Your Shoebox can Change a Child’s Life

by Debbie Vanaman

Something as small as a shoebox has the power to change a child’s life and it all starts with you.  OCC has been here at FBC for over 20 years and it has grown tremendously in those 20 years.  From collecting shoeboxes in what is now the choir room to the now demolished TCI building to the basement of the Wilkes Building to our current collection site in our Welcome Center thousands of shoeboxes have passed through our doors on their journey to children around the world.

Our collections during the year have been great and we just have a few more months to go until our youth will be filing shoeboxes with what you’ve donated.   During the month of September, we need girl’s hairbrushes and boys combs.  We also need small coloring books, markers and colored pencils to finish out our school supplies. You’ve been great in supplying these needs in the past and I am confident that you will continue with your donations. Collection week this year will be Nov. 13th through 17th and I’ll need your help during that week as well.

Just one final thing – due to rising costs of airplane fuel and transportation costs, the amount that is needed for each shoebox has been increased from $7.00 to $9.00.   If you are unable to pack a shoebox or wish do make a monetary donation, this would be a great way to share in the blessings that shoeboxes bring to children, some of whom may never heard the name of Jesus Christ.  Please keep this project in your prayers year-round as these shoeboxes travel around the world and spread the name of Jesus Christ to these children and their families.

Practicing Prayer

by Rev Robert A Wendel

Nehemiah prayed, “I beseech thee, O Lord God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy from them that love him and observe his commandments:  Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes be open that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray now before thee for thy people… “ (Nehemiah 1:4-5, KVJ.)

Praying is never easy.  Praying out loud, in public, is even harder.  I remember being asked to offer grace before breakfast in the home of our overnight host, when my wife Kathryn and I were living in Connecticut in 1985 during my year as a Resident Chaplain in the State Mental Hospital and were delegates to the Annual State Convention representing First Baptist Church, Middletown.

I obliged, trying to include everyone and everything in my quests I sent heavenward.  When I’d lifted my head, the young pastor said, “Bob, you forgot to ask the Lord to bless our food!”  Everybody ‘round the table new I meant well!

Decades later, as Pastor of the Freedonia Baptist Church in New York, I was privileged to offer grace before each weekly Rotary Club luncheon meeting.  And in 2001 at the commencement of students from The New York State University Campus in Fredonia, I wrote a prepared script for the afternoon’s invocation and benediction.  Every six weeks at First Baptist Beckley, my prayer took days to think through, since I wanted my invocation to match the morning scripture.

Here’s the pastor prayer delivered on ABC Youth Sunday by a young lady who was a sophomore at Jamestown Community College in Dunkirk, New York who was active in our BYF.  “O Father, Thou knowest our nature and readest our innermost thoughts and nothing can be hidden from Thee.  Help us, then, to unburden ourselves of every disguise we wear before the world and find strength in being what we are, Thou humble and grateful children.  Enable us to put off shame and pretense.  Be patient with any of us who still prefer vain shows and empty pride to the freedom and security of Thy truth.

Enable us to carry out from this place peace and strength that we gain here, because we have talked with Thee.  May we be able to work more patiently for Thy Kingdom, bringing light upon the problems that perplex the world, dispelling the night of doubt and fear with Thy sheltering love.  Amen”   Leaving the platform, she added, “Be sure to pray!”

Well, summer is over.

Well, summer is over and school is back in session again. Once again we are partnering with Beckley Elementary School in our backpack program.  Some of these children live in poverty and sometimes healthy food is scarce and that’s why this program is so vital. We have been blessed with many, many donations.

For the month of September we will be collecting cans of beanie weenies.   These can be left on the back counter in the kitchen.    Monetary donations are also needed and would be greatly appreciated.  Please keep this program in your prayers as we continue to reach out to children and their families in need.

Youth and Children’s Ministry – September

The time has come once again for the students to sharpen their pencils, as well as their minds, and head back to school! As a Youth Pastor, that’s music to my ears! Vacations are over, kids are consistent, and schools are a mission field! As I look at this upcoming school year and the opportunity it brings for our Youth and Children’s ministries, there’s two words that come to my mind; sustainability and growth.

Sustainability is needed in our walk with Christ in many ways. We need sustainability in the ups and downs of life. When things get hard and we need to have that faith that, no matter what may come, God is for us. Sometimes life might feel like a desert and you can’t “feel God” and you feel alone, but the sustaining faith in Christ Jesus can hold you in those dry times. Sustaining faith is something I pray for in the lives of our youth, as well as my own. God is enough, in ANY situation.

