Bailey Family May 2016

Bailey Family May 2016
Bailey Family May 2016 - Big Woods

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Power of a Testimony

It was one of those days (well week really).
 I can relate Gabe.

I have to admit I was feeling pretty homesick last week. I miss my family, friends and some of the comforts of the American life. I was feeling down and beating myself up for not knowing enough Spanish, not doing enough ”mission work”, not being a better parent, and the list goes on. I was falling into a trap that the devil likes to set for all of us. But I didn’t realize it was happening. That was until I was asked to give my testimony. Fr. Julio asked Donovan and I to give our testimony at a church (San Joaquin) near our town in. In order to give our testimony we had to reflect back on what it is in our life that God has done. We made a simple outline based on the things we normally talk about in our testimony. We talked about it with each other and prayed together. And guess what? Reflecting on my testimony reminded ME of all the awesome things God has done in my life. It’s funny how sometimes I forget about the miracles and experiences I have been blessed with. That’s why it’s so important to know your testimony and GIVE it. It reminds you and glorifies God for others.

We were also able to give our testimony to our parish in Coopevega on Saturday. It was a great opportunity for people to learn more about us and why we are here. It was really blessed!

Our new friend Claudia translated our testimony.
She came to Coopevega to live with the sisters
for 10 months as a missionary. She is from
Mexico and we are so happy to have her

A personal testimony is a great way to share a personal story of how God has worked in your life. It is the perfect way to evangelize the Love of the Lord. Once I realized that all this negative thinking was not coming from God and was not good for me I was able to let go of it. The Lord always brings us consolation not desolation. Sometimes He will allow us to be tempted or experience the desolation of the devil, but He never abandons us and is with us through it all. If He does allow me to go through the desolation then it is so I can learn something and grow in grace and holiness. We have been listening to a great series online from It is a 16 talk series about Discernment of Spirits with Fr. Gallagher (who specializes in Ignatian Spirituality). I highly recommend you listen to it too. It’s great for on your way to work or the grocery store.

This reminds me of a verse I that has been on my heart lately.

“My grace is sufficient for you. For power is made perfect in weakness.” 
2 Corinthians 12:9

I am not strong enough for all of this on my own. I can’t do this by myself. I am too weak. But it is in these moments where I become weak that the Lord can do the most in me. It will be His strength that pushes me through, His strength that holds me up. If I am being proud, stubborn or self-focused then I don’t have any room for the Lord to work in me. It’s when I get out of my own way and welcome Him into my heart and life that He makes me strong. PRAISE THE LORD!!!

So now I ask you: What is your testimony? What has God done in your life? What miracle, conversion or personal encounter with the Lord can you share with others? Now pray about, write it down and go share it!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Picture Blog!

Gabriel is getting so big!
He will be 1 on October 4th!

Cheese! I love it when he smiles with
 those pearly whites!

Celebrating the Feast of St. Rose of Lima with the Bishop!

Felicity's middle name is Rose. Her sisters named er after
St. Rose of Lima.

The girls learned about St. Rose and lots of other saints from Glory Story CDs.These audio stories teach the kids (and the adults) about the lives of the Saints. Check them out here:
Our family loves them :)

Santa Rosa is a town about 1 hour away from our house. It is
the main church in our area and where the priests live who serve
the vicinity (including Coopevega and the surrounding pueblos.

Enjoying lunch after Mass at the Santa Rosa Fiesta.

Anytime a church celebrates its patron saint there is always a fiesta and food!

We ate picadillo with rice and tortillas. There are many ways to
prepare picadillo in Costa Rica. This variety had pork and potatoes.
Muy Rico!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Pony Race, Nicaragua, & a Missionary Blessing

Getting ready for the race!

Last Sunday there was another fiesta/fundraiser at our Parish. The whole month of August the church celebrates our patron, Our Lady of the Angels. As always, there was food (tamales, arroz con pollo, arroz con picadillo, soup). In the morning the 3 younger girls participated in the children’s stick pony race. 

Felicity with the homemade horse and the
bag she won.

And they're off! They raced around the block starting and
 ending at the church.

We didn’t know that we were supposed to bring our own pony and showed up without them. Sr. Claudia was so sweet and went to find us something we could use. They found one pony and then another lady from the church made one right there for Felicity. Catherine had to run with a broom but she still had lots of fun. Catherine was the winner with Grace close behind.

Catherine won a homemade pillow.

We also got to play Bingo with corn kernels.

Hangin' out with mama.

The cutest smile!!!

It wouldn't be a fiesta without the music! Click below to watch this baby dance!

