Our Response is Clear

by Joyce Mills

Our response to the poor, hungry, hurting and destitute is clea5.  Conscience and compassion only lead to one conclusion…. We must help!  Together we can be part of the solution.  Here’s how you can join hands with us in the Backpack Ministry.


Educate yourself about the plight of the poor, what life is like for those in poverty.  Become an advocate.    Share what you learn with friends and family.  Talk about the issues and solutions with those of us involved with the Backpack Ministry, those in business and our community.

Even though school will be out in late May this year, we need to continue to PRAY, ENGAGE and DONATE to the Backpack Ministry during the summer.  If we do these three things, we will be ready to help again when school starts in August. If you’re in a position of influence in your job or industry, your company might contribute non-perishable food items towards the next school year.  We take any amount of money you might like to donate.  Our estimate for each child is around $35 per month.  We will end this school year serving 24 kids. If you do the math, you can see it is a bit costly.

We are a 501c3 tax-exempt organization.  Donations and contributions are tax-deductible as allowed by law.  Make your check payable to First Baptist Church and designate it for the Backpack Ministry.  Also, each month we will continue to ask for a food donation.

For the month of May bring enough cans of Vienna Sausage to fill the long, wide shelf in our panty.  Just put it on the back counter in the church kitchen.  We appreciate your support to this very worthy mission project.

Glow Kids Ministries Happenings


  • Sunday School@9:45am! (3rd Floor)
  • Children’s Church every Sunday morning after Sunday School! (3rd Floor)
  • Glow Night every Wednesday@6pm! (4th Floor)


  • Sunday School@9:45am! (3rd Floor)
  • Children’s Church every Sunday morning after Sunday School! (3rd Floor)
  • Glow Night every Wednesday@6pm! (4th Floor)

Illuminate Ministries Happenings


  • Youth Group Sunday Night@6pm 4th Floor.
  • Sunday School @9:45am! (4th Floor)
  • May 20th OPEN GYM Crescent Elementary School!
  • NO CHURCH May 28th on Sunday Night!


  • Youth Group Sunday Night @6pm 4th Floor.
  • Sunday School @9:45am! (4th Floor)
  • NO CHURCH June 18th on Sunday Night!
  • Carowinds Trip – Date To Be Announced

Operation Christmas Child – Growing for 15 Years

by Debbie Vanaman

This ministry has grown in the 15 years that we here at First Baptist have been involved.  In our first year we took in roughly 700 shoeboxes and we were excited about that.  For the last two years, we have received over 3,000 shoeboxes and excited doesn’t even begin to express how we felt and for this, I am extremely grateful to the people of Beckley and the Raleigh County community who gave a shoebox.  The need worldwide to show the love of Christ through the power of a shoebox grows each year.

We here at First Baptist have been collecting items on a monthly basis so that in November our youth can share in this ministry on a Sunday evening and create these gifts for children around the world and this seems to be working well.

For the month of May, we will be collecting small hairbrushes, combs and girl’s hair bows for our shoeboxes.  Donation boxes are located in the Welcome Center and at the top of the ramp in Fellowship Hall.

Please keep this ministry in your prayers daily as shoeboxes are distributed around the world spreading the name of Christ to children and their families.

Minister Abroad: Starting Over

by Rev Robert A Wendel

“Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gifts each of you has received.  After you have suffered for a little while, the God grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will, himself, restore, support, strengthen and establish you.”  (I Peter 4:10;5:10 NRSV)

In the world of televised sports, instant replays have become ordinary.  Viewers and officials can look at plays, shots, tackles and even horses and automobiles or punches over and over again.  So, I moved out of Beckley to Waynesburg, sure that I would be able to, successfully, replay some of my college experience of 40 years ago, remaining what the M&M Board calls ‘a wondering minister’.

In exactly four decades, Waynesburg has changed and ‘my college’ is now a larger university.  Many of my college professors and well-known staff have died.  But, Miller and Hanna Halls are still the center of campus and downtown is still lined, on both sides, with familiar stores and shops.  It feels good to return to First Baptist Church and sense that I will again be able to use my God-given gifts to help, teach, counsel or encourage others in this community.

We all know that it’s really impossible to start over.  In the now-or-never battle of priorities, the secret lies in taking care of life’s biggies now – today or tonight.  You remember the old Sunday School song “Brighten the Corner Where You Are.”  We are each called to use our unique abilities to “make our world a better place.”

As you look at Beckley First Baptist and the neighborhood and community where the Lord has planted it, there is no need to ‘start over’.  The old church still stands.  But, as Jack Hayford wrote “Begin again.  The Lord calls us (no matter where we are), to return to those things which His Word teaches and which release the power of His presence among us.”

I will always be thankful for the years I spent among you all happy that some of my skills and education were sometimes put to good use and my observations on church life were allowed to be expressed.  But, just as the Lord expects more from me, He wants First Baptist Beckley to meet its future challenges.

ABW May Update

by Norma Gunter

American Baptist Women’s Ministry Focus for May 2017 is See…How God Sees You. On the sixth day, after creating humankind in God’s own image, God looked at all creation and saw that it was very good.  Does God still see it as very good?  God sees the widening gap between the rich and the poor.  God sees our wars.  God sees us helping and hurting, blessing and cursing.  God sees us loving some neighbors yet pretending we don’t see others.  God sees the love in our hearts but also our prejudices.  How does God see you?  How does God see your church?”

Did God see you Sunday night April 23 at the service where our newest West Virginia Missionary Juan Aragon shared about his families new assignment to Chiapas, Mexico?  Juan is from San Marcos, Nicaragua.  San Marcos is the town where my first mission work tour began and where I still keep in contact with a family there by Facebook.  Juan has served West Virginia Baptist well, working with the Spanish speaking people as our West Virginia Baptist Hispanic Ministries Strategist.  He and his wife Denise will be working with Keith and Debbie Meyers, another missionary family, we support here at First Baptist Church.  Please pray for Juan, Denise and their two children, Juancito and Ziba.  They hope to raise their support and be on the mission field this fall.

