Monday, December 8, 2014
Please join us Wednesday, December 10th, in the St. Jude Parish Hall, Wichita, KS, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm for the Bailey Family Mission Dessert Night!!! Enjoy a buffet of desserts while we share our experience of our mission in the Philippines including stories and pictures.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
I have been thinking about writing this blog since our sweet baby Gabriel Elijah was born. I have been reflecting on this past year, our call to missions, our time in the Philippines and our time here. Even before we said yes to becoming missionaries God did a lot of work on us and our hearts to prepare us to say yes to him.
|Our family in 2013 shortly before hearing God's call to missions.|
Last year in May I traveled to Italy with my mom. (My amazing husband stayed home with our girls while I was gone for two weeks with my mom.) We stayed in Florence, Assisi and Rome. For both of us Assisi was our favorite place. It was quiet, beautiful, peaceful and more what we expected our experience of Italy would be. I remember being so moved by St. Francis and St. Claire. Visiting the places where they lived and prayed had such an impact on me. It was on this trip that I found out I was pregnant with our fifth child. I was very excited and couldn't wait to share this news with Donovan. For some reason we didn't tell the girls right away (which we normally do).
|In front of the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi.|
|Enjoying lunch and a view from Assisi.|
|A statue of St. Francis in a simple church in Assisi.|
A few weeks after returning from my trip I started spotting. This had never happened before in any previous pregnancies and I was worried. It took the course of about a week and it was confirmed that I had miscarried the baby at about 7 weeks. We told the girls what had happened. It's hard to explain what a mother feels when she loses her baby. It was a very difficult time for me. We decided to name the baby, and because of the huge impact St. Francis had on me during my trip, we choose the name Francis Claire.
In our prayers we began to ask Francis Claire to pray for us and our intentions. At this point it was the end of summer and we had been struggling as a family. We were praying for God to show us where he wanted us. We were praying that we would know our mission in life. Donovan was looking for a job but nothing was being offered; we lost our baby; money was tight and we weren't sure what we were going to do. I know that through all of this God had a plan for us. I believe that because of the influence of St. Francis and his witness of loving God in a radical way I was able to say yes to God's call to be a missionary.
|Saying Yes to the Lord!|
We went to Louisiana for training and continued to ask St. Francis and Francis Claire to pray for us. We found out we would be going to the Philippines and prepared to leave all that we knew. We arrived in the Philippines and one week later found out we were expecting our 6th child! God's timing is not always my timing or what I expect. After the miscarriage I had a fear that I wouldn't be able to have anymore children. We were open to new life and waited. We laughed at God's timing. We realized what a beautiful gift He had given to us. I spent my first mission being nauseous 24 hours a day for the first 3 months. It was quite a difficult transition into a new culture of new food and new smells while also feeling like throwing up every second of the day. Many of those first weeks/months I would do ministry then come home and lay in bed. I had a lot I could offer up in prayer and a lot to ask Francis Claire to pray for.
|After our 30 hour flights we arrived in the Philippines.|
|At our house in Malaybalay (wearing my nauseous bands).|
We discerned returning home to have the baby and then prayed that God would make a way for us. In order to leave on the airplane from the Philippines I had to have a doctor do a sonogram and sign a paper stating it was safe for me to fly. We went in for our sonogram less than a week before we left. The plan was to be surprised about the baby's sex when he or she was born. But as we looked at our sweet little baby on that monitor I really wanted to know. Donovan still wanted to be surprised but he said if I really wanted to know then it was ok with him. I told the doctor doing the sonogram. “It's a girl right?” I had already convinced myself that this baby was a girl and Felicity was always talking about her baby sister. “No,” the doctor replied. “What!” I said. “Show me.” I didn't believe her. We have four girls and I just thought, of course, it's another girl. That's what we do, we make girls. Well I saw the proof right there on the monitor and spent the rest of the day (or maybe week) in shock. I was very excited, but yet very surprised that I was finally having a baby boy. When Hannah (our first child) was a baby in the womb we picked out a boy name and a girl name before finding out she was a girl. The name we chose was Gabriel Elijah (partly after the angel Gabriel and partly after my cousin Gabriel who died when I was 17). Well, it took another 11 years, but now we have our Gabriel.
