Romania is half-a-world away from rural Iowa, but on Sunday morning, a Webster City native will give those attending Asbury United Methodist Church a glimpse of what life is like in the European country.
Tim Bailey, a 2000 Webster City High School graduate and the son of Doug and Nancy Bailey, plans to visit with church members Sunday via Skype near the end of the 10 a.m. church service. Bailey and his wife Caroline live and work as missionaries in Constanta, Romania. A dinner, hosted by the Asbury Youth Group, will be held following the service. Serving will be from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. and all proceeds will go to support the Bailey's work with children's homes and agricultural projects.
The couple has lived in Romania for two years. Before that, they had lived in Scotland.
Tim and Caroline Bailey work with childrens homes in Romania as part of their mission work.
"But I knew we'd eventually move to Romania," Tim Bailey said Thursday in a phone interview. He had visited the country many times and had grown to love the area and its culture.
"The area has a very Latin-feel. People are very friendly and everything moves at a slower pace and it's very social," he said. People visit neighbors homes and rarely leave without having a cup of coffee and cake, if not a meal.
Constanta, a city of 355,000 is situated on the coast of the Black Sea and in the summertime, the area is a popular spot for tourists who clamor to the beach. The area is very agricultural but the coastal city also boasts a large sea port. While the port sustains industry, there is still a great deal of unemployment, Bailey said.
The Bailey's are affiliated with Youth With A Mission, which has more than 20,000 volunteer staff members working in 1,100-plus locations around the world. The couple is also partnered with Project Romania Rescue. This organization has two children's homes and a day center. Caroline Bailey often helps at the day center, teaching and working with the youth. The center helps children who come from rough family situations, where there might be violence or other serious factors.
The Baileys also work closely with the boys and girls homes which help social orphans - those abandoned by their parents, or those who have runaway from difficult home lives, according to Tim Bailey. In some cases, parents bring their children to homes, recognizing they are unable to care for the children.
"We advocate on many levels with these children, teaching life skills like English, gardening and other things," he said. "Often, the children stay with us on the weekends."
That gives the children a sense of family, he said, and lets the couple continue to work on life skills with the youngsters.
Currently, the Baileys are working on developing a transition center for older youths. The home would help those teens that are nearly ready to leave the children's homes, continuing to teach life skills and offering vocational training.
The missionaries are also working on a unique agriculture project - aquaponics - which pairs fish growing with plant and vegetable gardening. Fish are raised in a tank of fish and the waste products are converted into plant food. Plants grow on rocks or clay in the closed cycle tank.
"This requires 10 percent of the resources that it takes to grow vegetables in the ground," Bailey said.
Their goal is to equip the children's homes with the tanks to not only grow food but possibly to generate funds.
The joy of working with the children is one of the main reasons the couple has chosen to live and work in Romania.
"We absolutely love the kids. We work with children where the odds are stacked against them and they become like our nieces and nephews. They become family," he said.
"The odds of them succeeding without someone to stand with them are not good," said Bailey. "The biggest thing for us is being able to love and help them in anyway we can - that's our heart."