Mission News

Dear Friends, 

This is an  URGENT request!      

We would like to share three short clips from Lauran Bethell, Global Missionary, that have been received since July 2014.  As you know Lauran travels the globe and has insight as to what is going on in human trafficking in many countries. 

What a fabulous “birthday celebration” International Ministries had this summer!  Celebrating 200 years as an organization—the longest running Christian mission agency in the USA—was a giant moment in history. 1300 people were gathered at our “heart place”—the Green Lake Conference Center:  our dear supporters, encouragers and pray-ers, church leaders/partners from more than 30 countries!  ALL the IM missionaries!  It was exciting!  It was fun!   AND, I missed a big part of it”… (because of an inner ear virus.)

“When I was home, I had many guests and numerous consultations with people.  One of my guests, a Jewish Ivy league lawyer, is doing her PhD at Oxford and is doing very  valuable research in Amsterdam in a government shelter for victims of trafficking-and she is so caring and passionate about their situations. She realized that they didn’t have adequate winter clothes, and asked me if I would ask some of the churches I attend in Holland if they would help out. With little time before Christmas, I just posted a note on Facebook, asking my Dutch friends if they could help with some good winter clothes.  Friends in 3 churches mobilized themselves and their communities-I ended up with 2 very full packed carloads of good clothing, which I delivered hours before I left for the USA.  The Social Workers now want me to come back and help with some other projects-so it’s been a great “in” to the shelter.”

“I flew to Kyrgyzstan for our ‘International Christian Alliance on Prostitution Central Asian Conference  It went really well!  We had about 70 people representing 8 countries there-including representatives from Thailand and Russia!  They came because women from Central Asia are being trafficked to their countries.  It was a great time of sharing mutual concerns, strategizing ways of ministering to the victims, spiritual nourishment for the practitioners and also lots and lots of valuable information sharing.  The 3 teams from Russia who were with us, invited us to do our conference there next November and that’s really exciting.”

As you can see from these excerpts, Lauran doesn’t waste any time. This is just a small sampling of her schedule. Our challenge is to provide the resources needed to allow her to continue on the journey to rid this world of human trafficking.  All Missionaries are now asked to help raise their support funds.  Lauran has visited several churches in Southern West Virginia and has also been the guest speaker at the WVBC.  Everyone who knows Lauran has been inspired with her compassion and dedication for her work with human trafficking in the global arena.  We know that you will want to help Lauran be funded 100%.

Lauran’s Missionary Financial Extension Team in WV consists of Yevette Shafer, Rita Barker and Joyce Mills.  We encourage you to especially share the following letter with your Congregation and Women’s Groups.  A group of friends in Oregon will be providing matching funds up to $4,000 if our money is received by the middle of February.

Your gift of any size will make a difference!

Through the church:  Be sure that the donation is designated when the remittance form is sent in.

Sent individually: Be sure to Memo: Lauran Bethell  Make checks to WVBC and send to:  WVBC, Attn: Joan Hall, 1019 Juliana St., Parkersburg, WV, 26102

Thank you so much for your friendship and commitment to Christ’s Mission!  

A Great Lady Who will be Missed

by Norma Gunter

Last month the ABW lost one of our precious members, Pearl Marie Lyons.  Marie put up a courageous fight for many years.  Since her husband, Ben, passed away we have supported each other, especially after Lonnie died.  She not only supported me but many of the other ABW ladies.

Marie was always faithful to attend and take part in our circle meetings.  She loved her church, the members and loved missions.  When her health started deteriorating, late 2012, and she couldn’t come to church or attend our ABW circle meetings several of us friends would take food & have lunch with her at her home.  She would give me money for mission projects and would send her ABW offerings to the meetings with Helen Jackson.  Last fall she shared with me about a grandson who had been to Nicaragua on a mission trip to some of the places I had been.

For months, while she waited for a house next door to her daughter to be finished, a friend stayed with her until she herself got sick.  During this time Marie was giving us, her friends, her belongings. Clothing, purses, jewelry, etc. was given away.  She was the most giving person I’ve known.  She was an avid reader and shared a lot of her book collection with us.

