December Youth News

Busy.  Busy.  Busy.  Our kids have lots going on at Beckley First Baptist!

November 9th– Debbie Vanaman helped our youth to pack 88 shoeboxes in support of Operation Christmas Child.  Items sent to the mission were donated from our church family.  What a blessing it is to help such a wonderful outreach!

November 16th & 23rd– All ages of youth created ornaments with Maria Veid to decorate the Christmas trees in Fellowship Hall.

November 23rd– Our kids enjoyed basketball and volleyball at Crescent Elementary School.  We celebrated the evening with dinner and ice cream.  What a fun time!

November 30th – We decorated our Christmas tree with all the ornaments we made.  We also worked on our float for the Christmas parade.

Here’s what’s coming up:

December 3rd – We will put the finishing touches on our float for the parade.

December 6th – Our kids will participate in the Beckley Christmas Parade!  After the parade, we will return to the church for cookies and hot cocoa.

The renovations on 4th floor are underway.  Once complete, we hope to celebrate with another legendary lock-in.  Stay tuned!

We look forward to celebrating a wonderful Christmas Season with our kids!

Shoeboxes 2014 – A Final Report

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away in Ikes Fork, West Virginia a lady dreamed of making life better for children around the world.   So she set out on a journey to collect items such as school supplies, personal items and a toy or two.   She walked up and down the coal hollers in her community and through the generosity of those neighbors, her collection grew and grew until her tiny house could hold it no more and thus Operation Christmas Child was born.

Twenty years later,  Mary Dameron’s dreams of making life better for children around the world has grown even more and after meeting with and partnering with Samaritan’s Purse children around the world are not only receiving a small box filled with all kinds of goodies but also a book in their own language that shares the message of Jesus Christ.

This year has had its high’s and low’s but we won’t talk about lows.   We opened our collection center last Monday morning and by 3:30 that afternoon we had taken in over 1100 shoeboxes from local churches.   Then the rain, cold, ice and snow came but that didn’t dampen the spirits of our collection center workers.   We’ve laughed and ate and laughed and ate some more and somewhere in there even managed to pack some shoebox cartons.     I want to thank everyone who volunteered last at our collection center.  You guys and gals are totally awesome.

Then came the task of loading the Helping Hands truck with those heavy cartons and boy were they heavy.  A special thank you to those strong armed men and women who helped.

When it was all said, done and delivered 2,980 shoeboxes were collected from over 50 area churches and organizations.   This was a phenomenal task that could not have been accomplished without your support and prayers.   Please keep OCC in your prayers throughout 2015 as they spread the word of Jesus through the power of a shoebox to children around the world.   Remember – it’s never too early to start buying for next year !!!

ABW December Update

by Norma Gunter

My love of missions has emerged again.  My sister Carrie and I are making a mission trip to Costa Rica in January for my 80th birthday.  We renewed our passports and now have our plane tickets but haven’t finalized all of our plans.  We will join a team from New Jersey when we get there.  We will be staying at the CEDCAS Clinic in San Jose.  This will be my sixth trip to Costa Rica and Carries’s first.

When our teams from FBC took mission trips to  Nicaragua, back in the 90’s, we always stopped in Costa Rica on our way home.  Our last trip there was in 2003 when Lonnie and I went to San Jose for the dedication of the new CEDCAS clinic.  Since we were there they have added a third floor to the clinic for the mission teams to stay.

CEDCAS stands for “Center for health education and health services in Spanish”.  The clinic is a non-profit org. founded in l985 and our first trip  there was in l994.  At that time Lillian Solt was an Associate Missionary with the American Baptist International Missions.  She is still a missionary with LAM “Latin American Mission”.  Lillian and her daughter Rebecca are both RN’s.  Rebecca was about 6 years old on our first visit to Costa Rica.  Rebecca was married earlier this year.

