by Norma Gunter
The American Baptist Women’s Ministry Focus for January, 2017 is See…Poverty in America. The scripture is Luke 16:19-31. “When we walk down the street, we see poverty everywhere: homeless men and women asking for food or money, anything that can help; families have no home, the parents wondering how they will provide for their children. But many of us glance over them as if they are part of the scenery. January is Poverty in America Awareness month, and hopefully we all see it.”
Here at First Baptist Church we are helping through Helping Hand Ministry. Many from FBC volunteer there handing out food & clothing. Others of us give food, clothing, house hold goods, etc. to Helping Hands. We can’t help everyone but if everyone would help someone it would go a long way. Maybe we could help more this month since it is Poverty in America Awareness month.
One group of people helping people in poverty around the world are our American Baptist USA International Missionaries. Beckley First Baptist Church supports seven missionaries each month and some of them have children. They need to know that we love and support them. In this new year, 2017, let us do a better job supporting these missionaries and their children with birthday greetings. letters and gifts.
This year we will be supporting a first time missionary family, Juan and Denise Aragon. Juan has been a part of the West Virginia Baptist Convention as Hispanic Ministries Strategist for several years. They will be serving in Chiapas, Mexico. “They will both work in training, prevention and education as they learn the community needs and look for ways to emotionally and economically empower leaders in their communities. Juan will focus on theological education and leadership training as he accompanies, coaches and disciples new church leaders. Denise’s ministry will seek to empower women, especially those who are victims of domestic abuse.” (from the ABCUSA web site) They have two small children, son Juancito and daughter Ziba. both born since they came to WV in 2008. They are now USA citizens and Juan has graduated from college. They are from Nicaragua and grew up with my friends there. He and his family will be missed but we are gaining new missionaries. They need help for they are only 37.6% supported. Individuals can help support them as well as churches.
Another missionary family with children that we support each month is Keith and Debbie Myers our missionaries in Central Mexico. They partner with the Council of Rural Indigenous Evangelical Churches to provide pastoral accompaniment to the indigenous churches. They train pastors, church leaders, youth leaders and teachers of children. They have two children: Boyden who is 18 and Baillie who is l7.
Next month I’ll tell you about our other families with children and the other missionaries we support. I’ll share ways we can let them know we love them. I’ll give you their address and birthdays so you can communicate with them.
May all of the First Baptist families have a blessed and happy NEW YEAR.