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.