When she moved to Fayetteville we made several trips to share a meal or just visit.  The little log house, located in the woods, was delightful.  There was even a little loft.  I took pictures of the house to show my grandson who would some day love to build a log cabin.

Before Christmas we visited her at the health care facility in Oak Hill.  When I visited her, for the last time, at Raleigh General Hospital, she told me about the youth from the church who came over there to sing Christmas carols.  She also told me to tell everyone hello and to tell them she was doing about the same.  She asked about friends who were sick, still worrying about others.  That was Sunday after church.  On Monday I learned she had been transferred to Hospice House.  On Tuesday I received the call that she was gone.  She is in her heavenly home, free of pain, walking the streets of gold, praising our Lord and waiting for us to join her.  She will be missed.

Backpack Ministry – February Update

by Joyce Mills

Around Raleigh County you’ll find many teachers who can tell you about a student who came to school on Monday not reluctant to start the school week, but eager to get  back to school after going through Friday evening, all day Saturday and Sunday without a square meal – or knowledge of a source for their next meal.

Those children are the reason we started the Backpack Program.  Other churches around the county picked up on the idea and now many children are having a much better weekend.

The Backpack Program is one that ensures that children in need have balanced, nutritious food they need to learn and grow.  The concept is simple, children at risk of weekend hunger receive a backpack full of food that is child friendly, nutritious, nonperishable, and easy to prepare/eat.  Each backpack offers enough food that children can easily assemble into six healthy meals with two snacks over the weekend when schools are unable to provide breakfasts and lunches.

I challenge you to think about a hungry child and how that must feel.   Then, I challenge you to skip just one fast food meal and give $5.00 to help feed that hungry child.  Become involved and help change the future for these children by helping them to thrive and know there’s a better way to live.

Thank you for the 150+ individual containers of applesauce you brought in January.  Can we beat that number in February by bringing 16-18oz. jars of Peanut Butter?  Plastic jars, of course!   Please place on the back counter in the kitchen and on your way out CELEBRATE a little because it has been a great year with the Backpack Ministry.

February Youth Update

Our mini lock-in was a great success!  Our thanks to everyone helped with the event.  We started the evening with a visit to Crescent Elementary to play volleyball and basketball.  We returned to the church for food, fellowship and fun.  We were pleased to be the first to use the new media room on the 4th floor.  It is amazing!  We wrapped-up the evening with a scavenger hunt and air hockey tournament (Congratulations, Niko!).

On January 4th our kids helped Mary Stover with decorations for the Fellowship Hall.

We took advantage of the new media room again on January 11th and 18th as we watched “Heaven is for Real”.  The kids really enjoyed it.  The new room has encouraged our group to suggest more video studies.

Upcoming Events

February 1st:  We are planning a Super Bowl Party for our church and friends.  Please plan to join us on the 4th floor to cheer on your favorite team or just to enjoy food and fellowship with our First Baptist family.

February 15th:  Our kids will be helping the men with the Valentine Dinner after our morning service.  We will help to carry your dinner and dessert, bring drinks to you, get refills, and even do the dishes!  We look forward to serving our church family!

Minister in the Pew: Thankful for Balcony People

by Rev Robert A Wendel

A common boast for so many young people these days is “I am a self-made man or woman.”  That is a feeling it’s hard not to think about oneself in our completive market-place like world.  But, it is seldom true.  Yes anyone may have been self-motivated, self-starter.  Usually there is someone outside our family circle urging us along or helping us notice the psychological potholes.

In Baptist churches, these singular cheerleaders might be sitting in the last pew in the sanctuary or up in the balcony.  For the church’s pastor, there’s also his or her loyal, faithful spouse, each Sabbath, taking in what is heard from the pulpit or from regular listeners or the occasional visitor.

Sunday, after Sunday, I could look up while reading the morning scripture or text of that weeks’ sermon and there they were my wife and those who cared about me and my ministry and the impact it was having upon the flock I was charged to shepherd until the Lord pressed me with a new “assignment.”

One such person for me was Mrs. Ladeel Mizwa, the flower lady, who also prepared the trays for each Communion observance.  She was one on the church board in my church in Fredonia, never neglecting to speak up at each monthly board meeting.   When I talked with her, in mid-week, her extra comments would help me be aware of which of the members might need some time or effort from me.

