Bailey Family May 2016

Bailey Family May 2016
Bailey Family May 2016 - Big Woods

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Humility We Need You

Since arriving here in Costa Rica we have attempted to learn how to live like those around us. As FMC missionaries we are called to live in solidarity with the poor. This started two years ago when we sold many of our things, or gave them away, as we prepared to leave our home, families and friends to move to Louisiana and become foreign missionaries.

The girls sleeping in our house in KS after selling most of
the furniture.

In the Philippines we were humbled on a daily basis by the poverty that was all around us. A trip to the store was always accompanied by someone asking for food. Sometimes it was the children who lived on the street with no parents to care for them. We encountered people who couldn’t even afford to buy a kilo of rice for their hungry family for less than what we would spend on a coffee or ice cream in the United States. Our decisions about what to buy for our family to eat or use was challenged by the knowledge of what our friends and community could and could not afford to buy for their families. It was a constant question in our minds (should I buy this?) and an opportunity to sacrifice and have true empathy for our brothers and sisters who suffer in poverty on a daily basis.
There were days when we were asked to give what we had (even what we needed for ourselves) so that we could give not from our surplus but from our own need.

Maricel and family in front of their new house we
were able to help build in the Philippines.

One of our most memorable experiences in the Philippines was the day we bought rice and some other things for our friend Maricel. As we were walking with her to her home Donovan accidently dropped the bag of rice into the dirt and the bag busted open. Our immediate reaction was that the rice was ruined and we would have to go buy some more. But as we turned around we saw Maricel bending down over the rice gently picking up each piece of rice and putting it back into the bag. What I saw as a little inconvenience she saw as her entire weeks’ worth of food in jeopardy. In her humility she wasn’t willing to waste the food that had been provided to her.

Now in Costa Rica we don’t see the poverty all around us in the same way as we did in the Philippines. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not here. It just looks different sometimes. Of course there are people here in great poverty living in makeshift homes and living off of very little. In the rural area where we live there are several different kinds of houses. Some are made from only wood slats with windows cut out. Others are made of cinder blocks and wood and others just cinder blocks. Some homes use fire to cook with and others have gas burners or even a full oven with stove top. Air conditioning is rare and many homes don’t even have screens or glass windows.

A log truck delivering wood from the farm. Most jobs
are manual labor in our town.

I was talking recently with someone about the average wage for people who live in this area. It turns out that most workers find jobs working the local farms (palms & wood) and make a little under $1.70 per hour. They work 12 hours a day and 6 days a week if there is enough work. When work is slow they don’t have a job and don’t get paid. For those who have full-time work it comes out to about $525 per month! Now this sounds low and especially because in most families only the father is working. Then add the fact that food costs about double here than it does in the states. So, for example, a carton of eggs costs $3.20 and a quart of milk $1. 

Picadillo and rice served at a fiesta.

To better understand what kind of prices these are I thought about what it would cost someone in the states working minimum-wage to buy the same items. So if you make $7.25 an hour and work the same amount of hours your monthly income is $2,244.60 before taxes. To buy a carton of eggs would be like spending $13.63 and a quart of milk $4.26 (a gallon would be $17.04), a loaf of bread $12.05 and a jar of Jif Peanut Butter $24.11! It makes sense why so many people eat mostly rice and beans with some vegetables, eggs and meat added as sides. It also makes sense why many people in Coopevega don’t have cars and walk or take the bus. Gas costs about $5 per gallon so that would be like paying over $20 per gallon!

Carne asada is a special treat because meat is so expensive.
Our family eats mostly vegetarian with an occasional
chicken or ground beef once a week.

Again the Lord is humbling us by asking all of us: What choices are you making when you shop for food? Do you appreciate what you have? Do you really need that? What can you give up so that you can give to someone who is in more need than you? Are you only giving from your surplus? These are questions I ask myself and struggle with.

And most importantly:
Do you know how much I love you and will provide for you what you need? Can you trust me to take care of you?

Humility is realizing that I cannot control everything. Humility is turning to the Lord and knowing that He is in control of my life. Humility we need you.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Exciting news and a great resource!

            Just when we need it most the Lord gives us what we need. Since returning from language school we spent a lot of time at home while Donovan recovered from Dengue fever. Then in November my mom came to Costa Rica to visit and we had an adventure travelling around the country and getting to know other parts of Costa Rica.

            We are so excited to announce that we will have a new family joining us here in mission in January! The Geerlings just finished Intake 2015 and through the guidance of the Holy Spirit are being sent to Costa Rica. We are so happy to be welcoming another missionary family and look forward to sharing the mission and living in community with them. Please pray for the Geerling family as they prepare to leave it all behind and move to Costa Rica.

John and Penny have been married for 12 years. They have been blessed with three beautiful daughters who are all 7 years old. Mary, Teresa and Catherine are currently in second grade.

