A Snapshot from ABW

On Friday, September 18, 2020, the Young Adult Women’s Advisory Team (YAWMAT) of American Baptist Women’s Ministries (ABWM) hosted Paint and Soothe Your Soul. Women from across the nation gathered for a night of worship and creative expression. Worship centered around Psalm 131. Keynote speaker, Jasmin Figueroa encouraged participants to check in with their bodies and spirits during times of stress. Given the unique pressures of COVID-19 and its particular impact on women, one can be tempted to not mourn or seek help and comfort, to one’s own detriment. The Psalm reminds us to remember, especially in times of distress the image of God as a loving parent. Participants were blessed by the talent of Jessica Brooks whose musical selections reminded participants to draw close to God’s presence. Following worship, participants were led in painting by VaLorie Fogle (YaYa). YaYa taught painting fundamentals and encouraged each participant to explore their own unique way of replicating the artwork for the evening.

The young adult women’s ministries advisory team helps to coordinate and envision AB Women’s Ministries outreach and support for young adult women. ABWM holds regular events for young adult women; in the past, these events have included brunches, retreats, conferences, webinars, and spiritual pilgrimages. ABWM encourages young adult women to be involved in leadership and the ministries at all levels of the organization, as well as in their local churches and communities. To continue supporting programs, and workshops that ignite the faith-filled creativity of women, young adult women, and girls, please consider becoming a vital partner.

Prayer and Praise: Reaching for God

by Rev Robert A Wendel

Psalm 92:2, 34:1, 121:2, 93:3, 22:34 “Praise the Lord Ye that fear Him. They shall declare His righteousness unto a people that shall be born. One shall receive a blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his Salvation. (Geneva Bible).

I’ve had a life-time of learning to strike a fair balance between helping and supporting others and receiving the same from family, co-workers or friends. I easily remember being reminded that I should express my thankfulness more often,

During my Boy Scout days, I remember how the troop would fashion a crude wooden cross and have a short time of evening vespers prayer before we bedded down for the night at the campsite. We formed a circle, everyone got themselves calm, the scoutmaster offered a short meditation and together we sang the chorus “Day is Done, Gone the Sun.” It had been a good day.

In my later work as a church pastor, I often reminded myself that the best beginning of any prayer is to be thankful. Of course, we all have daily needs. But God also listens for our praise. Prayer was a regular exercise said before supper each night and as we six kids settled into bed each evening. Our simple supper grace was “We thank Thee God for the food upon our table. Amen.” We recited the bedtime prayer which begins “Now I lay me down to sleep….” First used in 1711. The general purpose of any prayer is to help us to connect with our Maker in a public or private way. There is no more encouraging habit.

During my grade school days, each weekday began with the pledge to the American flag, a brief Bible reading and the class saying the Lord’s Prayer. By Junior High School, such a routine was halted as unconstitutional, replaced by a brief silent prayer. Yet, still today, a chaplain or clergyperson opens each session of the U.S. House and Senate with prayer.

There are occasional events such as weddings, funerals and holiday observances along with school activities which punctuate our lives. Prayer is the spiritual glue.

“The same loving hand that created you and me. If He is your Father, he must be my Father too. We all belong to the same human family. Hindus, Muslims, Jews and Christians. All people are children of God.” Mother Teresa.

Collection Week is Just Around the Corner!

Now that the leaves are turning and the temperatures are more comfortable, our national collection week for shoeboxes is just around the corner in November. The national goal for shoeboxes this year is a whopping 11 million shoeboxes. While that sounds like an enormous figure, every shoebox collected from the U.S. and around the world helps us to reach that goal.

Children around the world need to hear the name of Jesus and this is one way that we here in Beckley, West Virginia can help. Your shoebox filled with school supplies, personal items and small toys shows that you care enough to share your love through what is inside. Please keep this mission project in your prayers as we endeavor to spread the name of Jesus.

We will be collecting small stuffed animals for the month of October.

Need is Growing Each Day

Helping Hands is continuing to serve the people of Beckley and Raleigh County where the need is growing on a daily basis. Many new clients have been helped by the generous donations of non-perishable food items as well as those who continue on a monthly basis to need food to feed their families. Your donations are greatly appreciated and we ask that you continue this through the fall. Donations can be left in the large black container outside the church office or taken directly to Helping Hands. They are open Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 to noon.

We are not taking any clothing donations at this time due to the regulations concerning their distribution and have no idea when this practice will resume again. We thank you for your prayers and support to the people who we serve and ask that you continue praying for this vital ministry to the community.

Up and Running!

Our Backpack Ministry started delivering food to Beckley Elementary on September 18th. Due to the COVID Virus we have had to make several changes. We must deliver the food on Fridays since there are no students in the building. We notify the office we are at the school and they send someone out to take the food bags inside. We are not allowed inside the building. They give the children their food on Tuesdays or Thursdays. Currently we have 17 children with more to be added.