As we got closer to having Gabriel I started to get nervous about the labor. My last baby, Felicity, was 9 pounds 15 ounces (and each baby was bigger than the last)! Her labor was difficult and I had a small fear that Gabriel would be bigger than her. Three of my four girls were born 9 to 11 days overdue (except Catherine who came out 9 days early). I knew that the longer he stayed in the bigger he would get. I gave these fears to God in prayer and tried to trust in His plan for this baby and this birth.
|At the Birthing Center three hours before Gabriel was born.|
We welcomed Gabriel Elijah just two days after his due date on October 4th at 10:28 pm. He weighed 8 pounds, 9 ounces and was 21 ½ inches long. My prayers were answered! He was my second smallest baby. October 4th is the feast day of St. Francis and this is the same day our baby was born. I felt like this was another confirmation of all that God was doing in our life. I started this journey with St. Francis almost a year and a half ago and now on his feast day I was blessed with a baby boy. God is so good!
|A happy mama!|
|The midwife checking out baby.|
St. Francis, pray for us. Francis Claire, pray for us.
Sunday, September 7, 2014
Sunday, August 24, 2014
Donovan was interested in being a missionary at the time we married 12 years ago, but I would not even consider it. In the course of about a year before Intake (training), God worked on my heart and prepared me for missions without me realizing it. After visiting Big Woods (Family Mission Companies Home Base in Louisiana) for the first time in August 2013 I finally heard God's call loud and clear. Our family, including our four daughters (Hannah – 11, Catherine – 9, Grace – 6 & Felicity – 3), sold or gave most of our things away and joined Intake just four weeks later! Only by the Grace of God was this even possible. We saw so many blessings and confirmations of our call to Catholic Foreign Missions through those four weeks. It was in this surrender to the Lord in a way we had never done before that He was able to bless our family in so many ways.
|Our family in 2013 before Missions.|
We were sent to Malaybalay, Philippines last January and lived there for five months. We thought that we would be there longer, but have returned recently to welcome our first baby boy Gabriel Elijah due October 2nd. We feel that God is calling us to continue missions after the birth of our sweet little baby. Our time in the Philippines was greatly blessed and we wanted to take this opportunity to share those blessings with you. For those going into missions for the first time, and their families, there can be an apprehension and fear of the “what ifs.” I know all about this because I myself struggled greatly with fear and anxiety before missions. As a missionary now God has really released me from fear and allowed me to a freedom I have never before experienced. Of course, I sometimes have concerns for my family, but I am no longer paralyzed by fear and anxiety in my daily life. Not only is this a blessing for me but also for my entire family.
|Our family at the Asia Summit in the Philippines|
As a missionary family we were able to learn more about Gospel Poverty. We are always challenged by this but have seen the beauty of being able to live with less and be willing to give away what we have (even from our need and not just our surplus). Living among the poor and becoming friends with them opens our eyes to God's love for the poor in a new way. In seeing the poverty of the people we were able to see their amazing generosity. When they have so little they are willing to give it away, yet in the U.S. where we have so much we realized how much we had held onto, unwilling to share with those in greater need. It was a very humbling experience to have our perspective about need vs. want dramatically challenged.
|A few of our friends at our house for a celebration.|
Along with the willingness to give away our things comes the deeper trust that God really will provide all that we need. We had a reminder of this one day while shopping in the open market where we did our weekly produce shopping. Money was tight, we had spent much of our stipend on unexpected things and only had a certain amount to buy our food for the week. I knew that if I gave any of our money away in Alms then it would be taken from our families food money. A poor woman approached me asking for rice (a common experience when out shopping). I took her over to the table and bought her rice and then noticed that her flip flops were falling apart and had large holes in them. I took her to another table and purchased a new pair of shoes for her. That same day after returning form the market three people (who had no idea of my earlier shopping experience) brought food to our house. I knew that God was blessing us for our generosity and showing me that if I just trust in Him He will always provide for us.
|We were blessed by God to see how He provided a new house|
for this family.
As a family in missions we were able to spend a lot of time together as a family doing a majority of our ministry together. We were so blessed and strengthened as a family by our time together. We weren't separated by work or age-segregated activities, but were able to serve, pray and play together more than we have ever been able to do in the past. We were also able to travel together as a family and experience new places, food, culture and people. We even took a one week vacation to another island.
