Cheering for Number 22

by Rev Robert Wendel

For the first 18 years of her life, there was nothing unique about Lauren Hill. She was a bright, stunningly attractive blonde high school student who wanted to play college basketball,  wearing a game jersey embroidered with the number 22.

Then, suddenly without warning doctors discovered an inoperable cancerous growth inside her brain that would, in a matter of months, surely and quickly take her life. Yet, Lauren began attending freshmen classes and faithfully practicing with new teammates at Mount St. Joseph College. After all, her fondest wish was to play in her first collegiate contest. But, the deadly cancer was closing in on her.

Her resolve, spirit and courage was celebrated last November 2nd when the tipoff for the lady’s game against Hiram College was moved up on the year’s schedule and played at Xavier University’s Citas Center, before a sold-out crowd of 10,250 and a regional television audience. Miss Hill scored the first and last baskets of the Mount’s 66-55 victory over Hiram College.

So many admiring fans had known to go and cheer Lauren on because she had allowed her very personal story to ignite a regional and national campaign against forms of childhood cancer, doing ratio and television interviews, holding two call-in telethons and requesting individual on-line donations of $22.00. On her October 1st birthday, this crusader was still hoping for more donations.

Amazingly, by her funeral in April, even attended by the Hiram squad, Lauren’s foundation had raised well over 1.4 million dollars. One of the newscasters who interviewed Lauren said, “The only time she broke down (crying) was when she thought of all the young kids who were dying of the same awful disease.” The slogan for the effort was “Don’t Give Up!” Not yet two decades old, Lauren Hill taught us a great lesson, a lesson worthy of our applause.

Billy Graham wrote, “A happy life is not one filled with only sunlight, but one which uses both light and shadow to produce beauty. Hard times can become a blessing because they form a backdrop for the radiance of the Christian life. In the words of Thornton Wilder: “Without your wounds, where would your power be? In love’s service, only wounded soldiers will do.”

Our church is certainly blessed with the financial resources to support several local, regional, and national causes. Each time we personally or collectively do so, we extend the love of Christ to people in our wounded world!

ABW June Update

by Norma Gunter

In the April BEAM I told about my stay at the CEDCAS clinic with missionary Lillian Solt in San Jose, Costa Rica. This month I want to tell you about our own American Baptist Missionary, Susan Hegarty,  that we also visited with while in San Jose.    Susan was the missionary in Nicaragua for the First Baptist mission work team led by Dick Christeliet in 1993. Lonnie had prostate cancer surgery in 1993 and we couldn’t go so  we made plans to go in 1994.  Susan was also the missionary when we made our second mission trip to Nicaragua.

Susan was at our home when we had a going-away party for Dick and Louisa and she came to First Baptist Church several times over the years.  One time she missed her flight in Charleston when we were delayed on the West Virginia Turnpike due to an accident. They put her in a hotel for the night and she flew out the next day at no expense to her. The last time I saw Susan in West Virginia was at Camp Global at Camp Cowan about 4 or 5 years ago.

After leaving Nicaragua, she was our ABC USA missionary in Cuba where she met and married a Cuban pastor. They had a daughter Katherine who is 14 years old.  About three years ago she left Cuba, with her daughter, and was reassigned to Costa Rica.

Her work for the American Baptist International Ministries is with the Baptist Federation of Costa Rica. She works with pastoral students at the Baptist Seminary and with the Pastoral Care for Women Ministries. We got in touch with Susan when we arrived in San Jose and made plans to spend Sunday with her after church. She knew where the church was located for the church is a part of the Baptist Federation of Costa Rica.  Susan also knew the pastor at St. Tomas and was at the dedication service for the new church about two years ago.

After church she took us to San Ramion, a town about and hour away, to the Maderas Restaurant.  What beautiful scenery on the way and the view from the restaurant was amazing. Susan’s daughter Katy is a beautiful young girl fluent in English and Spanish so she ordered our food. The food was good but expensive.  Most of our sight-seeing was done on our way to and from work.

After lunch we went grocery shopping for lunch food for Katy who was going back to school after break the next day.  Katy goes to an American School which is Susan’s biggest expense before housing and a car.  By the way her car was old and in need of repairs.

We saw the Baptist Headquarters and some of the small churches where she works with  women.  We spent the rest of the afternoon at their apartment.  When she took us back to the clinic we missed our evening meal due to the heavy traffic in San Jose.  Carrie and I ate our first meal from the snack food we had taken with us.

Our next visit with Susan was at St. Tomas Church when she came to help with Bible School.  Since she speaks Spanish she was able to help enroll some of the 80 children.  She also helped us with translation when we worked with crafts.