Growth is something that comes with time put in. As Christians, we are to serve as if we are serving the Lord and give Him our very best. We have to be willing to put in the footwork in order to reach people for Christ. Youth Ministry is all about meeting kids where they are. You have to be a part of their world before they will become a part of yours. Growth is also a gift from God. We put in our best and God puts in the rest and makes it happen!

As our students go throughout their new school year, be praying for them. Be praying for the strength to bear the name of God no matter what is said, be praying for uplifting groups of friends surrounding them, and be praying    for students that need to know Jesus. There are so many hurting students that need to know Christ and the gift of eternal life.


Ryan Haddox

ABW September Update

Fall is going to be a busy season for the American Baptist Women of the First Baptist Church starting with the 49th Annual Spiritual Growth Retreat September 22 to 24, 2017 at the Parchment Valley Conference Center.  The theme is “Fragrance of Beauty”.  The scripture is Ephesians 5:2. The keynote speaker is Rev.  David Bush of the Rainelle First Baptist Church.  The weekend will feature Bible study, workshops, praise music, crafts, and the Women’s Leadership Academy.

The second event is the Raleigh Association Fall Rally here at Beckley First Baptist Church on Saturday September 30th.  Plans are being made now so mark your calendar.

The third event is the 134th Annual Women’s Day Thursday October 19, 2017 at the West Virginia Baptist Convention in Huntington, WV.  The theme is JUST DO IT…FOR JESUS.  The keynote address is by Olivia Goodwin, the missionary speaker is Debbie Myers, and the worship leader is Ginny Prunty.

During September and October we will be receiving the WORLD MISSION OFFERING.  The goal for this offering is $2,000. Of the four annual offerings we receive each year I feel the World Mission Offering is the most important for it goes 100% to our missionaries.

Our new state Mission and Service Coordinator, Dr. Sandra Lutz, is encouraging us, Association Mission and Service Coordinators, to emphasize our MOP (Mission Outreach Project).  She wrote, “we are not up to speed” with our MOP offering for 2017, a 4-WD vehicle for Juan and Denise Aragon for their ministry in Chiapas, Mexico.  The Aragon family will be leaving for Mexico this month.  The state goal for this offering is $6,000.

Also we need to emphasize our 2017 Special Project which is furnishing the meeting rooms in the Sunny Day Leadership and Activities Center at Camp Cowen.  The state goal for this project is $12,000.

Dr. David Carrico said in the Guest Column of the SEASONS magazine, August, 2017, “Remember to communicate!  Talk to one another, make sure you share the news of your church and the women’s ministries.  The ABWM has solid Biblical resources and inspiring program events but you must access them for yourselves”.  So ladies let’s go the Spiritual Growth Retreat, the Fall Rally here at FBC, Women’s Day at the State Convention,  emphasize the MOP and Special Project and give to the WMO.



Sept. 22-24th – Spiritual Growth Retreat at Parchment Valley. Registration forms in church office.  Theme “Fragrance of Beauty.”

Sept. 30th – RALEIGH/GREENBRIER FALL RALLY –  will be at our church in Fellowship Hall.  Registration will begin at 9:30 with the rally to begin at 10AM.  We will be the hostesses.

Oct. 19th – WOMEN’S DAY AT CONVENTION – New Baptist Church in Huntington.  Theme “Just Do It For Jesus”   Registration and Refreshments at 9:00 AM.  Program begins at 9:30.  Lunch is $6.00 payable at registration.  Guest speaker – Debbie Myers.  Keynote address – Olivia Goodwin. Worship Leader – Ginny Prunty.

December 8th & 15th – ADVENT LUNCHEONS

“Son” Flowers

by Pastor Doc Adkins

For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11 

When I often think of my childhood on the farm with my grandparents, it’s this time of the year that brings back floods of good memories. The harvest of the garden, the hay fields and corn fields are winding down.  All the work in the hot summer heat has paid off and only the remnants are left. Rest assured even they will   not go to waste. At the ends of the garden my grandmother planted sunflowers. Lots of really big sunflowers overshadowed the garden. Whenever you look toward the garden it was the sunflowers you saw first before anything else.  This time of year, the sunflower would take on the colors of majestic guardians of the garden.  I’d see their yellow and gold tones and with the colors you just knew Fall was upon us.

Sunflowers are one of those things you see everywhere such as on dishes, tablecloths, pillows, and other things for the home.  They are right up there with roses when it comes to popularity.

Did you know that even Picasso and Van Gogh painted sunflowers?  Probably because they are such a beautiful and distinctive flower.

Here are a few lessons we can learn from the sunflower.