On Wednesday we had to travel to Nicaragua to renew our visas. As U.S. citizens we are granted a 90 day travel visa. In order to renew the visa we must leave the country. The Nicaraguan border is about 2 hours from our house. We drove to the border with Sr. Karen, Sr. Claudia and Christian, a kind man who offered to drive our car home for us. Crossing the border took about 2 hours and then we had a 30 minute drive to a nearby town where we had a hotel room in a very simple hotel.

Sr. Karen is from Nicaragua and had to go on to her hometown about 5 hours away. (Sr. Claudia had not crossed the border because she drove the other vehicle back to Coopevega.) We walked around the town and found a church very close as well as a wonderful park for the kids to play at.

They all loved the park.

Queen of the Castle!

Hangin' out!

 Just up the street was the Rio Juan (which looked more like a very large lake or the ocean to us). It is a popular place for tourists to visit and ride in boats along the river.

On Thursday morning we attended Mass at 7 am. We could hear the bells and music being played from the church at 6:30 (very much like they do in the Philippines). During Mass one of the altar servers approached us and asked for our names and where we were from. He wanted me to write it down for the priest. At the end of Mass the priest introduced our family and told everyone that we were Catholic Missionaries. He presented each of us with a rosary necklace and then blessed us all with holy water. It was such a blessing to be welcomed so kindly by this priest and church were we had never been before.

There was a small Eucharistic procession after Mass.

Us at the church down the street from our hotel.
St. Charles Borromeo

We were able to return to Costa Rica yesterday. It was a little faster crossing back and we had no problems.

The Lord knows how to remind us of our calling to missionary life in unexpected ways. He often uses people and places around us to show us the way. Thank you Jesus for a safe and fruitful trip to Nicaragua!

These are just too cute! I had to include them :) 

This girl can eat! Watch out banana pancake sandwich!

She was so proud of her yummy breakfast creation at
the hotel restaurant!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Oh the Places You’ll Go (and the things you will eat)!

Image result for dr seuss oh the places you'll go

There is a funny looking fruit here that reminds us of Dr. Suess. When I saw this fruit I immediately thought of my favorite Dr. Suess book, Oh the Places You’ll Go. When Donovan and I were moving away from California to Kansas for the first time my college roommate Christina gave us a copy of Oh the Places You’ll Go. It was something we read to Hannah all the time and when she was 18 months old she had memorized the whole thing! It was the cutest thing to hear in her little baby voice, “98 and ¾ percent guaranteed!”  

The rambutan originates in Asia. We ate them in
the Philippines on occasion.

As we ate this sweet tasting fruit I thought about how many places we have gone that I never would have expected! I never would have thought 12 years ago that we would be foreign missionaries living in Costa Rica who had the year before lived in the Philippines (with some stints in Wichita, KS and Abbeville, LA).

Felicity & Grace in front of Pablo's pineapples in his garden.

Going to different places we have found that we always miss the food that we are used to eating. It was a challenge in the Philippines and we are finding that it is also a challenge here in Costa Rica. It reminds us yet again that we have such a different experience in the United States than many other places in the world. The amount of access we have to pretty much ANYTHING we want is everywhere. We have so many choices and options (an entire aisle of different cereals for example).

A new pineapple starting to grow. If you break the
 stem of the  top of a pineapple and plant it,
 it will produce 1 pineapple. 

This one is ready! 

Pablo gave us his pineapple and we just
enjoyed it for lunch!

It’s a challenge to go from being able to eat whatever you want whenever you want it to figuring out what your family can eat, how to prepare it and where to buy it. We have two grocery stores in Coopevega which are more like large convenience stores. Over the past 7 weeks I have been trying to learn new recipes with the food that is common here (rice, beans, fruits and vegetables). The cost of food is about double what you would pay in the U.S. A liter of ice cream is $10 L! So that is reserved for special occasions only and we are finding ways to make food we enjoy with the staples we have (eggs, beans, rice, oats, milk, butter, fruits like mango, pineapple, papaya and bananas, veggies like garlic, onions, avocados and sweet peppers, and a little meat – usually chicken).

Two of my favorite Costa Rican recipes are Arroz con Pollo and Pinto Gallo. These are common dishes for locals here and many eat Gallo Pinto for breakfast. Rice is served at every meal (just like the Philippines).  Here are the recipes for both dishes so you can try them at your house. Both are inexpensive to make and require simple ingredients.

