ABW April Update

by Norma Gunter

“Behold, my friends, the spring is come;
The earth has gladly received the embrace of the sun
and shall soon see the results of their love!”
Sitting Bull, native American leader

These are quotes from Guideposts 15 Uplifting Spring Quotes.  My favorite quote is:

“I love spring flowers;
daffodils and hyacinths are
the ultimate flowers for me.
They are the essence of spring.”
Kristy Gallacher, television  presenter

My driveway is lined with rows of daffodils and a few hyacinths.  The snow came,  7 inches fell and buried the flowers.  The sun came out, melted the snow, and the flowers look like nothing ever happened.

“Expect to have hope rekindled.
Expect your prayers to be
answered in wondrous ways.
The dry seasons in life do not last.
The spring rains will come again.”
Sarah Pen Breathnach, author

On Saturday April 21 the Raleigh Baptist Association Spring Rally will be held at  the Beaver First Baptist Church in Beaver, WV.  Registration is at 9:30 am and the meeting ends with lunch.  Rev. Elizabeth “Beth” Stone of WV Stone Ministries is the speaker.  A former teacher, Beth and her daughter, Erin, have co-authored a book called Valley of the Shadow.  Hope to see all the ladies of Beckley FBC there.

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”  Margaret Atwood,  Poet

ABW ladies of the First Baptist Church, it’s about time to get our hands dirty.

ABW March Update

by Norma Gunter

The ladies of First Baptist Church are busy tearing worn sheets into 3” strips, sewing them together, measuring five yards, cutting them off and going on to measure more and more. On March 1st at 1pm we will meet at the church and roll these strips into rolled bandages.  Why are we doing this?  We are working on our White Cross project.  What is White Cross?    White Cross is showering God’s love across the United States and around the world since 1919.  A shower of blessings.  How does White Cross work?

“White Cross had its beginnings during WW1, when many church women assisted the American Red Cross by providing surgical dressings, bandages, and other medical supplies. The ‘White Cross Service League’ was organized after the war to support Baptist mission. White Cross was embraced by American Baptist congregations throughout the United States. Through White Cross gifts, church members provide urgently needed supplies that cannot be purchased with limited mission budgets.  The need for both funds and practical items given through White Cross is greater than ever.  American Baptists are generous and caring people with a true heart for missions.”  (National/International Ministries AMC USA brochure)

For over 50 years I’ve been rolling these bandages, along with many other women from FBC.  Each year we are asked to help, by International Ministries, to supply items needed by our missionaries.  What happens to the bandages when we get them rolled?  The bandages are boxed and mailed to the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.
where they are packed (along with bandages from churches all across the US) and shipped to 10 of our partner hospitals in the Congo.  This is expensive for we have to pay the shipping.  (Last year we made 100 bandages) The postage was $28.52 plus 75 cents a pound to ship them on to the Congo.  Are these stripes of old sheets worth to money to ship them to the Congo?  Yes.

One missionary wrote in an email that, “Every time I go on supervision visits to the Baptist hospitals in Vanga, Sala, Kikongo, Boko, Moanza, Kipata, Nselo, Sona Bata, Nsonga Mapangu., Mulolo, or Bandunduville, I visit the room where White Cross supplies are stored. Usually the shelves are mostly empty, and the staff plead for more supplies.  They will soon all be full!  Packed into those boxes (bandages and supplies) is the fragrance of the prayers that follow this shipment and the distinct reminder to our doctors, nurses, and patients, that they are being remembered.  For servants of God working in far flung and difficult corners of God’s Congo world, that’s feeling money cannot buy.  All of us say THANK YOU for the gift of White Cross.”

Some to the uses for these rolled bandages are:  post-operative dressings, dipped in plaster for casts, around the shoulder for a sling, to make a tourniquet, etc.  They are also used to hang from a screenless window or door to keep flying insects out and let in a cool breeze, attached to a nail in the wall to hold IV fluids, etc.

But most important is the gift of love from our ladies as we share our energy, our money, our time, rolling these bandages. Everyone is invited to come join us March 1 to roll all these strips into bandages.

ABW February Update

by Norma Gunter

My copy of the SEASON magazine arrived just in time for the February Mission and Service report.  It was rewarding to see that our 2017 M.O.P. (Mission Outreach Project) for a 4-WD vehicle for the Aragon families use in their mission work in Mexico went far over the goal of $6.000.  According to the Seasons Honor Roll of Churches for Jan. 1 to Dec. 3l, 2017 $14,393.33 was received. (Page 13).  Also our SPECIAL PROJECT for 2017, Sunny Day Leadership and Activities Center Furnishings for the Meeting Spaces, goal of $12,000 was met with $16,893.25.  PTL.  God is good. This project was for a new building at Camp Cowen.

