ABW and the Million Women Movement

by Norma Gunter

I finally got around to mailing my list of women who have influenced my life and faith.  I came up with 25 names and I’m sure I could come up with more if I tried.  The American Baptist Women’s Ministry of WV came up with the Million Women Movement in 2014.  The following is from the ABW SEASONS magazine:

Million Women Movement is a way for us to declare God’s might and goodness throughout the world.  It is a way to honor the women who have blessed us in many ways throughout the years AND gather funds that will springboard new ministries by and for women in the coming years.  It seeks to meet God where He is doing new things and in faith join Him in His work.  The movement is not about the past and not about the present, but about the future and God’s amazing, innovative movement in the world.

 YOU have an opportunity and privilege to be a part of life changing work that seeks only to glorify God and declare His praises in the United States and around the world.  The Mission Women Movement is not about who can raise the most money.  It is not about how many projects can be funded.  It is not about adding an endowment fund.   It is not about us … It is about God!  Each new initiative benefits from the money collected and will stand as a witness to our faith and trust in God to take what we give and multiply it in miraculous ways.”

I hope I haven’t waited too long to get my names in the book of women that will be presented at the 2015 Women’s Day celebration.  “The Million Women Movement book will be a visible reminder of the work, contribution, dedication and faith of women in the past and present.”

For each name I wrote down I was to send $1.00.  “The funds collected will go towards initiatives that will evangelize, disciple, encourage, educate and empower women in West Virginia, the United States and around the world.”  I pray that you have already sent your list of women who have influenced your life to ABW Ministries of West Virginia in Parkersburg, WV  26104.

Don’t  forget the 37th annual ABW Spiritual Growth Retreat September 25-27th at Parchment Valley Conference Center.

Yes! Backpack Ministry

by Joyce Mills

YES!   It is a great feeling to know that  children will be taking backpacks home on Friday.  The backpacks are filled with very nutritious food that has been purchased especially for them.

As you  read this, maybe you brought a jar of Peanut Butter or you might have provided some money for the shoppers to buy it.  At any rate,  children will benefit from someone at First Baptist caring.  Just so you know, these children are in grades PreK – 5th  grade at Beckley Elementary.

Hunger is one of the many faces of poverty.  It keeps children from learning, increases the reason for children being absent from  school, causes anxieties and low self – esteem, and even keeps the child from paying attention in class.

Thanks to you who have joined the fight to feed hungry kids!

We provide enough food for the weekend.  There is a special menu for each weekend that provides 6 meals and 2 snacks.  Those backpacks are heavy!  However, no child has been heard saying, “That backpack is too heavy, I can’t carry it.”  That backpack will get them through the weekend!  The food must be kid-friendly, shelf stable, easy to prepare, and nutritionally sound, so it is important for us to choose the foods wisely that will make up the backpacks each week.

Our shoppers and menu maker always try to put something special in the backpacks  for  days like Labor Day or any holiday.

We are in great need of a few workers.  Could you possibly help on Wednesday at 5:00 pm?   It doesn’t take long to pack the backpacks –but it has to be done each week.  There are 5 teams of packers, one for each week of the month, so only asking for one week out of the month.  Call me(304.252.0534).

We appreciate any amount of money you give.  We also appreciate you bringing in the named food for the month.  For the month of September we are asking you to bring cans of green beans or peas.   Just put  on the back counter in the kitchen.  Thank you for your help!

Eating Oatmeal and Apple Pie

by Rev Robert Wendel

Every school day morning during my high school career, I ate oatmeal for breakfast.  Many of those same nights, I enjoyed a piece of homemade apple pie.  Some bitter cold mornings as the shafts of light illuminate my bedroom, I imagine that I hear my mother saying “Come, finish your dad’s oatmeal.”

Beginning in the late 1930’s, as soon as he married mom, before and after his hitch in the Pacific Theater in WWII, dad used the GI Bill and worked the 7AM to 3PM shift as a machinist in the steel mill on Neville Island in Pittsburgh.  In 1958, Pittsburgh Screw & Bolt relocated its operation south to Mt. Pleasant, Pa.  Our family set its roots down an hour south of the “Burg”.  So, morning after morning, without fail, days started with hot oatmeal cereal.

For her part mom was a hospital trained nurse, working the 3PM to 11PM turn, doing what was later called ‘private duty’ home care for the wealthy home bound patrons first for $16 a night and later $21.00.  As for dad, the most he ever took home from the mill was $7,000 in 1966.  There they were, a hard working couple raising six children and a pet or two, all without extra help from grandparents or any “babysitters.”

It wasn’t always smooth sailing.  I easily remember the big steel strike of 1959-60, before Federal Food Stamps, when things got so bad that dad and guys from the plant hard to stand in line for federal surplus canned pork and gravy, flour, sugar, lard, cheese and more beans than we kids could count.  That pair of Christmas’ Santa’s sleigh made only a whistle-stop at our house.

