all the time with little gifts like this. I didn't think I would have the opportunity to make a cake while in missions but he presented me an opportunity. I had just what I needed (cake pans,  4 frosting tips, some frosting bags and all the ingredients for the cake in the pantry). The one thing I didn't think I had (a frosting spreader) I had accidentally brought from home.

Thank you Jesus for such a beautiful weekend full of friends, celebration and cake! Thank you for the blessing of our life. Thank you for filling us up with your love, your grace and your mercy. Thank you for new friends and the excitement for missions. Please bless our time here and all our friends and family back home who we miss so much. Please bring them closer to you and help them to see just how much you love them and want to bless them.

Geckos & lizards and alligators, oh my!

So being in Louisiana is like entering a new culture with its own unique language and ways of doing things. There is LOTS of humidity (though that has really gotten better as it cools off) and LOTS, no TONS of mosquitoes. There are also little lizard friends that crawl into the house and geckos too. Catherine, of course, loves it when she can catch a new friend.

Another animal you may see here is an alligator. When we arrived at Big Woods it was September (alligator hunting season). We toured an alligator farm where they raise and release alligators as well as process those that have been hunted for producing food and items made from their skin. The smell was VERY strong and had a fishy smell. Grace wouldn't stop plugging her nose. We also got to see an alligator that was caught near our property (poor alligator is in the truck bed). I am happy to say that so far I have not seen a live alligator (I am happy to keep it that way)!

Louisiana is a great place to train for missions. It is entering into a new "culture" and being around weather, animals, and food you are not used to. We are learning to appreciate and be thankful for everything that we have (by giving lots away) and eating what is set before us (Luke 10:8). Which for our family (especially me) was very hard to do at first. I was used to having all the control of what my family was eating. We were trying to be healthy and make good choices. But even this God has asked me to surrender. It really has been a blessing to us. I realized that on one side of it I could be eating everything I want (healthy or not) because I want to (for pleasures sake). I didn't want to be addicted to food and feel like I couldn't say no to something (cake, chocolate, etc.). In being healthy and making better food choices I was trying to avoid this temptation for myself and my family. But on the opposite side I was letting food control me because I was so picky about what I could and couldn't eat. It made it very difficult to go to pot lucks or family gatherings because we couldn't eat what others prepared.  Food can become an idol when it takes over my time, energy and thoughts. At first it was a sacrifice to eat the food set before us at Intake and surrender my control and fear (of how the food might affect me or my family) to God. It is very good practice for missions because when we are invited to events or into peoples homes we would never want to turn down their food. We have heard story after story about missionaries going into small villages where they take the best of what they have and give it to you. There may be only 1 chicken or 3 cans of tuna left in the whole village and they will prepare it and serve it to you. It is a very humbling experience and you would never want to turn down that gift. It would be an insult to the people and would be very ungrateful. If I truly believe that God has called our family to be full-time missionaries (which I do) than I can trust that God will provide everything that my family needs, including our food and clothes.

24“No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?27And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?28And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?31Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34“So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Matthew 6:24-34

It is AMAZING how much God has provided for us since our yes to Him. 
  • The girls & I have received bags of clothing to go through (to find warm items for our Mexico trip in November)
  • I received milk and kefir grains that grow & multiply amazingly down here, providing our family with lots of healthy probiotics 
  • When we arrived at Big Woods in September we found out our entire Intake fees had been raised in just 4 weeks (the time we spent selling/giving away/packing our things)
  • He has given our family the time together we had been praying for
  • He has given us a way to minister together as a family, also something we had been praying for
  • We have been able to experience what living in community is like, including sharing our goods with each other
  • Felicity was given a beautiful birthday dress to wear and I was able to make a birthday cake from the things we had around the house
  • See the post I made about my birthday for a list of more blessings on our family 
I have realized how much we didn't need all the things we had and that God has provided us with everything we need. We have the MOST important thing and that is the knowledge of God's love and the hope of our salvation. If I had the nicest house, car, clothes, job, lots of money, etc. it wouldn't get me to heaven and it would not fulfill my deepest desire to know God. In giving away the material things we had become attached to we have found so much freedom, peace and joy for how much God has blessed our family. Our things had only provided temporary happiness, but our faith provides everlasting joy!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Holyween Celebration

We celebrated Holyween last week and all of us dressed like saints. We had a lot of fun putting together costumes by looking around Big Woods for supplies (sheets, pillow cases, cardboard, etc.).

