ABW May Update

by Norma Gunter

The American Baptist Women’s Ministry Focus Resource circle program for May is See…Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies.  The Scripture is Luke 2:1-7.  “While it may seem strange to feature a Christmas Scripture around Mother’s Day, the connection is strong.  Mary was, after all, a young mother.  And due to her status as an impoverished woman and migrant, she gave birth in a stall, in very unsanitary conditions.  This month’s theme gives us the opportunity to explore how we can support maternal and infant health.  Sunday  May 8th is Mothers Day.  Our own Edna Nasby is planning to give each family who comes to Helping Hands a Mothers Day gift for as she said, “Every family has a mother and we want to honor them.”  The ladies at Helping Hands made up 332 gift bags containing candy kisses to give out the week before Mothers Day.  They are tied with a ribbon and have a sticker saying, “HAPPY MOTHERS DAY.  GOD LOVES YOU”.

In the February BEAM I reported that our ABW gave $100 to a group of WV Baptist Women going to the Philippines to work with our missionary Debbie Mulneix who works with women caught in prostitution.  In the April SEASONS Magazine two of the women relate their experiences with these young women.  Liz Stewart, a member of the mission team said, “I am truly overwhelmed that God chose me to be His hands and feet to work with this ministry.  It was a true blessing.  Even though there were cultural and language barriers, we were all able to come together for the love of our Heavenly Father.  I have built lifetime relationships, and through the use of modern technology, I continue to have an open dialogue with many of the women.”

Zola Miller, another member of the mission team said,  “There were so many moments in our time with the women I could see God at work.  Our team and the women came together to have a time of worship before breaking out into small groups.”  One woman, “touched my heart and was an inspiration to me and the other women in our small group.”  Ladies I think this was $100 well spent.

In the March BEAM I shared about the new Women’s Camp at Camp Cowen April 1-3.  Younger ABW had asked for ways to learn from the more “experienced” ABW so the first-ever Women’s Camp came about.   There was 189 women ages 18 to 95 who attended.  Had I been able I would have been number 190.  Read more about this camp in the West Virginia American Baptist Women’s Ministries publication, Seasons Magazine.

Ladies our next opportunity to learn more about missions is the Women and Girls’ Conference at Parchment Valley Conference Center June 3-5, 2016.  Registration is open May 1-22, 2016.  Let’s get together and go.


ABW April Update

by Norma Gunter

April’s circle program from the new ABW Ministries Ministry Focus Resource is See…Conversations of Healing.  The scripture is Acts l0. “ We live in a society characterized by division and fear.  Rather than simply addressing different perspectives, media personalities engage in angry shouting matches and name calling.  We are encouraged to fear those from other places and other religions.  Many refuse to talk to people who think or act differently than they do, rather than trying to learn from others.  It seems that people are more inclined to find those things that divide rather than looking for areas of agreement.  This month gives us the opportunity to look at our relationships with those who are different from us, with a goal of building bridges rather than walls.”

Our ABW does this by building bridges to others by supporting American Baptist Women International’s White Cross Handwork around the world. In March we mailed 100 White Cross roller bandages.  You may ask why we tear these old worn out sheets into strips, sew them together and roll them up, pack them in boxes where they are shipped to hospitals in Africa.  Without our donations the 10 hospitals in the Congo would not be able to take care of the patients who come there for treatment.

A medical missionary doctor in the Congo wrote about the roller bandages, “I don’t think there is any place in the world where White Cross bandages are used or appreciated more than in the Congo.  We say this after working here for years, visiting dozens of hospitals and hundreds of health clinics where White Cross material is used for a myriad of needs.  Dressings for burns, slings for broken arms, wrapping a newborn baby—I can think of hundreds of applications for White Cross bandages.”

Some other needs the bandage fill are:  when dipped in plaster they make a handy cast, make a tourniquet when fastened with a stick, a sling to hold a shoulder fast, attached to a nail on the wall to hold up a liter of IV fluids and colored strips hanging from an open door or window, will let cool breeze in and keep flying insects away.

Other items we can make for the hospitals are wrappers for surgical tools that have to be sterilized, cotton 4” x 4” squares, surgical caps and masks, triangular bandages, infant gowns and baby blankets.  We also mailed a triangular bandage, one surgical wrapper, a baby blanket and a baby gown with the roller bandages.  Our Baptist Women from all over the US supply these items year after year.

First Baptist ABW are proud to be a part of White Cross Ministries whose mission is to glorify God in all the earth by crossing cultural boundaries to make disciples of Jesus Christ.

Thanks for everyone’s prayers.  I’m home from the surgery and doing good.

ABW March Update

by Norma Gunter

This month’s March circle program from the new ABW Ministries Ministry Focus Resource is “See…the Risen Christ.”  The scripture is Matthew 28: 1-10.  Easter Sunday is on March 27, 2016, and so we focus on seeing the risen Christ.  Indeed, the first people to lay eyes on the risen Christ in Matthew’s gospel were women:  Mary Magdalene and “the other” Mary.  The guards at the tomb passed out when the angel appeared but the two Marys, afraid as they were, held fast.  The angel commanded them to “go and tell,” and it was while they were obeying, on their way to the disciples, that the risen Christ appeared to them.  They were engaged in the ministry they had been given and, in so doing, saw the risen Christ.”

