Ministry by missions and thrift
With a dangerously high fever, the infant was suffering immensely. There was no time to be seen by the sole doctor with around 800 others waiting, hoping to be cured. Asking God to heal this child, she held the infant and put her hands on the tiny body and prayed. She prayed until the fever broke, the sweat dried and the mother cried with joy. A miracle.
Bailey McKay, 18, is a full-time Christian missionary with a heart called to serve. Bailey lives in Wilsonville and attends River West Church in Lake Oswego.
"I was created to be a bold speaker of truth," Bailey said. "I was created to be an evangelist. I was created with a really compassionate heart."
McKay is the oldest of 11 children, seven biological and four adopted, all raised in a Christain home. Her mother Alison said she always knew Bailey would have a great purpose after originally thinking she would never bear children after having stage 4 Hodgkin's Lymphoma. While pregnant with Bailey, Alison heard God tell her that her daughter would be an evangelist and preach the gospel.
"Even at two years old Bailey was so burdened for others to know Jesus. She has always been bold about her faith and has a deep compassion for others," Alison said.
Bailey, along with her siblings, was homeschooled and while her mother taught her geography at the age of six she said God called her heart to Haiti. Years later the 2010 earthquake struck Haiti and subsequently Bailey's heart. She said she felt her own people were suffering and was called to help.
Bailey involved her community in creating fundraisers and an auction to raise money for relief efforts in Haiti. A hefty lemonade stand also amounted to around $1,000 of funds for the cause. Bailey began sponsoring a Haitian child who she saw during her two trips to Haiti in seventh and tenth grade.
Upon her return from her first trip, Bailey shared news with her family — her calling for long term missions for the duration of her life. She has completely surrendered to God and is obedient in her discipleship training as a follower of Jesus.
"Yes I would be considered religious, but I am not bound by religion," she said. "Religion is dead, but Jesus is alive and I will follow Jesus."
Having graduated high school in 2018, Bailey is now juggling two jobs; working at Salt & Straw and running her thrift resale business, which is one of her forms of ministry. Bailey's Threads is an Instagram platform she uses to resell thrifted clothing in order to fund the missions and trainings of her friends. Her account was born of her love of thrifting since seventh grade and she said she loves restoring dignity in girls who may not be able to buy new name brand clothing. Using social media as a ministry is important to Bailey to bring hope and healing to others.
"It has been really cool to use my business as an avenue to meet a ton of different girls online and pour into them," Mckay said. "So many people have opened up and asked me questions about Jesus and I really do see this as a full-time ministry for me."
Bailey sells about 16 items a week and also has flash sales. OnJuly 13 she held a pop-up shop in her parent's studio with over a thousand items. Bailey hopes to host more open house-type sales to eliminate post office runs and shipping fees. In order to keep up with the demand from now over 7,000 followers, Bailey was sometimes shopping 5-6 hour days four times a week. Now she thrifts part time.
Bailey donates about 80% of proceeds to her friends in missions and the rest is used for buying more inventory and covering shipping costs. Recently a small amount has been saved for Bailey's upcoming mission tour to speak at college campuses with the group Circuit Riders.
Bailey was not always steadfast in her faith. She transferred to West Side Christain High School as a junior as she is an extrovert and wanted a more social academic experience. Bailey said she put her life's purpose on the back burner to apply herself in a new setting, but that this led to the darkest years of her life.
"I should have been on antidepressants but I rarely express my brokenness to others as I am a source of support for so many," Bailey said.
McKay said her deviation from the Lord forged a spiritual warfare involving self-hatred, depression and anxiety. Mckay said she knew she hit rock bottom when she got in a car accident and thought her death may have not been the worst thing.
After graduating Bailey sought purpose in her life and consequently enrolled in a discipleship training school in Kona, Hawaii through Youth With A Mission (YWAM). For three months she learned to walk like a disciple of Jesus before she was sent on a mission in Papua New Guinea. There she preached on street corners, shared her testimony in mango orchards and in public spaces, and worked to heal others with her faith — all while living on a medical ship that shored at many remote islands. Her group distributed Bibles, soaps and medicines while speaking with people who may have otherwise never heard of Christianity.
Miracles such as gifting sight to the blind, curing deafness and reviving movement from paralysis were all done through Bailey.
"I do not alone have any special powers," she said. "God alone heals and I will believe that until the day that I die because I have seen people walk out of wheelchairs and I have asked for rain and seen it fall from the sky."
In September she will begin training for Circuit Riders in Huntington Beach, California before caravaning around a region of the U.S. speaking to students with the tour "Carry the Love."
Bailey will be on tour for eight months, apart from her family.
"We share Bailey's light with the world very openly," Alison said. "We raise all of our kids to go out and use their life to serve others."
To connect with Bailey's Threads find her on instagram @baileysthreads_
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