Not only did our family grow stronger but so did our marriage. Donovan and I feel more united and close than we had in the past 11 years of marriage. Now, I won't say that it was always easy but through the challenges and blessings of a missionary life we were brought together and grew in love and respect for one another.
|Our family trip to Camiguin Island.|
I feel like being a missionary family has allowed us to see with the eyes of the Gospel. Scripture became so much more real and relate-able in missions. Our eyes were opened to so much that God wants all of us to see and experience, but that in our American life is so much harder to see. We realized how much we were constantly entertained and distracted in our life here. It was challenging to step outside the comfort zone we had built for ourselves in our life in the United States. But sometimes God wants us to be uncomfortable. He wants us to weep with the suffering, abandoned and weak. He wants us to see with His eyes, serve with His hands, pray with His Holy Spirit, walk with His feet, and suffer alongside Him on the cross. There is an intimacy and beauty that exists with God if we allow ourselves to surrender to Him in these ways and to die to our self.
|Lindsey (our Team leader) passing out food.|
|Donovan (yellow shirt) putting up new walls on a house.|
Over and over in missions we were able to witness miracles. We saw people hungry for God and have amazing conversions. People wanted to know who Jesus is, they wanted to read their Bible and understand it, they wanted to learn how to pray and teach their children. We also witnessed healing miracles in the community around us. We saw the power of prayer and that God does listen to us and speak to us all the time. We were able to see Him more clearly and hear Him more clearly than ever before. There was a woman whose abdominal growth disappeared, a young man who had a horrible head injury and was healed, a nine year old girl who walked out of the hospital after being hit by a bus while riding a motorcycle, and more.
|Irene and her family (Irene experienced a healing miracle).|
One of the greatest blessings in all of this is that our children were able to witness these blessings along with us. They grew in their understanding and love for their faith. They experienced life outside the American bubble and know that there are people who need our prayers and support, but most of all needed to know the love that God has for them. We were able to live out Jesus' last command that He gave before ascending to the Father,
“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 behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” Matthew 28: 19-20.
|Felicity helping prepare green beans for our guests.|
And we truly experienced what He says in Matthew 11: 28-30,
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
Please continue to pray for us as we discern where the Lord want us to return to missions after the birth of our baby. We feel called back to the mission field and are currently praying about where He is sending us.
Sunday, July 27, 2014
So some of you know that we have returned to the U.S. recently. We had a family retreat in May and really felt that God was calling us home for a visit, to have the baby, to share our stories & miracles about missions and to be sent back into missions after the baby is born. We kept our return a secret because we were going to surprise Donovan's sister Tina for her wedding. I told only a few people (like our parents) and asked that no one post anything about our return (that way Tina wouldn't figure it out before we could surprise her). Thankfully she had no idea and we had such a great time surprising her!
|Jacob & Tina|
Her wedding was this past Saturday at our home parish St. Jude in Wichita, KS. A few days before the wedding Donovan's sister Melissa told Tina and Jacob that “Mom and Dad have a little wedding present for you and they want you to open it at their house.” So they came over to the house and we hid in the garage behind a work bench. Donovan's Dad hid Felicity in a large tote box and kept the lid open until they were walking up to the garage. As they preceded to open the tote box I expected to hear something, but it was quiet. Tina didn't realize it was Felicity in the box! She was thinking to herself, “Why did they put Maggie (Felicity's cousin) in this box?” Donovan stood up from behind the work bench and we all followed. When Tina saw Donovan it finally clicked and she started screaming. She gave us all huge hugs and was very happy to have us back for the wedding!
Even though we showed up two days before the wedding Tina invited Felicity and Grace to be flower girls and Hannah & Catherine to pass out programs. Thankfully I had left one fancy dress for each of the girls and they fit the wedding perfectly! And after a few phone calls to friends they all had pretty shoes too! The wedding was beautiful and you could just see the love that Jacob & Tina have for each other.
A few days after the wedding we were invited to Tony & Monica's House to have a potluck dinner with six other families involved in missions (long-term, short-term & support of the missions). It was so cool because the Keihl family was there on their way back from California. It was a blessing to see them and share time with all of the families! We were also asked to do a talk about our experience in the Philippines at the Spiritual Life Center next Monday (keep us in your prayers). Our family will represent Full-time missions, some other families will talk about short-term missions, and Jake Seymour (Diocese of Wichita's Family Life Office Director) will talk about how to be a missionary in your own home & community. We are excited about this opportunity to share our stories and blessings and hope for many more opportunities while we are back in the States. If you are in the Wichita area we would love to see you Monday night, July 28th, from 6 to 9 pm at the Spiritual Life Center. Please click here for more information and to register yourself or your family (there is no charge). We will also be at the Mid-west Catholic Family Conference from Aug. 1st - 3rd in Wichita, KS. We will have a Family Missions Company table so please come by and say hello! Click here for more information about the Conference.