Since we were in Costa Rica Susan hosted a work team in March.  They spent a day seeing the ministries Susan works with.  They heard testimonies of women who had been impacted by Pastoral Care for Women.  Susan says,  “The reason we minister is to show how our loving and just God is the only one who can transform lives on many different levels, including those affected by abuse.”  Abuse is prevalent in the Latin American culture.  Pray for Susan, Katy and their work.  You can follow her work on Facebook and through the ABC USA website.  Susan is one of many missionaries we support around the world.  Please pray for all of them.

A heart-to-heart with good old Dad

by Doc Adkins

“Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying…” 1 Kings 2:1

June!  The beginning of Summer and a wonderful time to see God at His best. It’s also the month we celebrate Father’s Day.  (Just an early reminder to my girls and maybe yours too.)   I love being a dad. I have “daddy’s girls” right where they want me and I wouldn’t want to be any place else.  

When we are young most of us don’t see the importance of our parent’s advice whether it is fatherly or motherly. Sometimes it is only when we get a little older that we see that a lot of what advice they have given to us makes sense.

In 1 Kings 2:1-10, we see some advice, a charge really, that David gave to his son Solomon before David died. There’s so many good things that he says in this passage. Good advice whether you are a “momma’s boy” or “daddy’s girl”.

  • Be Strong and manly. (vs. 2)
    David knew he was dying so I guess it makes sense that he told his son to be strong. I’m sure the women don’t want to be manly or “shew thyself a man” as the verse says but we can take from this to be the best godly woman you are able to be and teach the daughters to be godly women.
  • Keep the charge of the Lord. (vs. 3, 4)
    In these verses David encourages Solomon to strive to do everything he can to keep his life centered on the Lord. He talks about walking in His ways, keeping His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies.

    David had some ups and downs in his own spiritual life so he knew the importance of a close relationship with the Lord.

  • Show wisdom. (vs. 5, 6)
    David encourages Solomon to use wisdom when dealing with Joab and the things that specific situation entailed in verses 5 and 6.

    I think wisdom is something we all want for our children. I know I want my girls to use wisdom in their choices and decisions.

  • Show kindness. (vs. 7)
    In verse 7 David urges Solomon to show kindness to the sons of Barzillai who had shown kindness to him. Kindness is one of those things that lack in so many people today. I know raising kind children should be one of our goals.
  • Judge well. (vs. 8,9)
    David reminds Solomon of how to deal with Shimei, a man whose life David had spared at one point and time. You really have to go back and read through 2 Samuel 16 and 19 to really understand what the whole situation was about. I’m not going into detail here but judging and carrying out judgment was to be a big part of Solomon’s role as King.

    Even in our daily lives knowing how to judge in wisdom is so important. Also knowing that sometimes punishment has to be carried out is important as well.

When we go on down to verse 10 of 1 Kings 2, we see that David died so these things he said to Solomon were probably some of the last words David spoke.

I think that David’s words to Solomon in this passage ended up being one of the most enduring father-son talks. This was right before David’s death and it was from the heart. David had learned many lessons in his life and I think he wanted his son, Solomon, to learn to keep his life in tune with the Lord so that his life would be the best it could be.

“Thus David the son of Jesse reigned over all Israel. And the time that he reigned over Israel was forty years; seven years reigned he in Hebron, and thirty and three years reigned he in Jerusalem. And he died in a good old age, full of days, riches, and honour: and Solomon his son reigned in his stead.” 1 Chronicles 29:26, 27

So, do you take what your Heavenly Father tells you to heart?

Spring Youth Update

The FBC youth department is continuing to plan fun and educational activities for our kids—all to help us grow in our faith.

We celebrated the Easter season by hosting an Easter egg hunt Eggstravaganza!  Kids searched high and low for goodie-stuffed eggs hidden throughout the church.  Check out some of the photos on our webpage (  There you’ll also see some pictures on our Instagram feed of our kids participating in Palm Sunday.

We tried two new things in April.  First, we played Kahoot Bible Jeopardy using our cell phones to answer trivia questions.  Second, we played kickball…on scooters!  It was fun to play and funnier to watch!

More to come…

We are having an ice cream social fundraiser following Dr. Parvin’s lecture on May 3rd.  Donations will be used to support Caitlyn Daniel’s Diabetes Walk Team—Dia-Beat-This.  The walk will be held in Charleston on May 17th.  Several of our youth are planning to attend in honor and support of Caitlyn.

Summer plans are already underway and include: miniature golf and climbing wall at Little Brick House, Camp Cowen (July 26-31), zip line/canopy tour, Miner’s baseball game, and a pool party.