            In January we will start two new mission opportunities here in Coopevega. We will be showing the Catholicism series once a month at church. We are also starting a monthly walking rosary around the town, with a mystery at 5 different houses. We hope that both of these opportunities will give people a chance to join us on this journey towards God. We are not here because we are perfect and have everything figured out. We are all broken and need the love of God to show us the way. We hope that our own witness to the mercy and love of God in our own lives will draw others closer to Him in their lives.

             It has been challenging at times, and especially so recently, to be the first family here "starting from scratch." We have questioned if we are "doing enough" and forget, at times, that laying a solid foundation takes time. I was reminded today by a beautiful friend that God loves me always no matter what. Those times that I am struggling and thinking that I am not good enough, worthy enough, a good enough missionary/mom/wife, I am reminded that these thoughts don't come from God. He doesn't put us down and give discouragement. God builds us up and encourages us. He loves us out of our own short comings and failures, out of our sins, and forgives with the greatest of mercy. It's funny how much I forget that truth while I am in the middle of beating myself up!

            And then this evening I received another reminder through a video in a great series on the Holy Spirit. Our friend Jonathan Weiss edited these videos and sent them to all the missionaries. The first episode is about God's love and a great place to start. Please take the time to watch this series. Watch it, spend time in silence, pray with it. Let the Holy Spirit speak to you during this Advent season. Click the website below and start with the first video: God is Love.


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Language School & Dengue Fever!


We were so blessed to attend Language School for 3 weeks in October. We drove 8 hours (7 hours plus a detour on a road that was blocked by a river) to the west coast to our Language School in Samara Beach.

Samara Beach was a beautiful cove surrounded by coral reef.

 Donovan and I attended classes during the day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. We stayed in a homestay home with our Mama Tica Dona Jenny. 

Felicity & Dona Jenny hangin' out in the hammock.

She prepared breakfast and dinner for our family each day, helped clean the house, and wash the clothes daily. This was a huge help for us to be able to have the time to attend classes, do homework and study. 

Intercultura: Our language school

We both placed in the same level and felt that we progressed well over the course of 3 weeks. The school was literally on the beach allowing us the opportunity to visit the beach daily. 

The campus was right on the beach.

A view from the campus.

Ready for the beach!

Agua dulce (sweet water = fresh water)
from the river runs into the ocean.

Low tide was the perfect time to check out the tide pools.

We all had a blast surfing, boogie boarding, swimming, walking on the beach 
and building sand castles.

Catherine and Grace practicing for the real thing.

The girls were so good at surfing!

Donovan taking a surf lesson.

I decided to take some individual shots since we don't do school pictures. They are all getting so big. Looking at all these pictures reminds me how much God has blessed us with our children.

Hannah - 12

Catherine - 10

Grace - 7

Felicity - 5

Gabriel - 12 months (in October)

The girls being creative with a deck of cards. It's amazing what their
imagination does when they have no tv to hold them back.

We returned to Coopevega with a much larger vocabulary and the ability to speak and understand more Spanish. After language school I was able to hear different accents that I hadn’t even noticed before. We are continuing to practice with each other and our friends and community. We are thankful to be able to better communicate with the people God has sent us to serve. We still have much practice to do but we are encouraged as we press forward in this journey towards becoming bi-lingual!

The day after returning home Donovan was exhausted. We thought it was just the packing, travelling and all the learning and studying. But the next day on my birthday he started to have body aches. After another day he developed a fever and a rash. At that point we researched on the internet and “self-diagnosed” Dengue Fever. Dengue is transmitted by an infected mosquito. We went to the clinic here in town and were told to travel an hour away to Santa Rosa for a blood test. Even though there is a blood test available in the U.S. for Dengue it was not available here. Instead the doctor did a blood panel and looked at things like hemoglobin, white blood cells and platelet count. He confirmed that it was Dengue and told us we would need to return each day for 3 days for the same test. They wanted to make sure his platelet count was getting higher and not going down. For a small % of people Dengue can turn into Dengue hemorrhagic fever which turns dangerous quickly. Since Donovan was feeling very sick and the drive home was an hour away on a very bumpy road we decided to stay at a motel near the clinic and let Donovan rest. His pain, fever and rash went away and he had good readings on his blood tests. We returned home the day before Donovan’s birthday and he continued to rest. It has now been almost a month since he first came down with Dengue and he seems to be back to normal. Praise the Lord!

This experience is yet another reminder to us that we trust all things to the Lord. We are not in control. As missionaries we give everything to God and trust that He knows what we need. To trust in the Lord is a daily habit that we must practice. We are on a lifelong journey of surrender and trust. I am often reminded here in Costa Rica of the prayer of St. Teresa of Avila:

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Visits with the Bishop Day 3: Prayer Partners NEEDED!!!

Ok! This is the third and final post on visiting communities with the Bishop. Please prayerfully consider becoming a prayer partner with us to lift up these communities in prayer! We are looking for prayer partners willing to pray for one specific chapel/community on a daily basis. 