This year, 2018, our M.O.P. is Trees from Zechariah 3 for South Africa, with a goal of $6,000.  The money contributed to this project will help train, equip and supply people to run local fruit and nut tree grafting nurseries for local profit, nutrition, environment improvement and sustainability in South Africa. Our American Baptist International Ministries Medical Missionaries Drs. Rick and Anita Gutierrez will manage this project.

The SPECIAL PROJECT for 2018 is new roofing for the lodges at Parchment Valley Conference Center and has a goal of $12,000.

Other information found in SEASONS magazine is the date for upcoming West Virginia American Baptist Women events.  The first being the Third Annual Women’s Camp at Camp Cowen April 13-15, 2018.  The focus is “Better Together” and the speakers are Rev. Jana Stoner and Jillene Narraway.  The theme scripture is Ephesians 4.  Ladies, 18 to 95, you are invited to join them for the journey as they grow, learn and share on being “Better Together.”  The cost is $45 for the weekend.  Call 304-840-1482 or email kasey.madden@icloud.com to register.  Take a friend and enjoy an early spring at Camp Cowen.

Have a blessed Valentine’s Day.  Stay warm.

ABW January Update

by Norma Gunter

Virginia Holmstrom, Executive Director of the American Baptist Women’s Ministries, wrote in her letter, December 2017, “I Believe…I believe in the deep passion for mission that motivates American Baptist women to be the hands and feet of Christ in their churches, communities, and world.”

“I believe in Christ-centered mission of ABWM to encourage and empower women and girls to serve God.  Further, I believe that God created every person with unique giftedness and purpose, and you and I are called to encourage and empower them to live their lives for God’s good.”

“I believe that when AB women  welcome the uniqueness of one another—marveling at the differences we each bring to these ministries—our beloved community will reverberate with the love and grace of Jesus Christ, and the whole world will move a bit closer to peace.”

American Baptist Women’s Ministries new brochure is broken down in three categories, CHRIST-CENTERED- ENCOURAGING & EMPOWERING WOMEN & GIRLS-SERVING GOD.  Under Christ-Centered is EVENTS-ABWM offers many opportunities for women to get together in conferences, retreats and online events.  The other subject under Christ-Centered is RESOURCES-ABWM provides resources for ministry with women and girls.  The resources include print, downloads, podcasts, blogs and other networking tools.

Under Encouraging & Empowering Women and Girls is LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT and AB GIRLS.  Leadership Development-ABWM is committed to helping women find and develop their leadership potential.  (This year the West Virginia ABWM had several programs on leadership and our own Joyce Mills taught one session which can be seen on UTube.) AB GIRLS-Girls are leaders too, they are our future leaders.  This program offers girls an opportunity for growth and development into women of God.  (At one time FBC had a Guild Girls program.  All we need is a lady or two to step up and organize one for our young ladies.)

Under Serving God is MISSION EXPERIENCES,-ADVOCACY-WOMEN & GIRLS MISSION FUND.  MISSION EXPERIENCES.  In person and online, ABWM offers a wealth of opportunities to experience and learn about mission.  Hands-on mission projects, mission trips around the world & the USA help women expand their knowledge, learning how to serve God.  ADVOCACY-ABWM empowers women to become involved in advocating on issues that impact women and girls.  WOMEN & GIRLS MISSION FUND-This fund is used to provide life changing opportunities for women and girls in the US and around the world. (The ABWM is asking for women to partner with them with a monthly gift of $10 or more.  (They can be reached at www.abwministries.org)

HAPPY NEW YEAR from FBC ABWM.  Don’t forget our missionaries and their families in your prayers.

ABW December Update

by Norma Gunter

Thanksgiving is over and we, wives, mothers, daughters, grandmothers (all women) enter into the most busy season of the year. The first thing in December at FBC is the Retired Ministers and Missionaries Offering, our fourth and final American Baptist Churches USA offering this year. Our ministers and missionaries have given their lives to serve the Lord and this offering is a little over and above gift at this time of the year. My good friends, Rev. Bill and Cora Withers are gone now but this offering brings back to me memories of their service to the Lord and their friendship. Bill sang at my dad’s funeral and Cora went to nursing school with me. I still miss them.

The last Sunday in November I met a visiting older missionary couple, on my way to the elevator, who worshiped with us in the morning service. They said they minister with struggling churches and plant new churches across the US. They are working now with a struggling church in Florida. We never know who we are worshiping with.