Dispensing Encouragement

by Rev Robert Wendel

I am fortunate to be one of only seven clinically endorsed American Baptist Chaplains and Pastoral Counselors in West Virginia, a Princeton Seminary trained, acknowledged specialist in pastoral care and counseling.  More than anything, my calling has always been to dispense encouragement.

Most often my encouragement has come into play each time I have had bedside or ER conversations and prayer with folks originally at the Beckley WV Medical Center and currently at BARH hospital here in town, a ten year ministry.

Among the founders of the early church, some writers have referred to Barnabas as a person ‘who distinguished himself as an encourager…a motivator of others in order to meet the needs of the church.’  (Acts 2:44-45,) wrote David Jeremiah.

Barnabas was generous. He was kind. He was involved in the lives of other people.  Barnabas was filled with faith-faith in God, and he had a deep sense of faithfulness in representing the virtues which Jesus taught his followers.

As we survey Barnabas’ life, there are three transferable qualities that you and I can work to build and maintain in our lives:

First – Encouragers perform while others pretend.   The monetary gifts Barnabas shared were the catalyst that prompted the generosity of others in the fledging assemblies.  His gifts were genuine and sincere, with no sense of reciprocal obligation    (Acts 4:34-37.)

Second – Barnabas saw potential not problems.   The true followers of Christ were skeptical of Paul’s supposed conversion.  Barnabas had heard Paul’s testimony and was willing to accept his change of heart.  When no one wanted anything to do with Paul, Barnabas stood up for the underdog.  He believed him and went with him to Antioch (acts 15:22-29).  Later when Paul refused to let John Mark accompany him, Barnabas saw John Mark’s potential and let the younger man go with him to Cyprus (Acts 15:36-40).

Third, Barnabas cared more about people not prominence.   I the eleventh chapter of Acts, Barnabas had been commissioned by the Church in Jerusalem to go to Antioch and ‘strengthen their souls’, saying “We must go through many tribulations to enter the kingdom of God”(14:22).  More important than any notoriety he might receive was the welfare of those who were coming to know the Lord.  So, Barnabas asked Paul to share in this critical ministry, thus offering those believers the best possible teaching.

No matter how much it hurts, encouragers find a way to share and support those whose inner-spirit and faith may only be a flickering flame.   Be a life changer.  Be an encourager.

Praise the Lord for His Faithfulness!

by Phil Parvin

Our Missions impact has been increased as we have expanded our giving & missions budget.  We topped $55,000.00 for missions work in 2014.

Because of our faithfulness and sacrificial giving,  there are new believers in Bolivia, Central America, Mexico, Japan and many other mission fields around the world.  There have been children taken into prostitution, and child labor by human traffickers that are back home and safe.  We have impacted lives that were displaced by hurricanes, earthquakes, and other weather or war related disasters with clean water and food.

Millions of little children that may never have heard of the Love of Christ were given shoeboxes with fun things, practical hygiene items, and a loving word from a Christian that cared enough to put it together and have it sent.

Locally we have served thousands of homeless, disadvantaged families & individuals through helping hands & our backpack ministry.

The Light of Christ and the good news of His love has been evident because of our obedience to the great commission.  Please pray with me and the missions committee that God will touch our hearts to be even more involved both financially, and with our time to show God’s love in our community and throughout the World.

New Year. New Projects.

by Norma Gunter

Ladies start now to make plans to attend the American Baptist  Women of West Virginia annual conference June 5-7 at Parchment Valley Conference Center, Ripley, WV.  The theme for this year is “A Time to Serve and Thrive.”  Look up Jeremiah 17: 7-8 the conference scripture.  Lisa Simmons will be the Inspirational Speaker and Bible Study Leader.

American Baptist Women’s Ministries is starting a new year, 2015, with new projects.  Our Mission Outreach Project (MOP)  is a Chicken and veggie  project for our American Baptist missionaries in central Mexico, Keith and Debbie Meyers.  The kick-off for this project will be at the Annual Women’s Conference at Parchment Valley with CHICKEN SHIRT SATURDAY June 6th.  Purchase or make  a chicken shirt to wear that Saturday.   It costs $125  to provide one family in Mexico with chickens, chicken feed, and material to fence them in.  It also provides material for a vegetable garden.  The goal for West Virginia American Baptist Women is $6,000.  Maybe someone at First Baptist would like to sponsor a family.

The Special Project for 2015 is a truck for Parchment Valley.  There is a desperate need for a truck for the Maintenance Department.  This truck will benefit Parchment Valley Conference Center for many years as they prepare for various camps, conferences and meetings all year.  The goal for West Virginia American Baptist Women is $12,000.

The 2015 Love gift goal for West Virginia is $120,000.  Ladies we did not meet our goal last year.  So let’s keep counting our blessings and filling our purple Love Gift Boxes and together we can meet this new goal.