I sent her a Christmas card in December and received a very thoughtful note from her professor daughter telling me that she had gone to be reunited with her husband in heaven earlier that month.

Even now, I can still see Mrs. Mizwa up there taking my various types of ministry in, here in Beckley, wishing me well.  It was hard to let this good lady go.  But, we can hold on to all the good things she said, did and made happen when she was here.  Thank  you Lord, for all the people who have helped shape my ministry.  I’ll always remember to look in the balcony.

The February ABC men’s breakfast will be at the Crab Orchard Baptist Church at 8:00 a.m. on Sat. Feb. 28th with Rev. Frank Miller leading the devotions.  Please plan to join us.

At the Advent lunches in December $482.00 was raised and given to the Women’s Resource Center by the Beckley Clergy Association.  A bit over $200 of that money was raised at the lunch that was held here on Dec. 10th.  Thanks for your support and your help.

Matters of the Heart

by Doc Adkins

Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties.”    Psalm 141:4

With such a health conscious craze going on, we hear all the talk of being Heart Smart. Our heart is a valuable organ and we have to take care of it. There are so many things that affect whether our heart will function properly.

I wonder how smart we are with our hearts where our Christian living is concerned. We know we should take care of our hearts but do we consciously do it? The Bible gives us some things that we can do to improve the functioning of our heart.

  1. Believe With Your Heart.
    To begin with we need to have a personal relationship with Christ in order to have our heart pumping correctly. We have to see our need of salvation.

    “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. ” Romans 10:9

  1. Purpose With Your Heart.
    I love the story of Daniel. He was someone who took care of his heart. He decided he wasn’t going to intake the harmful things of the world and he chose to keep his heart pure and working properly.

    “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. ” Daniel 1:8

  1. Serve With Your Heart.
    Serving Christ is one of the best exercises for our heart. It’s like doing a cardiovascular workout! Even Joshua was still doing this exercise when he was well up into years. It says in Joshua 23:2, that he told the people,”…I am old and stricken in age” and yet later in the passage he makes a commitment before the people of Israel that he was going to serve God. Even at his age he was exercising by serving God.

    “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. ”   Joshua 24:15

  1. Sing With Your Heart.
    What a lift to our heart singing can be. When we are joyful and rejoicing in the Lord in our hearts, it’s like giving our hearts a healthy dose of whole grain.

    “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in yourheart to the Lord.”   Ephesians 5:19

  1. Trust With Your Heart.
    Nothing can help us breathe easier than trusting the Lord.   It can make our heart beat in the proper way.

    “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”    Proverbs 3:5

  1. Love With Your Heart.
    There’s something about having love in our hearts that makes that blood pump through our veins a little better. God not only wants us to love Him but love others too.

    “And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbors as thyself. ”    Luke 10:27

If we don’t take care of our heart, it can lead to all kinds of health problems, heart disease and heart failure. There are certain things we need to do in order to maintain a lifestyle in order to take care of our heart. The same is true in the Christian life. Maybe we should make a commitment to do a few things to be Heart Smart.

  • How about living a pure life and keeping out the impurities of the world?
  • How about decreasing your stress by relying on God more?
  • What about increasing your physical activity by serving the Lord more and being active for Him?
  • How about more intake of that heart healthy Word of God?

Christ wants us to have strong and vital lives and we cannot have the lives He intended if we don’t take care of our hearts.

So, are you Heart Smart?

ABW January Update

by Norma Gunter

As we enter a new year I’ve been looking back at some of the things that  happened in 2014. I was thrilled when I saw our ABW Christmas tree on the stage in Fellowship Hall.  It brought back so many memories of the year we collected the purple ornaments.  Sue Jones made a lot of the ornaments, some cloth covered.  My daughter, Marcie, wrote the names of the different  ABW missions, in white, on purple ornaments.  Thanks to those who put the tree up and has protected it all these years.

The ABW White Cross gifts of the heart project was a success.  The final report was in the church bulletin on August 10.  With the help of the children’s Bible School offering twenty school kits were provided to Church World Service for needy children around the world.