When talking to Joyce Mills recently she suggested you might like to know more about the missionary we support, Debbie Mulneix’s, new role. She was planning to retire in 2017 but was offered a new job with ABC USA International Ministries. The following article is from “Mission Matters In The Mountain State” Fall 2017 issue from The Office of Mission Support of the WVBC.

“Debbie Mulneix has been asked to take a new missionary role. As a regional missionary to Asia and Southeast Asia, she will work with Leslie Turley and Ben Chan to strengthen relationships with partners in the region. Debbie’s main responsibility will be to provide training to churches in Asia and in the US to send volunteers and short-term mission teams to enrich this cross-cultural ministry experience and to prepare their hearts and skills to become global servants.”  She will also assist the two area directors in providing care and service arrangements to their special assistants, volunteers who regularly travel to specific countries to help with programming and projects, A unique part of her new responsibilities will be to organize small groups to accompany her as she visits each partner. These Groups may be educational groups or work groups, as is appropriate at the time.”

Last week I received a letter from Debbie where she shared about her new job and plans she has. She wrote, “I am so pleased to announce that I have begun my new role as Regional Missionary for Asian Partners. The great thing about the change is that the job is relating to the people I have been working within the past, plus several additional groups! Each time I travel overseas, I plan to take a group of volunteers to meet these partners and experience what it is like to be a Christian in a foreign country. If you have never gone to another country on a mission trip, or if you are starting a new passport because there are no more Visa stamp pages, I would love to have you join me in a trip. There are several of us working on these “Friendship Mission Trips” and we already have 6 planned for 2018. I cannot do this alone. I need people to come alongside me: to partner with me and the rest of the teams in sincere prayer. I’m also asking families to be involved through financial partnership.” This would be a great opportunity for someone from FBC to go on a mission trip.

Well another year is almost gone. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the American Baptist Women of FBC.

ABW November Update

Do you ever wonder what the lives of our American Baptist International  Missionaries are like? Last month I shared with you about our young missionary family, Denise and Juan and their two young children that arrived in Mexico and faced two earthquakes in the first days of their mission work.

Since they arrived their son, Juancito, celebrated his 7th birthday and Juan  also celebrated his birthday.  Pictures on Facebook show Juancito’s new skateboard. and them riding new bikes.  They are enrolled in school there and they look happy.

Another ABIM, Susan Hegarty, tripped and broke her right ankle October 12th.  She has pictures on Facebook of her in the hospital in San Jose, Costa Rica.  The X-rays show a plate and pins.  She is now receiving physical therapy.  Her teenage daughter, Katherine, is in high school there.  They recently went through hurricane Nate that was one of the worst storms to hit San Jose.  There was heavy rain, mud slides,  flooding, closed schools and highways.

She said the recent rains brought back memories of when she had to change a tire back in June in heavy rain.  She had most of the lug bolts off when a lady stopped and had her son change the tire.   She said the incident brought back another memory when her father made his children learn to change the oil and change a tire if they were going to drive.

Susan was in WV for Camp Global in 2008 where Lonnie and I got to visit with her.  Juan and Denise were there also.  They had only been in WV a short time.  The last time I saw Susan was two years ago when I went to Costa Rica for my 80th birthday.

Another ABIM, Ray Schellinger, on October 13th, wrote on Facebook about his  recent visit to Deborah’s House In Mexico where he met with two volunteers who go to Deborah’s House for a week each year since 2007. Their skills as an electrical engineer and a chemist are used as they built stairs, a deck, wired the workshop and the new educational building, the sewing center and much more.

While there Ray met with a group of the women, around the dining table, where they discussed the Bible story of the Samaritan woman at the well.  He said, “the Samaritan woman was longing to be in a place where she would be protected.”  He told the group,  “They came together at a home dedicated to becoming a place where all who needed it could find safety.  This is where God meets us in our need as we search for grace, and this is where God offers a  fountain of living water, welling up from within.”  My trip to Deborah’s House opened my eyes to the needs of abused women.

These are some of the stories about the lives of our missionaries. As you can see these missionaries need our prayers and support.  Give to the World Mission Offering.

ABW October Update

by Norma Gunter

We are now receiving the 2017 World Mission Offering here at First Baptist Church.  The theme, Discipleship:  Come, follow me.  (Mark 1-17)  “It is our mission to follow Jesus just as the disciples did more than 2000 years ago.”  This offering goes 100% to support our missionaries.

It is hard to understand what our missionaries lives are like.  Take for instance our newest WV missionary family, supported by First Baptist Church, Rev. Juan, Denise, Juancito and Zeba Aragon who left WV  September 6, 2017 for Mexico.

