ABW Summer Update

by Norma Gunter

I want to thank everyone for their prayers, phone calls, visits, food and concern after my fall in N.C. I’m well on my way to recovery thanks to my nephew’s wife, Carla, a RN who works in Dayton, Ohio, who dropped everything and stayed in Wilmington with me for 10 days risking losing her job. I have an appointment June 23 for a physical therapy consult and will find out more about what I need to do. I’ve missed everyone and all the things going on at FBC.

The following is from the web site of Keith Meyers our missionary in Mexico:
This past weekend in the Sierra Norte, while we were waiting on the church service to begin at Zongozotla, Boyden and I were standing on top of a flat concrete roof that over looked the community. Words cannot describe the beauty of the mountains and this small community. With the physical eye, it looks like a community that has nothing; however, the people are rich in contentment. I have so much to learn about what true contentment is in my life and they have so much to teach me.

Boyden turned 17 last week. As a parent, I appreciate those times when I am able to have a mature conversation with my teenage son. We talked about the internal change that has happened inside of us over the past couple of years. There has been a priority shift in our lives. It is more than a shift.  I have reflected much on our conversation this past  weekend. I am no longer the same person that I was two years ago. I don’t think that I will ever know that man again. A few years back, I read a book by Max Lucado called, “It’s Not About Me.” In the first chapter he mentions that before 1543 and Nicolaus Copernicus observations, we believed that the Earth was the center of the universe; not the sun. I think that is the transformation that is gradually occurring inside of me. The lives of others are of a great value in the Kingdom of God; should not the lives of others be the center of my universe as well? Each time we visit with our churches and our communities, we see the poorest of poor. Just a year ago the scarcity was the focus of my eyes. Mud floors, outside toilets; sometimes just holes in the ground, body odor, no running water and many other signs of poverty are just a few of the visual indications that my eyes were drawn to. I praise God that He is allowing me to see past the poverty and just be with the people.

Trying to be more like Jesus is hard. Let’s face it, He is perfect; however, is this not the challenge of the Christian faith? Striving to be like Jesus and allowing Him to change you from the inside to the outside. Boyden and I talked about a few other things that morning on the rooftop in Zongozotla, but I think that he and I both agree that we are content with these changes and challenges inside of us. As well, we both realized that we want to remain pliable to the call of God in our lives.

Where did the Summer go?

by Doc Adkins

“God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” Genesis 2:3

The old Porgy and Bess tune that declares, “Summertime, and the livin’ is easy” no doubt was written when life was so much different than what it is now. If you’re like most people, you are hoping that summer will be a time to kick back and relax a little, but maybe you’re afraid that it will end up like most other summers with lots to do and flying past far too quickly.

I have to confess to all of you, I am not a “rest kind of person” and my family is constantly bailing me out of exhaustion and full blown emptiness because I think of a kazillion things to do around the house or church or our camp. I don’t stop until the job is finished either even if the neighbors are in bed and it’s pitch black dark outside.

But while we may complain,  the fast pace of summer with all of its chores, the packing and unpacking for vacations, and repeated trips to Little League games, it would be good to stop and think about “easy living.” So, let’s get some perspective from God’s Word about the importance of rest.

It can’t go unnoticed that God Himself rested after six days of assembling the universe. Knowing that time to kick back was important for the people He created, God instituted the Sabbath so that we would get the point that no one can work without a break along the way.

Tanks that run on “weary” all the time soon lack the stamina to do well spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and relationally. Even Jesus, with more sermons to preach, more people to heal, and more tasks to accomplish for His Father, often went apart to rest a while.

I am not sure why it is that some of us feel guilty or unfulfilled if we are not busy all the time. It’s important to realize that not everything needs to be done—at least not done right now. It may be more important to sit back with a tall glass of iced tea and contemplate the beauty of nature and the greatness of our God who is as faithful to us as the dependability of the seasons. As the hymn says, in “summer and winter and springtime and harvest . . . join with all nature in manifold witness to Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.”

So carve out a little easy livin’ time this week and refresh your heart and spirit with blessedness instead of business. And don’t worry; the chores will still be there. They aren’t going anywhere!

VBS Bible Boot Camp

We are excited to announce that this summer we will be holding a “Super Saturday” VBS program. It is called “Bible Boot Camp for Jesus” and will focus on Ephesians 6:10-18 (training to be in the Lord’s Army). This program will be held on June 27th from 10am-3pm at the church and activities will consist of: story time, crafts, singing, outdoor fun, and a cookout lunch. Kids from the age of 3 years old to 8th grade are invited to participate in this day of fun! Wearing camo is encouraged, but not required. We hope that church members will bring their children and grandchildren and that word will be spread throughout the community about this exciting event!

Backpack Ministry June Update

by Joyce Mills

The Backpack Ministry has had an awesome school year.  We’re  going to continue until  June 19 this school year.  We have discreetly provided nutritious, child friendly, easy to prepare food to on average  14 chronically hungry children.   The food has been distributed in ordinary backpacks students take home over the weekends and at out of school times.

For students in need, the program:

  • Provides nutrition
  • Eases anxieties
  • Reduces absenteeism
  • Improves attention span
  • Raises academic performance
  • Increases self esteem

It also teaches good eating habits, provides good community role models, demonstrates community pride and serves as an effective outreach program for the church.  Those who have helped to keep this program moving and effective this school year are;

Helen Greene, Mary Gregory, Maria Veid, Charlotte Hutchens, Pam Bishop, Mike and Patty Atterson, Jeff Oakland, Ken Dilley, Connie Neal, Janice Wood, Nancy Moran, Todd Wright, Brooke Wright, John and Debbie Quinn, Sarah Adkins, David and Linda Allport, Valeria Sellards, Caroline Sellards, Linda Ramsey, Mark Holliday, Caroline Holiday, Julianne Holiday, Mary Stover, Crystal Meadows, Cindy Start, Clark and Joyce Mills, and Rev. Doc Adkins.

Of course, our thanks to Beckley Elementary School Principal, Mrs. Meghan Houck, Guidance Counselor, Mrs. Kristie Norris and the classroom teachers  who made certain that everything was taken care of at school.  Our workers always received a warm welcome and help when taking the backpacks to the school.

Many hands,    many hearts,       many souls,      much compassion!    These are the things that made the Backpack Program work so well.  Add to these things the gifts of food and money given by many friends  and church members  and that has made for a very successful school year.

Thanks to each of you for  what you have done for this Ministry! It has been said that generosity  is a sign of a great soul.  Each of you must surely be one because you gave so generously of your time and money.  Thank you so much and remember we will start another year in August.

The need this month is cans of pasta with meat.  Please put on the back counter in the kitchen.

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 (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.