Even during the rough times, mom continued her nursing duty while dad made dinner, many nights,  remembering to “surprise” mom with a fresh made pie once she arrived home.  So, there I’d be ready to hear her predictable, frequent question, “Bobby, do you want a piece of apple pie?”

This month we have celebrated another Labor Day holiday.  What are the lessons my parents taught me around the virtue of honest Christian wage earning? As we kids were often reminded,  “To get a good job, get a good education.”  No matter what your work, be faithful to the tasks before you.  Your most important job may well be raising the children the Lord brings into your life.

Back to School!

Can you believe our kids are back in school already?  Where did our summer go?  To celebrate the end of a great summer, Beckley First Baptist hosted a back-to-school pool party.  Great fellowship and food worked to get everyone ready for the new school year (at least we tried).

Did you attend the Faith Forward Music Festival?  It was incredible!  Praise and worship bands from across the area came together to give our community a truly wonderful gift.

The church picnic is coming up on September 13th at Grandview State Park.  Lots of games—including a watermelon eating contest—are planned!

September 6:  Labor Day (no evening church activities)

September 27:  Youth Movie Night and Tacos in a Bag in the 4th Floor Media Center

Stay connected with our youth—we have lots going on!

Operation Christmas Child 2015 (aka It’s THAT Time Again!)

The pencils and crayons are bought.  The kids are back in school.  So now what are you going to do with all that “spare” time?   One suggestion might be to start shopping for your Operation Christmas Child boxes.  School supplies are on sale all over and you can get some really great bargains.

Even though our collection week last year was one of the best we’ve ever had, there’s always room for more boxes.   Each child who receives a shoebox also receives some gospel literature in his/her own language as well as a book called “The Greatest Journey” which tells them about Jesus and explains the road to salvation.  This not only impacts the child, but his family as well.

For the month of August/September we will be collecting school supplies as well as soap and washcloths.  October and November we will be asking for other personal items and small toys.  There are collection boxes in the sanctuary as well as Fellowship Hall for your donations.  Our youth will be packing your donations into shoeboxes right before collection week in November and they had a really good time last year doing this.    If you don’t have the time to go shopping, a donation is always welcome.

As we look at the state of children around the world and the poverty that some of them are living in as well as in the war-torn areas of the Middle East, Samaritan’s Purse takes these shoeboxes to children in these areas and shows them that someone clear around the world cares enough for them to pack a shoebox full of “presents”  just for them.

So, let’s get going and see how many lives we can change.   See Debbie Vanaman if you need any further info.  My all-time favorite shoebox saying is ….


From Autumn To Amen

by Doc Adkins

My childhood autumns in Hinton hold precious memories—the fall revival at church, unpacking warmer clothing, fires in the old cook stove, a well-stocked pantry after a good harvest of the garden, and best of all—FOOTBALL! I loved it. The autumn of life is a strange mixture of nostalgia, blessings, and potential. Our lives are much like the Fall. They yield the harvest of seeds we’ve sown throughout life and braces us for colder days to come.

When life’s autumn arrives, we look back and better understand the way God led us; but we still have work to do—the best and fullest.  “Autumn” only occurs once in the Bible. In Jude 1:12, false teachers are compared to “autumn trees without fruit,” implying that autumn should be a fruitful season, the most abundant of the year. How can we take advantage of the “autumn of life”?

The Unchanging Nature of God

The seasons come and go, so focus on the God who remains unchanged and unchanging. “LORD, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God” Psalm 90:1-2.

There’s a lot of unwelcome change in our world.  And personal changes—children leaving home, the passing of dear friends, and the slow, steady decline in our vitality and health. Sometimes we feel outdated at work.

But amid all the changes, one thing, one person, never changes—our eternal God.

J. I. Packer points out that God does not change. His life is always the same. His character is always dependable. His truth, ways, and purposes do not change. His Son does not change. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever Hebrews 13:8 His children will enjoy His fellowship a million years from now. The world may fade, the stars may fall, the seasons may change, and winter may come. But the God who has been our help in ages past is our hope for years to come. In Him we have permanence, stability, joy unshakable, and life unending.

The Divine Foresight of God

We’ve all suffered setbacks along the way. But God promised, “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten. . You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God” Joel 2:25-26. His divine forethought knew it all in advance, and He can be trusted with what has happened to us in years past.

Our omniscient Savior knows the end from the beginning, and He will bless whatever is yielded to Him. Focus on His foreknowledge, providence, and sovereignty.

The Wonderful Blessings of God

The autumn of life is a great time to focus on God’s wonderful blessings—family, friends, strength, shelter, provision, guidance, care, fruitful ministry, opportunities to serve, more time to pray and study His Word, and eternal life still to come.  During life’s autumn, we have a richer perspective and can count more blessings than ever before.

A Renewed Commitment to God

Autumn is a good time to focus on your commitment to God. Some of the saddest words in the Bible are in Jeremiah 8:20, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” If you’ve never made a commitment to Jesus Christ, do it now, while there is still time.