CEDCAS works with four major programs:

1. Medical/dental clinics:  They offer a wide variety of medical and dental services at a reasonable price.
2. House of Health:  A program focused on prevention, programs with different age groups such as children, teenagers, women and the elderly.
3. Communities:  They work with different communities helping them by working with groups of women, programs with children, micro-enterprises to help improve their economic and nutritional situation.
4. Volunteers:  They have programs to help people (like me) to step out of their comfort zones  and become the hands and feet of Jesus in another context.  Our group will be working in the squatter community of Guarari where there are over 400 kids and their families.  Most of these are refuges from other Latin American countries like Nicaragua, Honduras, etc.

Their MISSION is helping people become healthy.

Their VISION is to promote Godly, excellent, affordable, whole person health care, becoming the hands of Jesus, bringing people to Him.

Also in San Jose is Susan Hegarty and her daughter Katy.  Susan is our American Baptist Missionary and has been here at FBC several times.  We stayed with Susan on our first two trips to Nicaragua in 1994 & 1995.  She has stayed in our home several times.  The last time I saw her was at Camp Global about 4 years ago.  We want to visit and possibly work with her while we are in Costa Rica.  That is one of the plans we haven’t finalized about our trip.

The Beckley Register Herald had an article, Sunday November 23rd. on “Business leaders battle human trafficking” bringing to light,  like our American Baptist missionary Lauren Bethel who shared the global problem of human trafficking with us at FBC Oct. 27th.  Phil Parvin, chairman of our Mission Board, seemed quite impressed with her and her work and shared at the Sunday morning service, Nov. 23rd., about what a great job she is doing internationally .

She also made quite and impression on everyone who heard her speak.  She spoke in the morning at the Mug Muffin meeting, the Lizzie Lewis Circle at lunch, the Raleigh/Greenbrier Assn. meeting and the Fayette Assn. meeting in the afternoon.  Before leaving town she had dinner with a group from FBC where one lady said they had a good meal that was enjoyed by all.  Other ladies shared with me their feelings when she spoke about her work.  One said she was impressed with how faithful she has been over the many years to helping these young women.  Another lady said you can feel her heart and her love and caring for these women and girls.  Another said she admired her for her sacrifice of her personal life.  She has been passionate, since 1986,  sharing Jesus’ love and compassion with those trapped in the darkest corners of our world.  Pray for her and for all our missionaries around the world and for the World Mission Offering we are receiving now for missionaries like Lauren & Susan.   Pray for us as we finalize our plans for our trip in January.

Making Music with the Chancel Choir

Special Music will be provided by Our Blessed Journey,  Holliday Twins ,  Broughman and some other special music for Christmas Eve.

The choir will be doing Until You Come/O Beautiful Star Of Bethlehem on December 14th as part of the morning worship service.

It has been a blessing to serve the Lord and his people.  There is always room in God’s Choir.  Take a chance and make a New Years resolution to join us in 2015.

HO! HO! HO! Merry Christmas to Our Friends at First Baptist Church!

by Joyce Mills

If 22 individuals were not shy and felt confident enough, I know this would be the greeting that you would receive from those who receive the backpacks each week.

When Jesus first came into our world, those who heard of His arrival had the privilege of directing others to Him.  And even though He’s not arriving again as a Holy Baby, people today still need help in getting to Him.  AND, that’s where we get to play a part – we have the same privilege today, the gift of directing others to Jesus.  Through our giving of money for this Ministry, we make it possible for others to actually fill the backpacks with good nutritious food for those children who are at risk of being hungry.  This is the church’s way of helping those who are less fortunate to understand that this is how it all began at Christmas so long ago when Jesus was born and that the giving will never end because He is our Savior who will never abandon us.  We are directing the less fortunate by being an example and a road map in giving them a backpack each week to help fill a need that each one has at this time.

It’s a beautiful gift God has given us!  Let’s not miss an opportunity to be wise and generous with our directions.  The verse in Matthew 25 that says  “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat…………”  lets us know that there is no excuse to neglect those who have deep needs..Thank you for continuing to give your money or your time to shop and bring the food for the children in need.  Also, for all of you who are involved with the Backpack Ministry, just remember that Jesus demands our personal involvement in caring for other’s needs.  Thank you for giving so generously of your time.