Catherine was St. Kateri Tekawitha

Felicity was Blessed Jacinta Marta from Fatima.

Grace was St. Bernadette of Lourdes

Donovan went all the way with his costume and shaved his head. He was St. Dominic. I was St. Claire of Assisi.

Hannah was Saint Hannah (Samuel's mom, from the Old Testament).

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Happy Birthday!!!

Today is my 33rd birthday and I am so blessed. It was one of the most simple, yet best birthdays I have ever had. Reflecting on the past 6 weeks here at Big Woods I came up with a list of some of the things that we have experienced while in training. We had no idea of all the amazing things God had in store for us and our family. When we said yes we couldn't have imagined how God would transform us. If someone would have asked me do you want:
  • To grow closer to your children?
  • Be more united to your spouse?
  • Die to yourself?
  • Make amazing friends?
  • Witness miracles?
  • Surrender to God like you have never before?
  • SEE God working, HEAR Him speak to you clearly & FEEL His presence?
  • Grow in your faith?
  • Be greatly blessed?
  • Be filled with joy?
  • Grow in a love of scripture?
  • Develop a deeper relationship with Christ?
  • See your children praise & worship the Lord with passion?
  • Pray daily with your family?
  • Grow deeper in personal prayer?
  • Praise the Lord in good times & bad?
  • Be free from the weight of all your material things?
  • Actively LIVE your faith?
I would have said absolutely. He has done this, AND DO MUCH MORE. We are so excited to see what else He has planned for us.

Thank you to all my new missionary friends who made this such a blessed day! And thank you to my husband who made an AMAZING birthday cake with essential oils and from scratch (orange spice cake with cream cheese frosting)! And thank you to my family and friends back home who love me and who I miss so much! And thank you to my parents who gave me life and always made me feel loved. I love you all!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Guest Post: I Love Catholic Foreign Missionary Families

Here is an awesome blog post written by a friend, and fellow Catholic mom and wife, Erika Marie on her blog One Simple Mama.

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to be a foreign missionary? Have you ever thought about what it would be like to have a family and be a foreign missionary?
Didn’t think so. [Well, except for you strange-looking people over there in the corner.]
Well, let’s face it, most people like to be comfortable. We like our homes and our stuff and familiarity. And for our families, we like stability and security and we want life to be as ‘easy’ and ‘happy’ as it can be for us and our little families. 
I use “we” because I’m the same way. But I’d like to take a moment to tell you about some friends who share the same sentiments but are becoming a foreign missionary family anyway.
Enter in Donovan and Blair Bailey. I’ve known Donovan and Blair for a few years now and our families have grown a lot within this time. If I had one word to describe their family it would be “open”. They have four beautiful girls that keep them busy but they are always “open”. Open to others, open to more children, open to new opportunities, open to basically whatever God might call them to.
And just a few short weeks ago, they said Yes in an extreme way and made the decision to join the Family Missions Company. In just under 4 weeks (or less?) they sold all they had – everything in their house including the house itself, everything. I think they probably kept a few clothing essentials and simple necessities but that’s it. They’ll spend some time in training and then have a short break before receiving their location assignment and then they are off to spread the Good News to all nations! 
Donovan and Blair are the type of people that attract others to them. Because they are so open, you want to talk with them and I know God will use them and their family in great ways, as He already has! Aside from the work they are training for, in a sense they’ve already begun their evangelizing work simply by their decision to detach from their life and take on this new adventure. It is inspiring and has definitely made me stop and think about how I and our family can serve God in our day-to-day life more. 
I don’t feel – at this time – that our family is called to leave what we have here and move to a different geographical location. However, I’ve always felt that God calls us all to be missionaries, even in our own homes. We don’t have to look past our own family members, friends, and community to bring Christ to others. In a sense, being a “missionary” here in our nice and cozy community is sometimes like being a “foreign” missionary. It’s easy to hide away in our homes, hang out with our family and friends who we know and are comfortable with. 
It’s more of a challenge to reach out to those we don’t know. Here, people - including myself – don’t think we need help or that we need to be evangelized too. We have everything we need to survive as far as food and water and shelter go. But, from what I’ve observed, it’s those who [think they have] everything who really have nothing. 
Mother Teresa – who lived in the slums of the slums amongst the “poorest of the poor” said she had never seen such poverty as that which she had witnessed in the United States. But she wasn’t talking about physical poverty. “I have been to many countries and seen much poverty and suffering . . . But of all the countries I have been to, the poorest one I have been to is America. . . America suffers most from the poverty of loneliness.”
And so it is anywhere we go, even in a place that offers everything, there is still the poverty of loneliness. We all are called to be missionaries, and in a sense, to be foreign missionaries. We are called to step out of our own comfort level and go to where we are strangers and reach out to those who suffer from this “poverty of loneliness”. 
Blair and Donovan shared with me that Pope Francis recently wrote that there is a “need for a more profound missionary formation of the whole People of God and by encouraging the Christian community to contribute to the spread of the Gospel in the world.”  
Today (when I started writing this it was still Sunday) the Church recognizes and celebrates World Mission Sunday 2013. It’s a good time to not only remember and pray for all the missionaries out in the world but to stop and think about how we - you and me – can live out Christ’s Great Commission as missionaries here in our own lives, or maybe elsewhere?  
Family Missions Company is hoping to raise awareness about the need for ALL Catholics to be missionary. If you are a blogger and would like to help bring awareness and support for Catholic missionaries, especially Catholic missionaries AND their families, consider writing a blog post about the call of all Catholics to be missionary. Then you can link back to FMC’s website. Click Here for the Bloggers on a Mission campaign to join in!
Not into blogging? Is God calling your family to the missionary life? Want to serve God witn your family but not sure becoming a foreign missionary family is what God’s calling you to? You can still help! 
You can pray. Always, you can pray. Pray for the Bailey family and for others like them – that God will protect them and guide them in their work. 
Consider supporting my friends, the Bailey Family, financially – this is their only job now so I’m sure any financial help is appreciated to support them and help them continue on this missionary adventure. You can also keep up with them and read about what it’s like to be a real missionary on their Facebook Page and their Bailey Family Missions blog
My new motto is, “If the Baileys can sell all they have and move to a foreign land, I can at least try  to live more simply and reach out to “foreigners” here in my own life and with my family.” (I know, that’s too long of a motto but it works.) I’m still learning, it’s much easier writing about missionary work than actually doing it. Speaking of, here are a few other ideas I’ve written about how to live a missionary life together as a family. 
So, go therefore, and take Christ to all the nations – starting in your own home and wherever else God may guide you. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Happy World Mission Sunday!

