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.



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.


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.

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.

ABW Spring Update

by Martha Bennett

This year’s spring rally will be held at Breckenridge Baptist Church on Sat., April 22, 2017.  Registration begins at 9:30 and the program starts at 10:00.  We will have our guests “The Sparrow’s Nest”.  It is a rehabilitation house for women who want to leave addiction problems behind and start anew.  They have been open for about a year.

Non-aerosol cleaning products are always needed. However, there is a need for outdoor toys and perhaps small indoor toys as well.   Learning parenting skills with their children once a week is part of the program.  Please come and join us to learn about what’s being done and what else we can do to address this situation prevalent in our country.  A luncheon hosted by the Breckenridge ladies, Angels of Hospitality, will conclude the meeting.

ABW April Update

by Norma Gunter

The American Baptist Women’s Ministry Focus for April, 2017 is See…the Poetry of God. The scripture is Luke 24:1-.35, John 20:19-29.  April is designated National Poetry Month, which seems fitting for Easter.  The word poetry comes from an ancient Greek word that means. “I create.”  Through the story of resurrection, God creates God’s people in new ways!  The writer of Hebrews tells us that “faith is the assurances of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” But the Easter story is all about seeing.  The resurrection became real for Mary when she saw Jesus in the garden.  Thomas could not believe until he saw the nail prints in Jesus’ hands.  Jesus was recognized by Cleopas and another when they saw him break bread.  This month we’ll try to see with new eyes!”

We, Beckley First Baptist American Baptist Women, can see a new thing in our 2017 SPECIAL PROJECT.  We are joining the American Baptist Women of West Virginia in a state wide effort to make the Sunny Day Leadership and Activities Center a reality.  The new facility, being built at Camp Cowen, is scheduled to be open for the 2018 camp season.  The building will house three class rooms and a gymnasium.  Our goal is $12,000 for furnishings of the meeting spaces.

Another new thing we can see in 2017 is our MOP (Mission Outreach Project) to help our new missionary family to Mexico with a 4-WD VEHICLE. Juan and Denise Aragon are raising money now for their support and will be working in an area of Mexico that requires a 4-wheel drive vehicle.

Lizzie Lewis Mission Circle members rolled over 80 bandages along with 4” x 4” cotton squares for hospitals in Africa.  Watch for the dedication of these gifts made with our hands for God.

While going through old mission papers I found a thank you letter written July l, 1974 from a missionary in Nigeria that proves that Beckley First Baptist Church American Baptist Women have been making the roller bandages for over 43 years.  In the letter the missionary wrote, “We surely thank God for your help and share in the work here.  Thanks to all who spent so many hours making them and packing them so beautifully, and also for the expense and effort it was to get them sent.  It’s not an easy job, but we know it was a work of love.  Please pray with us that the hospital may be a true light for Jesus Christ in this part of Africa.”  After the dedication the supplies will be shipped to the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Maryland where they will be joined with roller bandages from all across the USA and shipped to Africa.  Thanks to everyone who supplied old sheets, tore the strips, sewed them together, measured the length and rolled each bandage, using our hands for God.