Backpack Ministry: January and February 2021

Happy New Year! Everyone is praying for 2021 to be the year of returning to a more normal life.

Our Backpack Ministry was busy in December shopping for gifts to send to our 21 children. We had lots of volunteers who searched to find the prefect gifts for each child. When everything as wrapped and returned to the church it took two trucks to transport them to the school! Thank you volunteers for your time and talents to complete this project.

Thanks to everyone who donated money, food or prayed for our Backpack Ministry and the children served.

For the months of January and February please donate cans of beans.

Facing Problems Head-On

by Rev Robert A Wendel

“The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1 “Do not worry about anything but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” Philippians 4:6.

Looking through my life of sermon illustrations, I read the following story. An old cowboy remembered “Hereford cattle taught me an important lesson. Winter storms took a heavy toll on the herds. Strong winds piled show into huge drifts. Most of the herd would turn their backs into the icy blasts. Herefords, however, would face the winds head-on and survive the season, teaching us humans to have courage to face life’s problems directly.”

Many people think living would be better if they had fewer problems. It’s easy to think of a place where no one has problems – the cemetery. Problems are a sign of life. I would risk saying that the more problems you have, the more alive you are. We might as well face the hard cold fact that you and I will have setbacks until we die. The story of Job says “Men (and women) are born into trouble.” (Job 5:7). The Gospel of John relates “In the world we will have tribulation.” (John 16:33).

The Bible also says “Be of good cheer! I have overcome the world.” This is what you and I can do. I want to assure you that we need fear no problems on earth, but with God’s help we can overcome them, however formidable they may appear to be. So don’t fear a problem – solve it. A psychologist is reported to have said “The chief duty of a human being is to endure life”

My father broke his arm when he was a teenager. To save his arm, doctors inserted a silver plate which pained him the rest of his life. To provide an example for his six children, he lived above his own circumstances, never letting on about his chronic discomfort. No matter the setbacks, he lived a meaningful life, regardless of his boyhood affliction. He mastered his personal problem, until his death at age 53 from cancer.

Dr. Norman Vincent Peale advised, “Never give up. Keep at it. Keep praying. Keep believing. Keep thinking until the answer comes. “Remember, the darkest hour is often just before the dawn.”

Operation Christmas Child 2021

Well, we’ve turned the page to another year and said good-bye to 2020 (thank goodness). We survived collection week with all of the COVID restrictions and did quite well. While our number was down from last year, each and every shoebox that was put into a carton will be a blessing to the child who receives it. This child will probably hear the name of Jesus for the first time in his or her life and what an impact that will bring.

This collection year marks officially the 20th year we have been doing shoeboxes here at FBC and what a blessing it has been. Just imagine how many lives have been changed over those 20 years. It’s astounding. We’ve had some fun times and some challenges but with God’s help we’ve gotten through them. I thank all of you who have packed a box, worked in our collection center or loaded a truck, sometimes at 6:00 AM on a cold Saturday morning. Without your help, none of this would have happened.

Looking forward to the 2021 collection season, let’s start the months of January and February by donating bar soap and washcloths. This not only cleans the outer body but starts the process of sharing God’s love through the power of that shoebox that you will pack. Thank you again and God bless you.

Helping Hands: What a Blessing!

Praise God for all the blessings we have received over the past several months and for the many, many donations of food, blankets and coats. We have been able to help countless people and families through your generosity. We also want to thank all of those who helped with our Christmas toy give-away last month. There again we helped families with toys and a treat bag for the children. What a blessing.

As always, we continue to need blankets and coats through the winter months. Basically as soon as we put these items out – they are gone and keeping someone warm this winter. Your food and clothing donations are also a great help. Clothing donations are only being taken on Tuesday’s at Helping Hands. Food and clothing donations can also be left at the church.

Finally, we ask that you keep us in your prayers through these winter months. Our mission grows almost daily and your prayers are what keeps us going. God bless each and every one of you.

ABW: Quarters for Grades

Even though the Lizzie Lewis Circle is not meeting currently, one of our mission projects is Quarters for Grades for Weirton Christian Center. These quarters are accumulated and then sent to the school to be distributed to the children as a reward for good grades. If you would care to participate in this project, just put your quarters in an envelope and mark it Quarters for Weirton and we will see that it gets to the right place once we reach $100.00.

We also continue to collect used postage stamps for another mission project. There is a box in the church office on the counter for these. Just cut them off the envelope, leaving an edge around it, and drop it in the church office.

Always know where the exit is!

by Rev Doc Adkins

This is a crazy thing to remember…When I was a kid I can remember a teacher telling us that anytime we went anywhere in a public building that you should always know where the exits are–that you should always make a mental note of it when you sit in your seat for whatever function it is. And I remember being told that you just don’t look for the nearest one, but that you make that mental note of all of them that you see, because for some reason you may not be able to get out at the nearest one in an emergency.

I guess that was good advice, and I have always remembered it, especially when going to a big concert or big event in a huge building. Hey! If there is going to be a mass exodus–I don’t want to be the one left behind.