So far our favorite tico dish! I like to serve it with
a side of black beans.
Arroz Con Pollo (rice with chicken)
Sauté the following in butter or oil:
* 2 diced red or green peppers &
* 1 diced large onion
Then add & sauté together:
*4 - 8 cloves of garlic minced or chopped
* 1 handful of chopped cilantro
Add & gently fry (you may need to add more oil or butter):
* 8 cups of cooked rice
Lastly mix in:
* ½ cup tomato sauce (like Prego)
* 1/4 cup chicken broth (optional)
(optional: for authentic Costa Rican flavor add 1 tablespoon Achiote paste)
* 1 tsp. salt
* 2 tsp garlic powder
* 1 tsp onion powder
* 2 cups shredded chicken

Really yummy with avocado slices or guacamole and a fresh tortilla!
Gallo Pinto
Sauté the following in butter or oil:
* 2 diced red or green peppers 
* 1 diced large onion
Then add & sauté together:
* 4 - 8 cloves of garlic minced 
*1 handful of chopped cilantro
Add & gently fry (you may need to add more oil or butter):
*8 cups of cooked rice
Lastly mix in:
* 2 cups cooked black beans (or 1 can)
* 1 tsp salt

For those of you who know me I love to bake sweet things. So I have been trying some recipes that use the staples we have here and are a healthier version of the original. Two of my favorites are Black Bean Brownies and Chocolate-Chip Cookie Pie. Both are made without flour and use beans instead (which gives your dessert a boost of protein)! I didn’t come up with the recipes myself, but found them on my favorite healthy dessert blog: Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her recipes are usually vegan (which I am not) so I use butter instead of oil. Try making these and don’t tell anyone what you used. See if they notice a difference. Katie says no one ever notices, but Donovan always seems to J (probably because he is not a bean fan). But the chocolate-chip cookie pie does seem to be growing on him!

Chocolate-Chip Cookie Pie
2 cans white beans or garbanzos (drained and rinsed) (I use 2/12 to 3 cups homemade)
1 cup oats (regular or quick)
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce or 1-2 eggs
3 tbsp oil or melted butter
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 and 1/2 cups brown sugar (I use half of this)
1 cup chocolate chips

Blend everything (except the chips) very well in a good food processor (not a blender). Mix in chips, and pour into an oiled pan or pie plate. Cook at 350 F for around 35-40 minutes. Let stand at least 10 minutes before removing from the pan.

Black Bean Brownies

Click here for the recipe!

Aaaand the brownies are GONE! Yum!

I know that for a long time I was afraid to be a missionary. I had my own plans for myself and my life. I didn't realize that the plans God had for me would be much greater than the plans I had made for myself. Following where God leads isn't always easy. It can be the most challenging thing you've ever done. He wants to stretch you, take you out of your comfort zone and take off the blinders. He wants you to see what He has for you. I hope that you too can step out in faith and see all the amazing places God wants to take you! 

"For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope. When you call me, and come and pray to me, I will listen to you. When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me..."
Jeremiah 29: 11-13

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Boots, Patron Saint Fiesta, New School and English fiesta!

The girls love to play outside in the yard in the mud, in the rocks, riding bikes and making friends!

 We see these boots all over town because they are perfect for all the rain and mud!

Last Sunday we made a car pilgrimage to San Juaquine to celebrate the feast of St. Joaquin and Anne. Patron feasts are special events in Costa Rica and each church has a fiesta when their patron saint has their feast day.

Each church who pilgrimaged brought their patron along. Here
we are following our patron Our Lady of the Angels.

Even the cows on the side of the road wanted to join in.

A beautiful view on the way back to our house. 

Tomorrow Donovan and some of the girls will be going with parishoners back to San Joaquin to bring the Our Lady of the Angels statue to our parish for the celebration of our patron who is also the patron of Costa Rica. They will ride the 10 KM to the other church and walk back. We expect to have hundreds if not thousands of pilgrims in Coopevega tomorrow!

The girls started school last Monday. It was so cute to see how excited they were to go for their first day of school. Not only was it their first day of school in Costa Rica, but for all of them except Hannah it was their first day EVER in a school (all have been home schooled). We hope that this will be a great way for the girls to learn Spanish and make friends. Both are happening already!

Felicity cutie pie! 

Grace excited and nervous all at the same

Catherine working on homework. 

Yesterday we were in Florencia at an elementary school for their English fiesta. Donovan was asked to be a judge for the English spelling bee, we were entertained by various class presentations and we were able to share a short testimony with students about being a family in missions. The national religion in Costa Rica is Catholic and students take religion class in public school. Yet, for many their religion can be more cultural than personal.

Donovan's arm is in a sling so Catherine helped hold the word 
cards for him to read to the contestants.

Gabriel is always the most popular missionary.
The principle of the school held him for 2 
hours and even got him to take a nap. :)

Students in the lower grades doing a dance.

Here we are with our friend Roy (his wife Myrna 
is our Spanish teacher). He is an elementary school 
English teacher and he invited us to his school for the
fiesta and to share our testimony.

Have a blessed week. I hope to make posts on a weekly basis on Fridays. I know I haven't been so consistent with this so I am giving myself a weekly deadline! We would love to hear from you. Send us an e-mail or comment on the post. You are all in our prayers!