This weekend we were at the 1st Proclaim Conference put on by Family Missions Company. It was an awesome conference that really inspired us and got us even more excited about going into missions. We heard Dr. Ralph Martin, Deacon Ralph Poyo, Archbiship Rivas and several missionaries give testimonies and talks. I am excited because I am hoping to make the talks available on this blog to all of you. Keep checking back because as soon as I get them I will post them. It's late so this post is short. We have Monday off (because of the conference) so I hope to make a longer post tomorrow.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Long Week

I haven't been able to post yet this week. Sorry! It has been a little crazy. The girls had lice, I got a migraine and then sick while trying to get rid of the lice. Praise God! I am reminded to thank Him for ALL things. We are enjoying our Sunday as a family day. We look forward to the new week. Please send us any prayer requests you have so that we and our community can pray for you.

A funny story from dinner tonight:
I was telling the family about when I was in Puerto Vallarta as a child with my mom. I remembered the tile floors and all the geckos that would come in to the hotel room and be on the bed and on the walls. I also told them about the native children who would have giant iguanas for pets and carry them around on their shoulders. To this story Catherine pipes in, "Can I be a Mexican child? Can I? Can I? I want to have geckos and iguanas for pets!" She said this all with a huge smile on her face :)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Our New Home

It has been 2 weeks since we arrived at Big Woods. We have been enjoying the community life of praying, eating, working, serving and studying together.

Our family was put in the St. Michael's house (the same house we were in for our Come & See weekend).

The girls really enjoy the space and the bunk-beds in their room.

Their bathroom sits off the dining room.

The living room is spacious and shares space with the dining room. 

In the center of the dining room is the door that leads upstairs to the 2nd floor where the Martin family is living. They have two precious little girls (18 months & 3 months old).

 There is a loft above our bed that is being used for storage.

In the master bedroom we have a spacious room with a king size bed and our own bathroom. 

We have a full kitchen with washer & dryer.
The house has lots of character with wooden plank walls, tile and wooden floors (creaks and all). I wish I could have you all over for a big family style diner!

Check out photos from the rest of the property on a fellow missionary family's blog HERE