We have been blessed with the gift of 363 jars of peanut butter given to us by Helping Hands. Kroger stores donated to Helping Hands peanut butter given by customers during a special Feed America campaign. Since Helping Hands had an abundance of peanut butter given to them they were kind enough to gift us 363 jars. They also donated 90 jars to Beckley Elementary for their emergency food pantry. Thanks to Helping Hands for sharing their bounty!

Thanks go to each one of you who has donated food, money or prayed for our Backpack Ministry and the children we feed. May God bless you all!

For the month of October please donate applesauce or fruit cups.

Letting Your Leaves Fall

by Pastor Doc Adkins

In just a few weeks I will have leaves from in the front yard dance across the porch and our driveway. My question about them is this, “where did they come from since we only have a little tree in our front yard and the leaves won’t match the ones on my yard”. Obliviously, I have neighbors. Yet, as their bright green color fades, it seems they fall almost as quickly as they change. We all know that in order to flourish in the new season, the tree must let go of its decayed leaves. They have performed well for the term, but their time has drawn to a close.

Autumn is a wonderful time to observe God’s nature. As I watch the swirling leaves stirred by the wind, I am reminded that they display an important lesson for all of us to follow suit in a way. Just as the trees don’t stubbornly hold on to their dead leaves, so we shouldn’t hold on to any unnecessary weight in our lives. When we long to enter a new season, the old can easily inhibit the new if we allow it. God’s Word reminds us to:

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:31,32 (NIV)

To get rid of negativity in our lives, we must first identify it. How can we do this?
By reading God’s Word.
By allowing His Spirit to show us the necessary heart changes we need.
By being willing to shun practices such as bitterness and anger.
By asking God to help us let go of the guilt from the past.

How the Lord longs to empower and strengthen us for the new season ahead! If we’re not sure of the issues detaining a kind and compassionate spirit, He will show us when we ask. And if guilt from the past is preventing this beautiful new season, we have His promises like this one to remember:

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18,19 (NIV)

What are you holding on to that is preventing a freshness to the season ahead? Could it be that the decayed leaves are piling up and your heart needs to discard them for good? If so, why not reach out to the Lord in prayer? He longs to hear from you. Ask Him to shine light on any thoughts, circumstances, habits or other “decayed leaves” you might be clinging to. As you watch the leaves fall this season, our prayer is that you are reminded to let go of anything that would hinder a fresh relationship with God.

We Appreciate Our Soldiers

Your help is needed to deliver hope and encouragement to our soldiers!

Through the month of October, we will be collecting notes and letters to send to our soldiers to remind them how much they’re appreciated. By sending notes, we can offer support to active, reserve and veteran military members.

These letters can be dropped off in the church office or you can mail them to the church. Your letters need to be into the church office by October 20th to leave time for the mail. Contact the church office for more details.

Let’s show our soldiers how much we appreciate their sacrifice.

School is About to Start

Schools are scheduled to open this month whether in the classroom or virtual classes. I have contacted the Guidance Counselor at Beckley Elementary School to tell her we are ready to provide food for our Backpack Kids. We are unsure as to how we will need to pack and deliver the backpacks but we will do whatever is necessary to provide food for the children’s weekends.

Thanks to everyone who has donated food or money for this ministry. We hope you will continue to pray for our Backpack Kids during these uncertain times. May God bless each of you.

For the month of September please donate packs of instant oatmeal.

The Mission Continues

by Debbie Vanaman

I know you probably have heard this at least a million times this year already, but 2020 has been quite a unique year. Operation Christmas Child is no different, but their mission still continues to spread the name of Christ and his salvation through the power of a simple shoebox. These shoeboxes are being distributed globally to children most of whom have never received a gift created just for them. This gift is also accompanied by a booklet called “The Greatest Journey” that tells them all about Jesus and how they can ask Jesus into their heart and many, many children have done just that. This then spreads to their families and villages and out from there.

We here at FBC have been involved in OCC for over 20 years and I am already preparing for who I hope will be a phenomenal collection week in November. For the month of September, I am asking for hairbrushes and combs. I need enough to fill 100 shoeboxes and currently have less than 20. So let’s help make this child feel beautiful on the outside with your help as well as inside with the name of Jesus in their heart. Please keep this this ministry in your prayers as they continue to spread the name of Jesus.

Need is Growing on Daily Basis

Helping Hands is continuing to serve the people of Beckley and Raleigh County where the need is growing on a daily basis. Many new clients have been helped by the generous donations of non-perishable food items as well as those who continue on a monthly basis to need food to feed their families. Your donations are greatly appreciated and we ask that you continue this through the fall. Donations can be left in the large black container outside the church office or taken directly to Helping Hands. They are open Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 to noon.

We are not taking any clothing donations at this time due to the regulations concerning their distribution and have no idea when this practice will resume again.

We thank you for your prayers and support to the people who we serve and ask that you continue praying for this vital ministry to the community.