Christmas Shopping Has Started!

Christmas shopping for our Backpack Kids has started. Volunteers are purchasing gifts for 21 children at Beckley Elementary School. Each child has a wish list for items they would like to have. The volunteers will purchase and wrap gifts to be taken to the school on December 10th. The guidance counselor will notify the parent or guardian of every child to pick up the presents from the school to give to the children for Christmas.

Many thanks go to everyone who has taken the time to shop and wrap every gift.

We continue to pack food bags to be given to the children every weekend. We plan to continue sending food weekly even if classes go to all virtual.

Thanks to all of you who have donated food, money or prayed for our Backpack Ministry. May God Bless You!

For the month of December please donate cans of Vienna Sausages.

The Season of Winter

by Pastor Doc Adkins

Song of Songs 2:11-12 “See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. New International Version

Winter has always held a magical place in my heart. I enjoy winter most of the time. Oh, I know the hardship of slick roads, winter illnesses from being “cooped up” most of the time. Yet I don’t mind the snow. I do mind the cold but not the snow. Have you ever noticed how much quieter and cleaner the world looks after snow.

Again, I am reminded of the farm house and those early days of my life. It doesn’t snow as much in Hinton as it does here in Beckley, but when it does it can be a “doosey”. Yet the farm was always picturesque. Everything was white and beautiful, and the whole of nature seems to be in deep peace.

Changes comes suddenly in the snow. I knew what the garden looked like a few weeks prior, and I knew that the white flakes have covered fallen brown leaves, withered grass and plants. It’s was all there, but it wouldn’t be seen now as long as winter lasts.

The winter may seem unpleasant to many, but frost and snow in our country are an indispensable part of life. Without winter, spring and summer wouldn’t be what they are.

There are seasons in our lives too. And we often have difficulties in understanding why they are there. Why do we have to pass through winters with barren branches and frozen ground, times without flowers and fruit, without singing and joy? Why?

It’s good to learn from the way nature works, because He who created us also created nature, and through His works we can better understand Him, and His ways.

Winter may seem a time of death, but in reality it’s a time of rest. When harvest is over, trees aren’t ready to bear new fruit immediately. They need a rest, and winter gives them time to do that.

Many of us get so easily caught up in a treadmill of producing all the time. ‘God can’t be satisfied with me if I don’t produce anything for Him, can He?’ is the way we think. But in His grace God allows a winter season in our lives, to give us rest. He doesn’t expect us to bear fruit when it’s winter, and we would do well if we could learn not to expect fruit when we should be having a rest.

At the same time winter is preparation for new flowers and new fruit. Under the snow, in the unseen depths something is going on. It’s only on the surface that it looks like death. Under the surface life is active and stirring! Roots are filling up with nourishment, and buds are bracing themselves for spring. In late winter it only takes a sunny day, and you see how the buds begin to break forth! They were ready for it.

All this Covid virus is making such changes and adjustments in our lives, it hard to adjust to changing seasons. BUT, rest assured that our loving God has all of us in the palm of His hands and covered with His grace. All this has changed our way of thinking. Dread and despair are not easy to overcome. When you inwardly go through a time of winter, you may well withdraw from many expressions of life, but that doesn’t mean your spirit is dying. It only means that for a time you are resting, and preparing for a new season, a season of flowers and growth. God takes you aside to prepare you for what is to come, and without that thorough preparation, you won’t be ready for a new season!

So, if you’re in a winter season in your life right now, it’s not the end! After winter, comes spring. All part of God’s plans for His children. Be prepared, one day you’ll suddenly become aware of an irresistible pull in your spirit that tells you winter is past, and the time for singing is upon you again.

Helping Hands: Reaching Out in Raleigh County

Helping Hands continues to serve families here in Raleigh County with food and now clothing to those who are in need. Our clothing room is now open Wednesday and Thursday for the clients to get some much needed clothing. We are also taking donations now on Tuesdays only from 9:00 to noon of clothing and household items. You can also leave donations of non-perishable food items in the black container outside the church office.

We are also collecting winter coats and blankets. This is a much needed item in the winter especially with our growing homeless population. These items can be dropped off at Helping Hands during the times they are open Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 until noon or left in the church office.

Thinking ahead to Christmas, with Mac’s Toy Fund not happening this year we need approximately 250 new toys and 250 used toys which will be distributed in December. These items as well can be dropped off at Helping Hands. We are also doing treat bags for the children of our clients and this program is explained below. Please keep us in your prayers during this difficult time as we continue to serve the people of Beckley and Raleigh County.

Greetings from Rev Wendell

“Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ that you will be enriched in every way for your great generosity which will produce thanksgiving to God.” (1Thessalonians 5:18, 2 Corinthians 9:11 RSV).

I grew up in the age of “Father Knows Best” and “Leave It to Beaver”, which we watched on a black and white television set. So, I am no spring chicken. This realization hit when I began experiencing a series of minor physical setbacks. Much to my dismay, my body is less than it once was. I remember thinking about physical decline while watching games by aging major league baseball stars.

Still, I easily recall events in American history which have made their way into classroom textbooks. 2020 has been a rough year for most of us what with the virus, economic stress, school rearrangements, professional sports at half speed with a whole new set of social recommendations – all in a national election season.

Yet, there have been other years when life seemed on the downswing. Like the year when I graduated from high school in 1968 which included riots in the streets over the Viet Nam war and a pair of assassinations. In 1863 when the country was “engaged in a great Civil War”, to help lift the mood and spirit of the people, President Lincoln declared “that the fourth Thursday of November shall be a day of national Thanksgiving.” Many folks this year may not travel far from their homes to celebrate, choosing to safeguard their health first and foremost.