Sunflowers Track the Sun.  Most plants are attracted to light but the flowering head of the sunflower actually tracks the sun following its path and moving toward where it is in the sky all during the day.

I read somewhere that sunflowers track the sun when they are in bud stage.  Isn’t that how it usually goes for us as Christians?  When we first come to know the Lord, we get excited about knowing all about Him and living for Him, but after a while we sometimes grow a little preoccupied with other things and get our eyes off of the Lord.

Wouldn’t it be great if as a Christian we’d track the Son of God and follow Him all day long?  No matter what was going on in our lives and throughout our day, we wouldn’t take our eyes off of the Son.

Sunflowers Need to be Stabilized. The second thing I’ve learned about the sunflower is that it needs to be firmly planted in the soil in order to grow.  Sunflowers grow so tall and their stems become so heavy that they will topple over if they aren’t stabilized in the ground.

I know as a Christian it’s very easy to topple over if we are not grounded in the Word of God.  We need to know what and why we believe what we do so our feet are firmly planted and we won’t falter in our Christian growth.

Sunflowers Produce Seeds. Did you know that a single sunflower can have up to 2,000 seeds?  When we think about sowing seeds as a Christian, just think of the potential reach that each of us can have to spread the Gospel.  It could be limitless if we would just sow those seeds.

Sunflowers Produce Oil.  The oil that the sunflower produces is considered a good oil with healthy benefits.  As Christians we should be producing the fruit of the spirit (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith).  All of those have some healthy benefits on us as Christians and on others that we meet.

Sunflowers Resemble the Sun. Sunflowers not only follow the sun but when you look at them, they resemble the sun too.  Resembling the Son should be one of those things we do as a Christian.  Being Christ-like is an essential part of being a Christian.

Conclusion: When I think about the lessons from the sunflower, my mind goes to that fifth chapter of Ephesians where it’s talking about following God and all the ways we are to act as Christians.  It starts out in the first couple verses by saying,

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor.  Ephesians 5:1,2

The chapter goes on in detail on various topics of Christian living and mentions all those bad things we are to avoid, starting with “fornication” and it goes on from there.

In verses 15 and 16 it says,

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

I’m not going to type the entire chapter out here but I think that whole chapter is so important as guidance to our everyday Christian lives.  It is what getting up and following the Son all day and being a SON flower is all about.

It boils down to walking in the spirit, following God, and living Christ-like as a Christian should.  We’ve got to live that way in order to “redeem the time” and spread the Gospel of Christ. .

So, are you living like a SON-flower?

ABW July Update

by Norma Gunter

Another Lizzie Lewis Circle lady has moved on to her new home in heaven.  Mildred, “Midge” Turner left this world on May 28, 2017.  She had moved back to Pennsylvania but attended morning worship here at First Baptist Church when visiting her family.  Pastor Doc recognized her Sunday May 23rd.  When she was visiting we would get together for lunch and catch up on the news.  When I called, to invite her to the spaghetti dinner at the Beaver Baptist Church, she was at the mall with her son David.  She was going to visit her grandson, whom she adored, and would not be able to go.  I felt bad about not getting to visit with her so I wrote her a note on May 8th not knowing how sick she was.  We will all miss her.

On June 3, 2017, three of us FBC American Baptist Women, made the trip to Parchment Valley for the American Baptist Women’s Ministry 83rd Women’s Conference.  It would be hard to find a more beautiful place to welcome ABW from around West Virginia to meet. The “Getting to know you” theme was designed, “for all of us to better know each other and more importantly to grow deeper in our relationship with God.”  This was a weekend conference but we only attended the Saturday session.  We arrived for the morning session where pastor Jeff Davenport spoke on, “Getting to know the God who conquers our Doubts.”  The morning was filled with prayer, music, offerings and information.         Special guests were our International missionaries to Mexico Keith and Debbie Myers and their children Boyden and Baillie, home on leave.  Debbie Mulneix, our Special Missionary to Asia, explained her new assignment.  She will be working from home, making 4 trips a year to Hong Kong, Nepal, Philippines. etc.  She will still need support from her West Virginia family.

In the afternoon I attended the Mission and Service/Love Gift workshop.  There we were brought up-to-date on Mission and Service and White Cross.  We also received the new quotas for our associations.

On June 15, 2017,  the FBC ABWM women took the new church van to Rainelle to the Fruits of Labor Cafe & Bakery for lunch.  There we enjoyed the farm fresh vegetables and the wonderful bread and pies, worth every mile we drove,  Since my sister, Gail, is visiting from Pennsylvania we decided, after lunch, to make a big circle and follow Rt. 60 East from Rainelle to Summers County to visit my daughter Kelley on her farm.  My other sister, Carrie, my niece, Carla, and my great granddaughter, Kira Belle,  left Rainelle  to see the baby chickens, turkeys, kittens and rabbits.  A long but blessed day.  Ladies if you get a chance to go to Rainelle to the Fruits of Labor Cafe & Bakery, GO.