Join us in this mission.

Day Three:

Chamorro – Patron Saint: San Juan El Bautista
There are 4 families. They receive Mass once a month. The people work in dairy farms.

Children really do make the best missionaries!

Chorreras – Patron Saint: San Juan Pablo II
The community has no church building and meets in the school. They receive Mass once a month. This community is located just across the river from the Nicaraguan border. The road is very bad and difficult to travel (even more so than the roads to the other communities). The people farm and fish but don’t have a lot of work.

On the road again!
Travelling to Chorreras (the farthest community) which is
located near the Nicaraguan border.

The school building where they meet for church.

Making friends with Fr. Alvaro.

This class is converted for Mass when needed.

A view of the San Juan River and Nicaragua on the other side.

Muddy roads make travelling to and from the
community difficult for people who live here.

Moravia – Patron Saint: San Jose
This community has around 70 families.

The largest church building we visited.

Limoncito – Patron Saint: San Miguel
This community is very small and meets in a home.

Sitting with the Bishop and visiting with
some community members.

A small altar set up on the front porch of a house.

Coopevega - Patron Saint Our Lady of the Angels - Our Home Parish
Our parish has Mass once a week on Saturday evening. Fr. Julio stays in Coopevega for 4 days a week to provide Mass to the nearby communities.

Saturday evening we celebrated Confirmation for all the communities together in Coopevega. There were 25 students and about 10 couples in the marriage preparation classes.

The church was packed! People sat in chairs and stood outside.

Please pray for these communities. If you would like to specifically commit to one of these communities for the next year please e-mail me or leave a message in the comment section below. As Ms. Genie says, “Prayer is the MOST we can do!” These communities need your prayers. Join us as we support them with our prayers.

God Bless you all! Have a beautiful weekend!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Community visits with the Bishop Day 2

Can you imagine not being able to go to Mass every Sunday? There is no daily Mass and adoration may occur once a month if at all. Until recently our family has always had the ability to attend Sunday Mass. But last week we were in Samara for language school. We arrived Sunday morning for Mass and then realized it was a communion service. It was the first time we weren't able to go to Mass and it was so strange. It really felt like we were missing something! I though about all the Masses that day that were occurring in Wichita ALL over the city at all times of the day and how many times I had taken those opportunities for granted.

Many of the communities we shared with you in our last post and the communities we will share in this and our next post are communities in this same situation. Many of them only get mass once or twice a month. There is no daily mass. These communities and these people need your prayers.

Please consider being a prayer partner to support and lift up one of these communities in your daily prayers. 


Day Two:
The next day started again at 8 am as we headed out to 5 communities and 2 schools. We started first with the schools in Coopevega (where we live). Both schools are fairly small. Class sizes are around 15 - 20 students.

El Colegio de Coopevega (Coopevega High School)

 La Escuela de Coopevega (Coopevega Elementary - where the girls attend)

Here we are standing in Grace's classroom (her teacher is
on the right) with students from other classes as well.

El Carmen – Patron Saint: La Virgen de Carmen
There are about 30 families in this community. They receive Mass twice a month. Many of the families sell cheese to earn an income. One of 2 churches without electricity.

The children of El Carmen

The Bishops new friend Gabriel pointing to Jesus
on the Bishops pectoral cross. 

A common sight in Costa Rica.

Amazing views from the road

San Vito – Patron Saint: San Caralampio
This community has around 50 families. They receive Mass once a week. Many families sell cream, milk and wood.

Many of the churches are built simply with wood and cement. The floors are tile or cement. The benches are made of wood and so are the kneelers (if there are any). Of course there is no air conditioning. Some have fans and others don't. The altars are sometimes a wooden table or cement.

Our friend (and translator) Claudia from Mexico.
She is a missionary living in Coopevega
with the Missionary Sisters.

San Fernando – Patron Saint: La Immaculata
This community is very small with only 7 families. They don’t have a church building and instead meet in the school. They work on farms with palms and animals.

The sky was so beautiful that day!

The school where they meet for Mass.

A view of the river from the school.
When it rains the road is washed out and
the only way in and out of the town is by boat.

La Cascada – Patron Saint: San Miguel
This community is also small with around 8 families. They receive Mass every 2 weeks. Many are out of work. This is the 2nd church without electricity.

San Francisco – Patron Saint: San Francisco
This community has around 7 families. They work on farms with wood and animals.

All the children dressed in white for the Bishops visit
and the church was lit with candles. It was so beautiful!

This girls is growing up so fast! She is already
taller than me! Me being Blair and not Donovan
of course! ;)

Please consider being a prayer partner with us to lift up theses communities and beautiful people in daily prayer. Pray about it. Choose a community. E-mail me and let me know which one you are praying for.

And remember, there is still one more post of communities I would like to share with you.

To be continued...