Thank you to all of you who are praying for us and for supporting our missions! Thank you to all of you who made special donations towards our traveling expenses to return to the U.S. Please continue to pray for our family’s discernment as we pray about where God wants us to go into missions after the baby. We are praying about returning to Malaybalay or going to another mission post. Please know that all of you are in our prayers!
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
We visited the group of missionary women on Camiguin Island. We had such a blessed time with them. The Island is beautiful, but VERY hot. We really enjoyed visiting with them and being inspired by their great missionary example.
|Overlooking Cagayan de Oro, from St. Peter's Convento, |
where Fr. Jo brought us to eat breakfast.
|On the ferry to Camiguin Island. It took about an hour |
and twenty minutes.
|sweet sisters on the ferry|
|Watching the boys who climb the ferries and jump into |
the water to pull in the ropes to tie it to the dock.
|A beautiful view of Camiguin.|
|enjoying the ride|
|Trying to stay cool.|
|Watching the cars unload from the ferry.|
|Visiting with Breana and Genevieve in their outdoor dining room.|
|At the waterfall for desert day.|
|Sisters swimming in the soda water pool. |
It was so refreshing on a hot day!
|Chilin' in Daddy's hammock.|
|Hannah looking at clams (6 out of 7 of the worlds |
species can be found in Camiguin).
|Passed out after a long day.|
|Hannah & Genevieve by the ocean.|
|Rebecca and Grace on the ferry back to CDO.|
|A beautiful view from the bus on the way |
back to Malaybalay.
One of the blessings of missionary life: more time together as a family. Thank you Jesus for this gift!
- Joshua 24: 15
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Sponsor a Student Program
We are very excited to be working with our mission team on an exciting new project. We have seen the great need in our community for education. Children whose families can not afford their school fees and school supplies drop out of school. Many never go back and grow up to be adults who can not read or write. The goal of our sponsorship program is to provide support for students to continue attending school.
What grades are we looking to get sponsors for?
- Elementary Students (K – 6)
- There is no Junior High School here & students graduate high school in grade 10. As of next year high school will be extended to grade 12. This could result in even more students not completing school.
- High School (7 – 10)
- Pre-school Students attending the Deaf School
- ALS (Alternative Learning School) for continuing education students
What can sponsorship help to cover?
- Sponsoring a student would help cover their school fees, school supplies, uniform, daily food needs, and transportation to and from school.
- For adult students in the ALS program it may also include a scholarship for their families living expenses.
How much does it cost to sponsor one student?
- Each students need is different
- We can match you with an individual student
- OR you can donate to the general fund.
Who needs sponsorship?
- We have several students currently needing sponsorship.
- I have posted their information and picture (if available) below.
How do I sponsor a student?
- If you would like to give the gift of education to a student in need please send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
- mailing address
- phone #
- Name of student you would like more information about
- We will contact you by e-mail.
- And begin praying for them today!
Remember that sending a student to school can be LIFE CHANGING. The cost to send a student to school in the Philippines is MUCH lower than in the United States. For some it is as little as $15 per month (for school supplies and transportation).
Please consider sponsoring a student. Perhaps you belong to an altar society, Knights of Columbus, Youth Group, College Ministry Group, Mom's Group, Book Club, etc. and you could sponsor a student as a group. Please pray for the students and for God's help in finding a sponsor.
Students waiting to be sponsored:
Age: 10, female
School: School for the Deaf
Grade: Pre-school level 2
Needs: school tuition, food stipend, travel expenses, basic items & vitamins
Age: 11, female
School: School for the Deaf
Grade: Pre-school level 2Needs: school tuition & food stipend
Grade: High School
Needs: transportation fees & income scholarship
Needs: transportation fees & income scholarship
|Name: Richun Mae |
(pictured with her father)
School: School for the Deaf
Needs: food stipend, transportation