The special food donation needed this month is cans of Vienna Sausage. Just place the cans on  the back counter in the kitchen.  Thank YOU!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Can you believe it? It’s almost Christmas already!

by Doc Adkins

It’s that time of year again. December has come and with it all the joys of Christmas. But what is the real meaning of Christmas? Is it the gifts under the tree, the lights in the windows, the cards in the mail, turkey dinners with family and friends, snow in the yard, stockings hanging in the living room, and shouts of “Merry Christmas” to those who pass us in the streets? Is this really Christmas?

For many people, Christmas is a time of sorrow. They don’t have the extra money to buy presents for their children, family, and friends. Many are saddened at Christmastime when they think of their loved ones who will not be able to come home for various reasons. Turkey dinners may be only a wish and not a reality for some.

Yet, Christmas can be a season of great joy. It is a time of God showing His great love for us. It can be a time of healing and renewed strength. You see, Christmas is when we celebrate the birth of the Christ child. God sent His Son, Jesus, into the world to be born. His birth brought great joy to the world. Shepherds, wise men, and angels all shared in the excitement of knowing about this great event. They knew this was no ordinary baby. The prophets had told of His coming hundreds of years before. The star stopped over Bethlehem just to mark the way for those who were looking for this special child.

Luke 2: 4-19 says:

“So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.

This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

Why did He come? Why did God send His son to this sometimes cruel and hard world? He sent Jesus to us so that one day, He would grow up to become a very important part of history. His story (history) is one of truth, love, and hope. It brought salvation to all of us. Without Jesus,  we would all die in our sins.

For the world: Jesus was born so one day the price could be paid for the things we have done that are wrong. The Bible says that all have sinned. We are all born with a sin nature. We do things that do not please God. Through the sins of Adam and Eve, we have all inherited that sin nature. We need to have that removed. The only way is through Jesus. Jesus came so He could die on the cross for ALL of our sins. If we believe that Jesus died for our sins, we can ask Him to come into our hearts and forgive us. Then, we are clean and made whole. We can know that heaven is a place where we can go to when this life is over.

“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.” I John 1:9

For the weary:  We can truly be happy at Christmas! No matter what may be happening, we can know that we are His children. We then become sons and daughters of God. Heaven will be our home one day.

For the wanting:  Look at Christmas in a new way this year. This is the year to invite Jesus into your heart. You will then have a “Merry Christmas.” The joy and peace you will receive will last all year as you look to God for all your needs to be met.

Jesus Is The Reason For The Season! Rejoice!

From Pastor Doc and his family… may you have a wonderful Christmas and enjoy Jesus in every way possible.

November Youth News

What a wonderful Halloween party we enjoyed with our First Baptist family!  Our thanks to all those who helped us.  We had a wonderful time.  You can see pictures of the event on the church website at www.beckleyfirstbaptist.com.

Our kids are hard at work preparing for the Christmas Parade.  Mary Stover is helping us build a giant snowman that will be the centerpiece of our float.

Here are a few upcoming events.

November 2: We will help pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child at 6 pm on the 3rd floor.

November 16th & 23rd: All youth departments will make Christmas ornaments for the Youth Christmas tree during Children’s Church.

December 6th:  We will participate in Beckley’s Christmas parade.

Stay connected with our kids for lots of exciting times.  Follow us on Twitter (@beckleyfbc) and Instagram (beckleyfirstbaptist).

As always, we appreciate your prayers and support as we grow in friendship and faith!

What’s the Choir been up to?

We have begun practicing our mini-Christmas cantata “O Beautiful Star of Bethlehem” which will be performed on Dec. 14th.   The music is simple and familiar and your voice is still needed and always welcome.

Our schedule for November is:

Nov. 2nd –“Remember Me”/No special music

Nov. 9th – “Lift Up Your Head Wounded Soldier/John Sellards

Nov. 16th – “Days of Elijah”/Scott Vanaman

Nov. 23rd – “For The Things He Has Done”/Sharon Volpe

Nov. 30th – ANNUAL HANGING OF THE GREENS – Ensemble, kids choir and adult choir will be participating along with other “helpers”.