Juan worked for West Virginia Baptist Convention as Hispanic Ministries Strategist, got his citizenship, graduated from college, and was ordained since coming to West Virginia in 2008.  On August 6, 2017 he and Denise were commissioned as International Ministries missionaries to Chiapas, Mexico.  On September 6, 2017 they left West Virginia for Mexico.  Juan wrote, “Today we start a new journey trusting that the Lord’s hand will continue to guide our steps as He’s done till now.  We were blessed to have part of our West Virginia family come and send us with their love and prayers.  We love you.”  They arrived in San Gabriel Chilae, Mexico Wednesday night September 6.

They were attending the triennial assembly at San Gabriel Chilae, Mexico with Keith and Debbie Myers before going to Chipas. when the 8.1 earthquake hit on the 7th.  (Chipas is a ten hour drive from where they were) Juan wrote, “Last night we felt a little earthquake.  Never imagined the epicenter would be Chipas or the magnitude, apparently, it was 8.1.  WE ARE OK, but please pray for our brothers and sisters in Chipas.”  On September 9 he wrote, “We heard from our brothers and sisters in the communities and thank God nothing major happened only some damages in some houses.”

On September 18th Juan wrote, “Juancito and Zeba started school in San Cristobal.  Our daughter, Zeba, picked a dinosaur backpack for school.  A little taste of her uniqueness.”  On the l9th Juan wrote, “We are fine.  Evacuated from building.  Kids in school away from us, but they are fine.”  When asked how they were doing after the earthquake, Denise wrote, “doing well, still trying to adapt and make this feel like home, but today shopping in grocery store we got evacuated because of the earthquake.”  This was after the 7.1 earthquake near Mexico City.  The second earthquake since they arrived in Mexico.  Would you leave West Virginia for a country, with your young children, where earthquakes and other hazards are frequent?  Juan and Denise just did.  Jesus said, “Come Follow me.” They also left their home here in West Virginia for sale.

Ladies, our 2017 MOP (Mission Outreach Project) is for a 4-WD vehicle for the Aragon’s use in Mexico.  The goal for West Virginia is $6,000.  Let’s get together and push the offering over the topso they can begin their mission with the 4-WD.  Thanks.

ABW September Update

Fall is going to be a busy season for the American Baptist Women of the First Baptist Church starting with the 49th Annual Spiritual Growth Retreat September 22 to 24, 2017 at the Parchment Valley Conference Center.  The theme is “Fragrance of Beauty”.  The scripture is Ephesians 5:2. The keynote speaker is Rev.  David Bush of the Rainelle First Baptist Church.  The weekend will feature Bible study, workshops, praise music, crafts, and the Women’s Leadership Academy.

The second event is the Raleigh Association Fall Rally here at Beckley First Baptist Church on Saturday September 30th.  Plans are being made now so mark your calendar.

The third event is the 134th Annual Women’s Day Thursday October 19, 2017 at the West Virginia Baptist Convention in Huntington, WV.  The theme is JUST DO IT…FOR JESUS.  The keynote address is by Olivia Goodwin, the missionary speaker is Debbie Myers, and the worship leader is Ginny Prunty.

During September and October we will be receiving the WORLD MISSION OFFERING.  The goal for this offering is $2,000. Of the four annual offerings we receive each year I feel the World Mission Offering is the most important for it goes 100% to our missionaries.

Our new state Mission and Service Coordinator, Dr. Sandra Lutz, is encouraging us, Association Mission and Service Coordinators, to emphasize our MOP (Mission Outreach Project).  She wrote, “we are not up to speed” with our MOP offering for 2017, a 4-WD vehicle for Juan and Denise Aragon for their ministry in Chiapas, Mexico.  The Aragon family will be leaving for Mexico this month.  The state goal for this offering is $6,000.

Also we need to emphasize our 2017 Special Project which is furnishing the meeting rooms in the Sunny Day Leadership and Activities Center at Camp Cowen.  The state goal for this project is $12,000.

Dr. David Carrico said in the Guest Column of the SEASONS magazine, August, 2017, “Remember to communicate!  Talk to one another, make sure you share the news of your church and the women’s ministries.  The ABWM has solid Biblical resources and inspiring program events but you must access them for yourselves”.  So ladies let’s go the Spiritual Growth Retreat, the Fall Rally here at FBC, Women’s Day at the State Convention,  emphasize the MOP and Special Project and give to the WMO.

We can JUST DO IT….FOR JESUS.

ABW UPCOMING EVENTS

Sept. 22-24th – Spiritual Growth Retreat at Parchment Valley. Registration forms in church office.  Theme “Fragrance of Beauty.”