Don’t forget the ONE GREAT HOUR OF SHARING offering this month.

The Demand is Getting Greater

The ministry of Helping Hands is going strong helping the citizens of Raleigh County with food and clothing items.  The demand is getting greater and greater and that’s where you can help.  Non-perishable food items, toilet paper and soap are always good items to donate.

They have also started a project of collecting toothbrushes and toothpaste so that in August every child in a client’s family with a new toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste before they start school.   These donations can be left in the large box outside the church office.

Your monetary support is also appreciated as well as your prayers for the clients and for the workers who tirelessly help out when the center is open.  If you happen to have a morning free, please contact Edna Nasby. She’s always looking for a helping hand.

Minister Abroad: Never on Sunday

by Rev Robert A Wendel

“He who honors Me, I will Honor”  ( Samuel 2:20).

When one is honored all rejoice.” (I Corinthians 12:26)

Jesus replied “The Kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21)

It’s summer.  In the sports world, it’s outdoor track and field season.  I always take notice when athletes honor their faith convictions on the field of play.  There’s such a story as re-told in the Academy Award winning motion picture “Chariots of Fire”.

In 1924 at the Summer Olympics in Paris, Eric Liddell of Scotland refused to run a pre-race heat because it was scheduled on the first day of the week which is faith taught him would violate the Sabbath (I Samuel 2:20).   Liddell managed to negotiate an unheard of switch with Harold Abrahams, a devote Jew, from the 100-meter dash he had trained for to, instead, compete in the 400meter event later in the week for which he had not trained.

On July 11th running in the difficult outside lane, by the final straightaway Eric lead the other runners by four or five yards.  Liddell won the race in a world record and gold medal winning time of 46.06 seconds thrilling the cheering stadium crowd. (I Corinthians 12:26).

Liddell answered newsmen saying “I had no formula for winning the race.  Everyone runs in their own way.  Where does the power come from to see the race to the end” From within.   Jesus said “Behold, the Kingdom of God is within you.”   If you commit yourself to the love of Christ, then that is how you run a straight race” (Luke 17:21).

The next year, young Liddell left Edinburgh to return to China where he had been born to Scottish Presbyterian missionaries.  Two decades later he was taken prisoner with other Christian missionaries having to spend the last months of his life in a Japanese internment camp dying in occupied China in 1946.  All of Scotland mourned.

Leaving his memorial service an attendee remarked “It is a blessing when someone has the good fortune to meet a saint, but he comes as close to it as anyone could when meeting Eric Liddell.”

Off to a Great Start – Youth and Children

by Ryan Haddox

Summer is upon us and we’re off to a great start at Illuminate Ministries and Glow Kids. At Illuminate, we’re all recuperated from the big trip to Carowinds and now have our sites on camp at Cowen and one more outing before it gets cold…STAY TUNED FOR THAT! Glow Kids is growing in numbers and we’re EXCITED about that! With the summer in full swing and vacations being taken, I wanted to stop for a moment and encourage everyone to rest from the business that summer can bring!

This summer, for me personally, is the busiest one yet! I’ve got two camps, vacation bible school, and I’M GETTING MARRIED!!! All of that is going to make an old man out of me by the end, but in all of the business that I’m surrounded with I have to make sure to center myself with God’s word and peace and sustainability. With sports, tournaments, vacations, reunions, and whatever else you and yours do, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the fun of it and put God on the back burner. It’s easy to “play tardy” at church because you simply don’t have time or need to pack. All of that is so simple for us to do, but also so dangerous. You see…we all must be connected to God in order to know what direction to go in life. Just like my GPS got us down and back from Carowinds safety, so also does the Word of God carry me and sustain my every move. We must also speak with God. In order for friendships and relationships to flourish there must be communication and listening, so also is our relationship with our Heavenly Father. We must have excellent communication and listening skills in order to grow our relationship with God.

These are two aspects of growing closer to God that our students will hear and learn about at Camp, as well as Sunday Nights. My prayer for our students, and all students that attend Camp, is that they would be filled up with Christ while there and not pull the plug on Him when they get home. Just like a sink filled with water, that water only stays in if you don’t pull the plug. My prayer is that they continue to fill themselves up with goodness (through the use of the two aspects above) and let it overflow into their outward lives and their schools.