 

ABW Mission and Service

by Norma Gunter

You who attend the Beckley First Baptist Church, have a great opportunity to help our GLOBAL SERVANTS around the world.  At this time the World Mission Offering, WMO,  is being received.  You can give generously (offering envelopes are on the back of the pews) to spread the gospel around the world.  International Ministries theme for the WMO is “Come over (numerous countries) and Help Us”.  When you give to the WMO you help to grow and sustain IM’s missionaries and global staff who serve in more than 70 countries worldwide.   Let’s rise to the challenge this year as we celebrate 200 years of missions, 1814-2014.

The American Baptist Women, ABW, fall rally Oct. 14th at the Breckenridge Baptist Church was a great success.  Joyce Mills, president of the Raleigh Assn., gave the call to order and the opening prayer.  Joan Clark, treasurer of the Raleigh Assn., welcomed us to the Breckenridge Baptist Church and Eula Stephens gave the devotion.  The business part of the meeting, roll call, minutes, treasurer report and reports from Personal Dev., Church and Community, & Mission & Service were given.

An interesting part of the meeting was reports on projects the different ABW’s are doing.  Our own Helen Green gave a great report on our backpack ministry.  The nominating committee gave their report and Martha Bennett is now President Elect of the Raleigh Assn.  Sharon Volpe, our ABW president, gave the offering prayer and sang a beautiful solo.

The women from our newest Raleigh Assn. Church, Sunset Hills Missionary Baptist Church, were welcomed to their first Fall Rally.

Joyce Mills introduced the guest speaker, Lisa Simmons, who is the Association Mission Support person with the WV Baptist Convention.  Lisa is a very inspiring speaker and to get us all involved she started out asking about funny things we have seen in church.  One was a pastors false teeth flying out during a fiery sermon.  She related to keep warm with a coal stove or floor furnace you have to stay close to the source of the heat and as Christians we have to stay close to God.

Eula Stephens, from the Breckenridge Baptist Church, was honored for her years of service to ABW.  I had the dedication prayer for the “Snacks For Hope” that the women donated for the patients at the Raleigh Regional Cancer Center.  We were blessed with a delicious lunch, as usual, by the women of the Breckenridge Church and I had the chance to thank John and Lisa Simmons for the great job they did with Camp Global.

The Raleigh Assn. Spring Rally will be here at FBC.  Ladies, if you have never been to a rally this will be the one to attend.  All  FBC women are invited to participate in any ABW meeting.

By the time you read this Lauren Bethel will have been here, Oct. 27, and I’ll report on her visit next month.

Making Rounds, Being Thankful

by Rev Robert A Wendel

The Thanksgiving holiday is an ideal day to take at least a few moments to reflect on those things and people for which you are thankful.  Good health is, surely, a primary blessing sought by everyone.

In October, I participated in the day-long fall conference of volunteer chaplains at Appalachian Regional Hospital.  The “good word” shared by facility administer Rocco Massey concerned the vital importance of “making rounds” walking around the floors, connecting with patients, staff and visitors as the best way to maintain a high quality of patient care and satisfaction.  Every trained chaplain learns that lesson early.

After one week of hospital duty at ARH, I try and take it all in, patient by patient, profoundly grateful for life.  But, this month I’ll be sixty-six years old and no one lives forever.  I, too, will face a day when news about my health will not be good, when, like so many in health care settings, my fears will be real as I notice my own health break down, when mortality grasps my hand and will not let go.  So, I ask, “What has being a chaplain at six different facilities in thirty-five years taught me?”

Above all, I affirm that each day I live will be acknowledged as a pure gift, a moment of time that is unique, unrepeatable that must be savored,  Second, I resolve to live each day with one primary purpose; to try and show love or respect to at least one other child of God.

And finally, the greatest gift that I can offer to my Heavenly Father is my heartfelt thanksgiving.  For it is simple gratitude that is, often, the most healing medicine to humankind and it is thanksgiving that transcends all time and death.

Saint Ambrose said “No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.”   Michael Levine wrote “The sign outside the gates of salvation says “Be grateful.”

The devotional speaker for the next ABC Men’s Breakfast on Nov. 8th at 8:00 am will be Rev. Jonathan Turner.

As always, we hope you’ll be able to join our fellow men for food, fellowship and some very good words.