If you are a follower of Christ, remember to remain close to Him during the shifting seasons of life.

During autumn, we all know that winter lies ahead, but if winter comes, can spring be far behind?

Summer Youth Activities

The FBC Youth Department is celebrating the start of summer with loads of fun activities!

We just wrapped-up another fantastic VBS on June 27th!  Our older kids helped the adults while the younger members of our department enjoyed all of the activities associated with our Bible Boot Camp.  Our thanks to all who participated!

We held Promotion Sunday on June 28th during morning services and celebrated with everyone that evening with miniature golf.

Upcoming events:

July 10th is the Relay for Life at the soccer fields from 5 pm to 12 midnight.  See Sarah Fields for more information.

Camp Cowen will be held from July 26th through July 31st.  Pastor Doc will be taking a van and attending with the kids.  Please contact a youth leader for more information.  Everyone needs to register soon!

On August 1st we will be attending a WV Miners baseball game at Epling Stadium. Please join us for a fun evening.

August 6th will be our annual Back-to-School Pool Party at New River Park from 6 pm to 8 pm.  What a wonderful way to finish summer!

Join us!

Summer Backpack Ministry

by Joyce Mills

The Backpack Program at First Baptist is definitely child focused.  We value each child who receives a backpack full of food each week.  All children are precious in God’s sight. His heart is endeared towards them and His ear inclines to their every need.  Time and again, the Bible says that God is a defender and protector of the poor, the oppressed, abused, impoverished and the fatherless.  And so we place value on children because God does.

Our Backpack Ministry is focused on the individual child.  Because of your generous  giving we were not only able to fill that last backpack for the summer with some extra food but also with two brand new books for each child.  It may be the only books that some of the students have.  Also, the Pastor took time to write a special note and an invitation to VBS was put in each backpack.   When you give any amount of money or bring cans of food you become an advocate for children in poverty.  It is a wonderful thing to know that we are helping children to develop better minds, bodies and hopefully spirits because we help feed their physical hunger.

Jesus said,”Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the

Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” –Matthew 19:14, NIV

For the months of July and August, you are asked to continue your monetary gifts, as well as, Peanut Butter (16 oz. plastic jars) and any good strong tote bags that you might have.  The tote bags will help when a child forgets his/her backpack for a week and something durable is needed for the food.  Just put items on the back counter in the kitchen.  Please know that we appreciate your help!

Helping People over the Rough Spots

by Rev Robert Wendel

Jesus had a lot to say about money.  Grace and gold are inseparably bound together.  The need for earthly security and our spiritual life will be forever linked as one.  Plain and simple, sufficient financial resources can help straighten out almost any area of somebody’s life.

The primary survival motive of the unchristian is “get and keep.”  The driving force of the dedicated Christian should be “give.”  Remember, Jesus reminded his listeners, “Give and it will be given” (Luke 6:38).  The clear difference between these two opposing life philosophies is ‘believers trust that God will keep his promises.  Congregations that learn to count on the Lord’s providence have a genuine sense of charity toward their neighbors.  Such compassion draws people to Christ and his church.

On school year Sundays, as I walk through the door, on the parking lot side of the building it’s impossible not to notice 14 colorful backpacks, lined up and being filled, in our welcome center, for delivery to a local elementary school, as an undeniable expression of our church’s faithful mission outreach, a tangible witness that we really do care.  This effort and the well-known ministry at Helping Hands, bridge the gap between our good fortune and those around us, literally, living from paycheck to paycheck.

Oh, I know that we should never gloat thinking “We have done enough!”  And there are times when I get concerned that some recipients of available charity begin to see themselves as ‘entitled’, letting greed rule the day.  The August Beckley Day of Hope can, easily, fall prey to such notions.  But, too much kindness is never enough.  One house fire, flood, automobile wreck, loss of a job, or family medical crisis, can find you or me in the next bread line.

A relatively new idea, these days, has come to be known as, “Paying it forward,” helping with something today because tomorrow you and yours may need a boost over the rough spot in the road.  “May we give, Lord, as  you, have extravagantly given to us!”

Operation Christmas Child 2015

I know you’re thinking it’s way too early to start thinking about this but truly it’s not.  In August, every store in the area will be having school supplies on sale and it’s a great time to purchase those items and start filing your shoeboxes.

This project has grown and grown over the years and truly has been a blessing to the millions of children around the world who receive a shoebox in countries where Christianity has never been shared.  It costs around $20 to fill a shoebox plus the $7 shipping but what an impact this has.  The items along with the literature placed in the box by Samaritan’s Purse called “The Greatest Journey” may be the only “gift” a child has ever received and to have that gift share the name of Jesus is truly an awesome way to spread the name of Jesus around the word.

So, let’s get started early and see how many shoeboxes you can fill this year.  While it’s not all about numbers, it’s about changing lives and reaching out to children and their families showing them the love of God and it’s all done one shoebox at a time.  We can change the world through the power of Operation Christmas Child but it all starts with you.