The USED STAMP ministry has also been a success.  On January 15 I sent a request to Alliance Stamp Ministry for information about saving used stamps for missions.  The first batch of stamps was mailed on March 12.  Three other mailings have been mailed since with a total of over two pounds of stamps.  I received a thank you note which said, as of November, $36,000 dollars has been sent to the Sunday School Project for Spanish speaking people. Thank you to all those who have helped with this project. Keep saving the used stamps.

The new ABW White Cross projects for 2015 include money for Burundi and South Africa.  We also have Hand Work requests, Home and Overseas Mission projects which I will share later.

Please remember me and my sister in your prayers while we are in Costa Rica later this month.  Our plans with Susan Hegarty, our American Baptist International Missionary, and her daughter Katy have been finalized. They are here in the states for Christmas but will be back in Costa Rica before we get there. It will be great to work with her again.

Music Notes from the Chior

I wish to thank everyone who dedicated themselves to God’s Choir this past year and would like to extend God’s invitation to join his fellow choir members on Sunday evenings at 4:45.  If you need serious stress reduction come and join us and allow the Lord to massage your stress away through the music we sing.

January Choir Selections:  1/4 – “At The Kings Table” / 1/11 – “Above All” / 1/18 – “Battle Belongs To The Lord” / 1/25 – “Call Upon The Name Of The Lord”

Resolving to Open My Bible

by Rev. Robert A. Wendel

Before each New Year, I glance at that year’s daily bible reading plan knowing that disciplining myself by having a regular brush with the scriptures would be an encouragement and deepen me spiritually.  But, life gets busy.  So quiet time and good reading often get forgotten.  Woe is me!

These are the days or weeks when my life just isn’t running smoothly as it’s supposed to.  A sudden crisis, an unexpected call for help from a friend or stranger, a challenge in my own life, over-extending myself trying to meet others’ expectations or trying to crowd too many public obligations into my datebook, any of these can push even that morning’s prayer life into tomorrow’s corner.

Still, I’m aware that it’s spiritual things that keep my life running smoothly and help me handle the sharp turns, the uphills and the downhills.  When I was growing up at home, I remember how our whole family went to church every Sunday and many afternoons in the kitchen Dad would show me how to find bible cross-references, then ask me to play some classic vinyl LP’s to which he would whistle.

The important reason to study scripture is to help each of us define and strive to live a life that reaches beyond and above what is normally expected of us.  We’re reminded how Jesus lived and what he taught as priorities for our time on earth.  As any pastor can tell you, the bible offers us concrete guidance for overcoming our weaknesses while ‘running toward” God’s finish line.

While I was a chaplain at the Beckley VA Medical Center, I was privileged to lead a Thursday afternoon bible study for men who called the facility home.  One day I asked one older vet what was his secret to success? He thought carefully and answered “We need only have two loves in our lives:  for God and for the people who happen to be in front of us at that very moment.  That’s Christianity in a nutshell.

The January ABC Men’s breakfast will again be on the second Saturday morning of the month  beginning at 8AM and usually done before 9:30 AM.  Gentlemen, come, eat well and be physically and spiritually satisfied.   Phil Parvin will offer us his thoughts.

A Wonderful Christmas Season

Our First Baptist kids have enjoyed a wonderful Christmas Season!

On December 6th we participated in Beckley’s annual Christmas parade.  Our thanks to those who participated by decorating, riding along and providing snacks afterwards.  A very special thanks to Mary Stover for her vision and expert decorating skills.  It was a soggy success!

We hosted our first-ever gingerbread house decorating contest on December 7th.  Congratulations to our winners, Caitlyn Daniels and Ryan Vaught.  You can see their masterpiece on our website at beckleyfirstbaptist.org.

On December 21st, a group of us went caroling at Hidden Valley Nursing Home in Oak Hill.  What a blessing!  We ended the evening with great fellowship and pizza.

What’s up next?  Only one of our world-famous lock-ins!  From 6 PM to midnight on January 2nd, you are invited to bring some friends and celebrate with us.  We plan to play in the gym at Crescent Elementary, eat, participate in a scavenger hunt, eat, play games, eat, share devotions, eat, and host a talent show.  Please join us!!!