Our FBC ABW has again lost one of our precious members, Eugenia Sevy.  She attended the Lizzie Lewis Circle each month as long as she was able, even coming to our meetings with her faithful caregiver.  When I visited her in the hospital,  Wednesday April 15,  she had a lot of questions about my mission trip in January to Costa Rica. She said she prayed for me while I was gone. She died on Friday April 17. She will be greatly missed.

On May 30, 2015 the Raleigh Baptist Association Spring Rally will be here at Beckley First Baptist Church.  The meeting will be followed by a luncheon.  All women are invited to attend.


by Joyce Mills

Interesting!  As we were traveling just before Easter a large billboard was right along the highway.  Big, Big letters said the same thing that you have heard over and over that 1 out of 5 children in this great country is hungry.  In smaller letters that same billboard ‘s message was asking for help to feed the hungry.  Isn’t it sad that wherever we go we can read the same message?    The need is great and is the reason you are so very much appreciated when you help with this ministry.

To those who pick up the backpacks and deliver them back to the school, and those who are so faithful in packing them each week – YOU are such a blessing!    These are not difficult jobs –it just takes a little time.  Think how important any one of these three jobs is.  We couldn’t have this Ministry if someone was not willing to do the job.

If you haven’t helped with this Ministry, give thought for a moment as to how you might help.  Of course, there is always a need for any amount of money,  the three jobs mentioned above, you could adopt and sponsor a child for $30. a month, you could meet the truck that delivers food from the food bank each month and bring it to the church,

Only you can determine what you can do.  The need is obvious and we always welcome and feel grateful for any additional help.

It has been announced that school will continue until June 22 in Raleigh County.  The good thing about the extra time is our students will continue to receive the extra food for weekends.  We don’t have to worry about them having no food with this plan.

In closing, perhaps you should focus on what you can gain if you helped with any ministry in our church rather than on what you might lose.  AND, finally…….”.whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things…..And the God of peace will be with you.”      Philippians  4:4-9

For the month of May, we need donations of cans of Chili with Beans .  Just leave the cans on the back counter in the kitchen.  Thanks, we appreciate your thoughtfulness!

How many white hairs have you been given?

by Doc Adkins

As a boy growing up in Hinton, I had a great mom.  She had gray to white hair most of her life. I don’t remember her not having it.  She was saved just a week before she died in April of 1982 but this following story reminds me of her. (at least a little bit)

Matthew 7:2-5 for with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you use, it shall be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, Let me pull out the speck out of your eye; and, look, a plank is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first remove the plank out of your own eye; and then you will see clearly to remove the speck out of thy brother’s eye.

One day a little girl was sitting and watching her mother do the dishes at the kitchen sink. She suddenly noticed that her mother had several strands of white hair sticking out in contrast upon her brunette head. She looked at her mother and inquisitively asked, “Mom, why are some of your hairs white?”

“Well”, her mother replied, “every time that you do something wrong and make me cry or unhappy, one of my hairs turns white.”

The little girl thought about this revelation for a while and then said, “Mamma, how come all of Grandma’s hairs are white? You must have been a horrible kid!”

A funny story, yes — but isn’t it true that we’re always looking for someone to blame for our imperfections? The Lord warned us about the danger of pointing out the faults of others. He said that people with planks in their eyes should not attempt to remove specks out of other people’s eyes. Somehow, we lose sight of this so quickly! We are all still growing.

I don’t know about you but I tend to agree with the person who said “The only person I want removing splinters out of my eyes is someone with a clear vision and a gentle touch!”

The following are some things my mamma taught me:  her touch still touches my life today…

Say yes ma’am and no ma’am.

Always begin and end any request with please and thank you.

Never worry about the newness of your clothes, it’s who’s inside that matters.

Never lie to her! (that’ll get you a whoopin’ every time.)

Be grateful for every kind thing that is done for you, be it big or small. (neither HAD to be done)

–And the best thing:  she promised always to be my mamma.  (God I still so miss her.)

So May is the month of Mother’s Day and a time to reflect on those white hairs that we caused.  To all the dear moms in our Church from a white hair causing preacher…Happy Mother’s Day.

Introducing: The Light at Beckley First Baptist

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.  Matthew 5:16

 “It’s time to let our light out.  It’s time to shine our light on our community.”

On March 22nd, Beckley First Baptist outlined its vision for the future by announcing its new outreach initiative, The Light.

The Light seeks to promote the great things happening in our church, while creating innovative ways to support the ministry of Beckley First Baptist and the spiritual growth of our community.

Over the coming weeks, you will begin to see the vision unfold as new events and opportunities are announced.  Please join us as we share the excitement for the future of our church.

Please join our mailing list by visiting for event announcements and details.