Ladies did God see you Saturday, April 22 at the Spring Rally at Breckenridge Baptist Church?  The theme for the meeting was “FEATHERING THE NEST” and the speaker was Donita Brush from Sparrow’s Nest, a place where women who are battling addiction can recover.  Another place that needs your prayers.

Lizzie Lewis Mission Circle ladies, God saw you as you tore the worn sheets into strips, sewed them together and rolled them into bandages for the hospitals in Africa.  He sees us as we collect quarters for good behavior for Weirton Christian Centers children and the many other projects the American Baptist Women of the First Baptist church does.

I could go on and on with the ministry of the women here at First Baptist Church.  As you can see God sees the work being done here but there is a lot more we could be doing.  We need every woman to help.  You can do something.  If you can’t join a circle you can give to the projects and pray.  Prayer is our biggest need.

Helping Hands that Help Others

Helping Hands Community Resource Center is a ministry not only of First Baptist Church but of other churches in the Raleigh County area.  We have volunteers from several churches and from the community who volunteer on a weekly basis both in our front office and back in our food and clothing room.  A special thank you to those volunteers.

This ministry is growing on a daily basis and so does the need for non-perishable food, soap, toilet paper and gently used men’s, ladies and children’s clothing. These donations allow us to help those in our community are in need of our services.  Please keep this ministry and these families in your prayers on a daily basis.   Your donations can be brought to Helping Hands Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 to noon or they can be left in the large box outside the church office.

The Flowers of God’s Garden

Julia Johnston, 1908 (Edited and Adapted by Doc Adkins)

“The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” Isaiah 58:11

Have you ever seen a garden in full bloom?  Do you remember it?  I remember my Grandmother’s flower garden. Actually, she had them everywhere. Some were by the front porch of the farmhouse, some huge sunflowers at the end of the garden, and some flowers planted in pots she kept and accumulated from year to year. Each flower there was carefully arranged, carefully spaced, carefully pruned, and tenderly cared for.

I learned a lot about planting and caring for what you plant from my Grandmother and it in a small way reminds me of our relationship with God.

Despite the weather, the garden is always tended, the gardener never taking a break from his labors. Do you see it? Smell the air, with the odors of hundreds, thousands, billions of flowers, each one separate, and each one contributing to the bouquet. Feel the breeze, changing directions and bringing new petals to lie at your feet. You see this garden? This is the garden of God. Each flower and each plant is a life, a person, a soul.

Some of the flowers bloom fully and mightily, giving their all for their short span in the garden while some sulk and refuse to blossom.  Some flowers hold back their distinctive smells and colors while others refuse to be dragged down to the mundane. In every case, each flower is tended by the great gardener Himself. Each flower, each shrub, tree, bush, and plant is pruned so that it will have the maximum growth possible and will be displayed to its fullest potential.

Each plant is carefully planted and watered, from the seed to full maturity because the Gardener knows what is best for that plant. The Gardener also knows where He wants that plant and how He desires to show off and display the plant that each plant is the most beautiful to be seen. The Gardener has a plan for His garden and nothing will get in the way.

Each arrangement shows off every flower to its best potential, each skilled grouping takes every flower to its utmost. In every case the Gardener knows what is best, encouraging, cajoling, challenging, pruning, or just letting it go. Every flower is different, every plant is unique, and the Gardener knows each one by name. It is the most beautiful garden in the universe. Do you see it?

You are part of it. You are an integral part of it, not just a sideline attraction. You are the main show, the primary exhibition in God’s great garden of Life!

Don’t be ashamed of what you are in God’s sight but rather be glad for that is how God, our Gardener sees you. Glorious, filled, and given every chance to exceed! You are His prized selection! There is no pressure to perform, just be! Just by existing you make Him so proud! Don’t be ashamed if you are a petunia, a daisy, or lily. The orchids and roses display you to your best! He is pleased with you no matter what the beauty of the others may be, no matter the size of their petals or the depth of their roots. You are unique and only you can do and be where He wants you to be or to do.


Operation Christmas Child 2017

by Debbie Vanaman

As you are reading this article, children all around the world are receiving a shoebox, perhaps one that you packed, and learning about the love of Jesus for the very first time.  As they open up their boxes, they shout for joy at the contents and that someone whom they do not know thought enough of them to pack a shoebox and show the love of God.

We here in the southern part of West Virginia last year packed over 16,000 shoeboxes and that was a record for our area.  The grand total world-wide last year topped 11 million and there still isn’t enough shoeboxes to fill the demands that Samaritan’s Purse receives each year.  Thank you so very much for your support and prayers for this project.

For the month of April, we will be collecting school supplies such as pencils, pens, crayons, markers, small note pads or notebooks, erasers and pencil sharpeners.  Donation boxes are located in the Welcome Center and at the top of the ramp in Fellowship Hall.   Again thank you so very much for your prayers and donations as we strive to carry out the Great Commission to spread the name of Jesus to every corner of the world.

Helping Hands to Help Others in Need

Thanks so very much for your support over these past winter months.  The need was greater than ever and with God’s help we managed to serve the people in our community with coats and blankets as well as food, clothing, soap and toilet paper.  But, the need is still there and grows weekly.    Donations can be dropped off at Helping Hands or placed in the box outside the church office.

We could also use some help working during the hours we are open which is Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 until noon.  Some of our regular workers can no longer help and there are days when we are short-handed.  Please contact Edna Nasby and ask her when she needs help.