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 (beckleyfirsbaptist.org).  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 www.beckleyfirstbaptist.org/thelight for event announcements and details.

Spring has Sprung!

Spring has sprung!  Our kids have enjoyed reconnecting after a long winter.

On March 15th we tested our kids’ creativity and challenged them to create a house for their Easter Peeps.  Check our Instagram page (Instagram.com/beckleyfirstbaptist) to see their work.  Construction was quickly followed by demolition as they ate their creations.

On March 23rd, we prepared for the Easter Eggstravaganza by stuffing hundreds of eggs full of goodies.  The eggs were hidden throughout the church with clues leading to their locations. We invited the community to join in the fun on March 28th.  Check out the photos on our website (beckleyfirstbaptist.org).

On March 29th, our kids completed their lesson on service by assisting in the long-awaited Valentine (now Palm Sunday) dinner.  They were a big help by serving during and cleaning up after the event.

Our older youth have been challenged by their Sunday school teachers to learn the Romans Road.  What a blessing that they will be able to share with others!

We are planning exciting events over the coming months.  Stay connected with us on Instagram and at beckleyfirstbaptist.org.  We look forward to seeing everyone on Sundays at 9:45 am for Sunday school and church, and at 6 pm for our Family Fellowship time.

Minister in the Pew: Already Missing the Elephants

by Rev Robert A Wendel

Have you been a fan of elephants at the circus?  Well, the next time they’re in town, rush out and see them because they are being pulled from all the Ringling Brother’s shows by 2018.  Kids love these large, majestic creatures, whose trunks sway as they ample around the center ring.

The absence of the performing elephants will certainly be a big change under the world’s most famous Big Top.  We humans don’t like change, even if changes come slowly.  We know what we anticipate seeing or doing at most public events. There’s a script in our heads that’s been there since the days when we begged our parents for cotton candy.

If we’re counted present at most regular Sunday morning worship services, we know in that hour there will be three hymns, a sermon, an offering and a rundown of the congregation’s upcoming doings.  We just don’t like surprises especially on the Sabbath.  Everyone knows we conclude this weekly ritual at noon.  Lunch awaits.

Pastors often refer to God as our rock.  It’s reassuring to lay hold of this picture of the Almighty, to catch the stability, the permanence and the strength we find in Him.

In this time of unexpected change, knowledge that God is enduring and unchanging is a source of unshakable comfort even for now-and-then Christians.  Still, we all have to handle the things that disturb us.  Sometimes, we call them “the elephants in the room.”  Often there is no inner peace this side of those human struggles.

Non-believers have been known to mock these who seek refreshment, renewal or some sort of personal, spiritual recharging within the confines of our faith and our relationship with our Maker.  No weakness here, only abiding, honest joy!

This certainly is a word of assurance and it can be ours even after this year’s beautiful Easter flowers have served their predictable, unchangeable purpose, reminding us – Jesus lives!  And indeed, one day, so shall we.

ABW Mission and Service

by Norma Gunter

I returned from Costa Rica, 2/5/15, after spending 2 weeks at CEDCAS with Lillian Solt and two                 work teams from Pa.    I’ve know Lillian since l994 and this was my 6th visit there.  The last was in 2003           when Lonnie and I went down for the opening celebration of CEDCAS.   I wanted to celebrate my 80th birthday there so my sister and I decided we weren’t too old to travel and made plans to go. PTL it all worked out great.

We worked at a Baptist Church, St. Thomas, about 45 min. from CEDCAS.  We ate most of our lunches there.  The food was prepared by the women of the church. It was delicious.  Three days we helped with Bible School for about 80 children.  The kids are beautiful and the people were very friendly.  Electric work, building, painting and clean-up work was also done at the church.  We saw rainbows about every day on our way back to the clinic.  The second week the sky was lit up with the full moon.  We also saw beautiful flowers and birds everywhere.  The weather was in the middle 70’s with a constant breeze.

We ate most of our breakfast meals at CEDCAS.  They were very good also.  We ate in three local restaurants.  One chicken, one Chinese and one Costa Rican.   We made two Sat. day trips to see Lillian’s work with the children and one trip to the squatter community of Guarari where the team the week before us had given away shoes.  We spent our first Sat. 1/24 with a bus load of children, from the squatters community, at a church camp in the mountains. We played games, did crafts, gave them refreshments, backpacks with school supplies and a bag of candy for over 50 children.  Different organizations try to help these  children who are refugees from other Central American countries like Nicaragua, Honduras, etc. The local Catholic church helped CEDCAS with a Christmas party for 400 of the children from  Guarari.

These children live in huts made of scrap tin, lumber, plastic and whatever they can find.  On Sun. 2/1, we visited the town which is located in a ravine near Heredia where CEDCAS is located.

There is no running water, no electricity or sewage facilities for the community.  One lady, who Lillian helps, invited us to enter her home.  An experience I’ll never forget.  There was two makeshift beds for a family of 6, clothes piled everywhere in the one dark room.  The rest of the home was outside with no kitchen and no bathroom.  Sewer water ran down a ditch in front of the houses.  Heavy rains are washing out the big ditch which runs through the town.  It is washing out the bridge to the house where Lillian was using for programs for the people.  The bridge has been condemned so they are unable to uses the bridge which is the only way to the house.  Since it is condemned they would be liable if someone was injured.  They are raising money to buy another home nearby for their programs.

We visited the second area, Harquestes, on Sat. 1/31 to visit the church and spend the day with the children.  Lillian told us they have given away over 600 cows. The people were unable to feed the large animals so they started a program 14 years ago of giving away baby chickens instead.  The team played games, did several crafts, fed them hot dogs and gave away backpacks with school supplies and bags of candy.  There were over 100 children there.  It is a very poor section of the country with frequent floods and no jobs.  The pastor’s young daughter was recently killed in a motor cycle accident.  The town is 2 hrs away over the mountains through the rain forest.  What beautiful scenery.

In our daily devotions one of the men said when someone asks, why don’t you send the money you spend instead of going there yourself?  Tell them “God didn’t send a check.”  The people know you care enough for them to come and help in person.  I think I received more hugs in two weeks than I did all last year.  If you ever get a chance to go on a mission trip—go.

More about CEDCAS and my visits with Susan Hegarty, our own American Baptist Missionary in Costa Rica, next month.  For now our ABW is getting ready to roll bandages for our Overseas White Cross Handwork quota and send a Walmart gift card for our Overland White Cross quota. We also have a White Cross Purchase Plan Request for South Africa & Burundi.  Women of First Baptist come join us in helping people around the world.  We need your help.