Sept. 30th – RALEIGH/GREENBRIER FALL RALLY –  will be at our church in Fellowship Hall.  Registration will begin at 9:30 with the rally to begin at 10AM.  We will be the hostesses.

Oct. 19th – WOMEN’S DAY AT CONVENTION – New Baptist Church in Huntington.  Theme “Just Do It For Jesus”   Registration and Refreshments at 9:00 AM.  Program begins at 9:30.  Lunch is $6.00 payable at registration.  Guest speaker – Debbie Myers.  Keynote address – Olivia Goodwin. Worship Leader – Ginny Prunty.

December 8th & 15th – ADVENT LUNCHEONS

ABW July Update

by Norma Gunter

Another Lizzie Lewis Circle lady has moved on to her new home in heaven.  Mildred, “Midge” Turner left this world on May 28, 2017.  She had moved back to Pennsylvania but attended morning worship here at First Baptist Church when visiting her family.  Pastor Doc recognized her Sunday May 23rd.  When she was visiting we would get together for lunch and catch up on the news.  When I called, to invite her to the spaghetti dinner at the Beaver Baptist Church, she was at the mall with her son David.  She was going to visit her grandson, whom she adored, and would not be able to go.  I felt bad about not getting to visit with her so I wrote her a note on May 8th not knowing how sick she was.  We will all miss her.

On June 3, 2017, three of us FBC American Baptist Women, made the trip to Parchment Valley for the American Baptist Women’s Ministry 83rd Women’s Conference.  It would be hard to find a more beautiful place to welcome ABW from around West Virginia to meet. The “Getting to know you” theme was designed, “for all of us to better know each other and more importantly to grow deeper in our relationship with God.”  This was a weekend conference but we only attended the Saturday session.  We arrived for the morning session where pastor Jeff Davenport spoke on, “Getting to know the God who conquers our Doubts.”  The morning was filled with prayer, music, offerings and information.         Special guests were our International missionaries to Mexico Keith and Debbie Myers and their children Boyden and Baillie, home on leave.  Debbie Mulneix, our Special Missionary to Asia, explained her new assignment.  She will be working from home, making 4 trips a year to Hong Kong, Nepal, Philippines. etc.  She will still need support from her West Virginia family.

In the afternoon I attended the Mission and Service/Love Gift workshop.  There we were brought up-to-date on Mission and Service and White Cross.  We also received the new quotas for our associations.

On June 15, 2017,  the FBC ABWM women took the new church van to Rainelle to the Fruits of Labor Cafe & Bakery for lunch.  There we enjoyed the farm fresh vegetables and the wonderful bread and pies, worth every mile we drove,  Since my sister, Gail, is visiting from Pennsylvania we decided, after lunch, to make a big circle and follow Rt. 60 East from Rainelle to Summers County to visit my daughter Kelley on her farm.  My other sister, Carrie, my niece, Carla, and my great granddaughter, Kira Belle,  left Rainelle  to see the baby chickens, turkeys, kittens and rabbits.  A long but blessed day.  Ladies if you get a chance to go to Rainelle to the Fruits of Labor Cafe & Bakery, GO.

Don’t forget the ONE GREAT HOUR OF SHARING offering this month.

See…

by Norma Gunter

The American Baptist Women’s Ministry Focus for June, 2017 is See… .  “This is the last official month of the two-year program theme See… .  “before AB Women’s Ministries launches the new theme on Women’s Day at the end of the month.  It’s time to wrap things up!  How have these two years helped you better understand how you see God, how God calls you to see others, and how God sees you?”

Ladies since January 2016 I’ve shared with you from the American Baptist Women’s Ministry Focus Resource book for 2016-2017.  Each month focused on a different aspect of what it means to see or be seen.  We learned about See… The Risen Christ, Angels Among US, Healthy Families, My Neighbor, Poverty In America, Spiritual Growth, How God Sees You and ten other subjects.  These and all the others can be found on beckleyfirstbaptist.org web site where the BEAM is published each month.

Next month the AB Women’s Ministry will introduce a new two-year, 2017-2019, focus.  I pray the 2016-2017 focus themes have been helpful and the new one will be too.

The American Baptist Women’s Conference is at the Parchment Valley Conference Center June 2-4, 2017.  The theme is “Getting to Know You”  The scripture Is Ephesians 1:17, “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.”  The Keynote Speaker is Pastor Jeff Davenport and his wife Beth Davenport is the Music Director.  The Guest Speaker is IM Missionary Debbie Muliniex. Several from Beckley First Baptist American Baptist Women will be attending.

A trip to the Fruits of Labor Cafe in Rainelle is planned for June 15, 2017.  PTL, the new church van is available.  A sign-up sheet, at the church office, for anyone that wants to go.