No matter how these days run their course, you and I have much to praise the Lord for again, hoping much will improve in the months ahead. Enjoy the holiday in small gatherings. Take off your mask while you’re at the table.

Debbie Macomber wrote in Guideposts “Lord, no matter how much change I encounter in my life, You are my constant unchanging source of joy and strength. “

Thoughts of Thanksgiving

November is here and that brings thoughts of Thanksgiving. Of course we are very thankful every day for the support we have gotten from our church family and friends. May God bless you all!

Soon we will start Christmas shopping for our Backpack Kids. Each year a teacher helps each child make a Wish List. Volunteers from our church select a child, or maybe a couple of children, to shop for. Usually they ask for clothing, shoes, toys, art supplies, etc. We don’t always get everything on the list but we try to get as much as possible.

If you could like to volunteer to shop please call me, Helen Greene, at 304-253-1069 or 304-228-9204. We will give you cash to make the purchases. As soon as the school gives us the lists you can select your child. It is fun to shop for these children and search for items on their Wish List.

For the month of November please donate packets of hot chocolate.

ABW Ministry Update for November

For wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.

Proverbs 2:10, NIV

Dear Friends,

American Baptist Women’s Ministries (ABWM) continues our 5 part webinar series on addiction. The first two webinars have provided valuable resources, equipped us with ways to have difficult conversations about addiction and new ways to think about treatment. The third webinar, A Call to Action: Addressing Unique Treatment and Recovery Needs of Women in Addiction, led by Dr. Brenda Edwards, shared responsive strategies for stakeholders and communities to consider as they support women who abuse substances and seek help. Dr. Edwards also shared the important role of faith communities in providing consistent support to women in treatment and during reentry to their communities. Each webinar can be found on ABWM’s website, along with a summary of key points, at www.abwomensministries.org/webinars. The 4th webinar in this series on addiction will be on Thursday, November 5th, at 9:00 pm (EST). The speaker is Dr. Onaje Salim, Board-Certified Counselor, and Licensed Clinician. Below is a description and link to register for this free webinar.

We look forward to your presence.

Share the peace of Christ,

Rev. Dr. Gina Jacobs-Strain
Executive Director

Waking Up to the Good Stuff

by Pastor Doc Adkins

“The morning is just the most important part of the day”, my Grandmother use to say. Life in my grandparent’s house started early. When you think of the morning, they are clean slates on the day and you get to choose what you do with it. By evening it is just a little too late to start planning your day so why not start it out right at the beginning to get things accomplished and spend time with God before we get bogged down with life?

I can remember how my grandma used to fix breakfast in the mornings, most every morning. She didn’t just pour a bowl of cereal or throw a pop tart in the toaster. She probably didn’t even know what a pop tart was. My grandmother fixed real breakfast food—the good stuff!

I have such memories of my grandma’s country farm kitchen and her frying bacon, sausage and eggs too. Never scrambled ones. They were always over-easy, sunny side up ones. Next came the biscuits. Homemade of course. Not those kind many of us pop out of cans. Then came the gravy. White, country style. Of course when I was a kid I loved white country style gravy. I still do! I guess because it was all my family ever fixed with anything. Then, after all this, when good ones were available, my grandma would get a few tomatoes and slice some on a plate to put on the table. In our family it seemed like no meal was complete until there was a plate of freshly sliced tomatoes on the table. The table would always be full. My grandma believed in fixin’ the good stuff. All this topped off with really cold milk, hot…hot coffee and water. You had to drink at least a glass of water. Just ‘cause momma said so, that’s why.

God also fixes the ‘good stuff’’. He has so much planned for our days but do we miss it because we don’t get up early and spend time with Him? Do we anticipate His goodness and kindness to us each day? Do we seek Him early like David did?

“Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.” Psalm 143:8

“My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.” Psalm 5:3

I do have days that I don’t start it off right. We all do, but if we don’t try to spend time with God by reading His Word and communing with Him in prayer at the start of our day then how will we ever be conscious of Him when the afternoon hits or when evening rolls around?

My! How much ‘good stuff’ He offers us. We are given blessings, promises, love, guidance, strength, and protection. We need all of God’s ‘good stuff’ to make it through the whole day.

“It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22

Hope you’ll keep your alarm set and wake up to the good stuff!

Operation Christmas Child 2020

Well it’s November and national collection week is starting November 16th through November 23rd. We here at First Baptist have been a collection center for shoeboxes in the Raleigh County area for going on 20 years and each year it amazes me to see box after box after box coming in from local churches, organizations and individuals. Each box is a gift to a boy or girl who may not have ever received a gift no less from stranger thousands of miles away. This gift also comes with the joy of learning about God and Jesus, some for the very first time through a program called “The Greatest Journey”. This program shows them how God loves them and how Jesus died for their sins and how they too can follow Jesus. What an amazing gift!!!

In November I usually ask for donations to cover the shipping of the 100 boxes which have been already packed with the items you have donated this year. But, praise God, the money for shipping has been graciously donated by you throughout the year so I can’t believe I’m saying this but I don’t need to ask for money this year. But, what I do ask for is your prayers for collection week that it run smoothly during this pandemic time. It’s going to be a different way of collecting but with God’s help we will get the job done. Saturday morning, November 21st at 9:00 AM, I will need a great group of strong volunteers to load the truck we will be renting to take our boxes to Princeton. See Debbie Vanaman for further details.

Finally, as always, keep this ministry in your prayers as they collect and distribute these precious boxes through the coming months and spread the name of Jesus around the world. Thanks for all your help and may God bless you all.

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.