Yeah. Maybe I’m just weird and nobody else thinks like that, but you always have to sit and think about something quietly while waiting for a function to start. Me? I look around and familiarize myself with the building. Okay, I look at people too. Wow! There are some strange people in this world! How about we say I’m observant, not weird.

At this time of the year we are thinking about all our plans for the New Year. It’s so easy for me to get caught up in all the little nuances of life. Little tiny details tend to slow me down so that sometimes I can’t see the big picture. I need some exits!

So I was thinking I need some exit strategies. You know, I need to be able to have some alternative plans if things don’t go too accordingly. I need something to think about to recall me to be focused on the task at hand. I need to bring myself out of the rabbit trails that I chase. I need to plan and prepare. I need to keep on a schedule and all those things. I’ve got to stop getting side-tracked because time goes so quickly.

1 Corinthians 10:13. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

I know I need some exit strategies where my planning and organization is concerned, but what’s important is that for the New Year is that I don’t forget to have those exit strategies in place in my spiritual life. I have to be prepared.

My Spiritual Emergency Exit Strategies.

  1. Submit to God. (James 4:7)
  2. Have a strong prayer life. (Matthew 26:41)
  3. Know God’s Word. (Hebrews 4:12)
  4. Keep good company. (1 Corinthians 15:33)
  5. Be more like Christ. (Romans 13:14)
  6. Go in God’s strength–not my own. (Ephesians 6:10-18)
  7. Be watchful. (1 Peter 5:8)

Helping Hands: Continuing to Reach Out

As the calendar turns to the last month of 2020, Helping Hands continues to reach out to the less fortunate here in Beckley and Raleigh County with food and clothing.

Our clothing room is now open Wednesday and Thursday from 9:00 until noon to serve our clients. We are taking clothing donations on Tuesday’s only until further notice.

Non-perishable food items are a constant need. Your donations can be brought to Helping Hands Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 until noon or left in the black container outside the church office.

We have several projects ongoing at the moment. The first is our coat and blanket drive. With the weather turning colder, our clients are in need of new or gently used blankets and coats for men, women and children. Blankets seem to go out as quickly as they come in and coats are also in demand. These donations can be left in the black container outside the church office or brought to Helping Hands.

Our second project involves creating treat bags for our kids for Christmas. Right now we are in need of apples, M&M’s, toothbrushes & toothpaste. The non-perishable items can be brought to the church between Dec. 13th & 17th. The fruit can be brought between Dec. 15th & 17th.

Finally, we would like to thank all of you for your donations throughout the year. With God’s help, you have made it possible for us to continue to serve our clients and we look forward to continuing this in the coming year. God bless you all and have a Merry, Merry Christmas.

Christmas: A Season of Hope

by Rev Robert A Wendel

If we walk in the light as He himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you. (I John 1:7, Ephesians 1:18).

Every single year the season of Christmas comes slowly upon us. One of the joys of the season is to see holiday displays of many types. Before my 10th birthday I remember making the one hour trip to Pittsburgh to see store window displays and the large city Christmas tree. Much, much later, I enjoyed witnessing seasonal activities in Bethlehem, Pa. and, of course, there were the Christmas Eve services in the churches I pastored. All of these experiencers involved lights. An undercurrent of hope stretched throughout December.

One Christmas tradition has been decorating the family Christmas tree. This custom began in England during the reign of Queen Victoria. One Christmas tree that I easily remember was the aluminum Christmas tree lit by a floor lamp during my teenage years. Another tree was the sanctuary tree formed by poinsettias in the church in Beckley. One drawback was coaxing families to retrieve their poinsettia when the season was over. These customs and traditions form a chain of memory in any Christian’s life.

During the season we celebrate how Almighty God allowed His Son to become a vulnerable child. May the Lord help us to see Him without distraction. “Open our eyes, so that we may behold wondrous things!” (Psalm 119:18).

“God of Hope, help me to be sensitive to those who mourn during the holy, holiday season. Let me speak a word or do a deed or share a tear that point to joy found in you. (Penney Schwab)

Operation Christmas Child: 2020 Final Report

by Debbie Vanaman

Well another year is in the books for our shoebox ministry and it was a challenging year to say the least but with God’s help we made it through.

Our final total of shoeboxes received from the Raleigh, Fayette and Wyoming counties was 2,611 shoeboxes. We need to remember it’s not all about the numbers. It’s about how many children will be blessed by these boxes and how far the name of Jesus will go around the world.

It’s time for me to thank everyone who packed a shoebox, brought it the items we collected during the year, worked in our Collection Center and helped load our truck. Without your help, this mission project would not succeed as it does each year. God put each of you right where you needed to be when you were needed and for this again I thank God and you for your support.

This was officially our 19th year as a collection center and I am prayerfully looking forward to next year and see what God has in store for this project. Please keep this program in your prayers as they continue distribution of these precious boxes to children around the world.

ABW: Quarters for Grades

Even though the Lizzie Lewis Circle is not meeting currently, one of our mission projects is Quarters for Grades for Weirton Christian Center. During November, we accumulated enough to send them $100 to be distributed to the children as a reward for good grades. If you would care to participate in this project, just put your quarters in an envelope and mark it Quarters for Weirton and we will see that it gets to the right place one we reach another $100.00.