As American Baptist Women we are also commanded to “go and tell”.  One way we can do this is the new Women’s Camp.  Young West Virginia American Baptist Women have been asking for ways to learn from some of the more “experienced” women.  One way to do just that is the first ever Women’s Camp.  The camp will be April 1-3, 2016 at Camp Cowen.  The camp will, “unite generations of women from across the state at a weekend focused in God’s word, and designed for women to share and grow in Christ no matter what the age.”  (“Seasons”)

The women will participate in: group study and worship, small group discussions, and interest groups where they will share, learning new skills from each other.  The schedule includes:  worship, fun, fellowship, food, speakers, nature walks, candlelight services, SPA night, campfire, etc.   Tentative special interest  groups include:  canning, sewing/quilting, fitness, meal planning, Bible journaling, budgeting/finances and several other groups.

All women 18 years of age and older are invited to participate.  The cost is only $35.00.  A variety of housing is available.  Meals are served family style.  The registration deadline is March 24, 2016.  Women of First Baptist Church get together and go and experience a weekend focused on living life as a Christian woman.  (Registration form on next page)

Money from the Million Women Movement is being used for start-up money for camp programming for this new ministry.   Money is available for new ministries for West Virginia American Baptist Women.  Ladies of First Baptist Church do you have an idea for new ministry?


ABW January Update

by Norma Gunter

Today, January 18, as I was writing this article, watching a flock of robins eating  berries from my holly trees, I received a phone call that my friend and fellow ABW lady, Linda Lowe Buckley, had passed away.  On Friday I went to the Hospice House to tell her goodbye.  She had fought a good fight and it was time for her to go on to her reward in heaven.  She will be greatly missed by her family, friends and the ladies of the Lizzie Lewis Mission Circle.  Good bye Linda, we will see you in heaven.

This month’s February circle program from the ABW Ministries Ministry Focus Resource is  See…The Wilderness.  The scripture is Exodus l6.  Have you ever felt alone, as if you were living in the wilderness trying to figure everything out and get through it on your own, but it just wasn’t working?  We sometimes forget that God is in control.  Instead of seeing God’s hand in a situation, we see only the wilderness around us.  Hardships are part of a larger process that will make us who we are ultimately supposed to be.  We are put through trials we don’t like, but God knows the outcome and God is beside us during the entire experience.”

God provided for the Israelites during their wanderings in the wilderness.  He protected them and brought them through.  Our wilderness times can be caused by many things like;  loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, depression or our own feelings of separation from God.

My own wilderness now is a possible total hip replacement after recovering from the hip pinning back in May.  As from the Ministry Focus Resource, “We are put through trials we don’t like, but God knows the outcome, and God is beside us during the entire experience.”  God will provide for us in the wilderness.

Prayer is the most powerful thing we have to get us through our wilderness time.  Pray for me and all the women going through wilderness times.

The Beckley First Baptist American Baptist Women met the challenge to raise $100 for the February Philippines Mission Trip.  The money will go to buy ministry supplies for the ten American Baptist  women from West Virginia who will be working  with Filipino women caught in prostitution.  Pray for them while they are away.  A special thank you to the women who gave to this project.

ABW Mission and Service Ministries

by Norma Gunter

American Baptist Women’s  Ministries has a new program for 2015-2017.   See… Psalm  34:18 “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good.”  God who saw us in our  mother’s womb (Psalm 139) still sees us today.  We are familiar with the parable about the good Samaritan where the priest and the Levite see  the  wounded man but move to the other side of the road and keep on  going.   They see, but chose not to see.  The Samaritan truly sees the man and his needs and chooses to care for his neighbor. For two years the American Baptist Women’s Ministries will focus on See…  “How we see God and how we are called to see the world through God’s eyes.”  Women will be encouraged  “to grow their relationship with God through Bible study, prayer and fellowship.” You will hear more about this program in the future. (Seasons Magazine)  This appeared in the October 2015 BEAM.

This month I want to share the January Circle program from the American Baptist  Women’s Ministries Ministry Focus Resource.  The name of the program is:  See…People in Bondage.  The scripture is Isaiah 61:1-3 and Galatians 5:1.   “In America we are given constitutional freedoms that allow us to speak up and live free from fear and oppression.  This is not the case everywhere in the world.  More people are in bondage in the world today than ever in history.  With over twenty-one million slaves in the world today, (United Nations,  www.unmultimedia.org, accessed January 6, 2015), it is apparent that our world needs a wake-up call.  Those of us who sit contentedly listening to preachers tell us to feed the hungry and clothe the poor need to wake up!  January is Poverty in America Awareness Month and January 11 is Human Trafficking Awareness Day.  We shouldn’t wait until January to open our eyes and to see the needs in front of us.  This month will look at not only how to see those in bondage, but how to use the freedoms we’ve been given by our Lord to advocate for those who’d have no freedom.”

We at Beckley First Baptist are supporting each month our American Baptist Missionary, Lauren Bethel, who is our Global Consultant on Anti-human Trafficking.  She has shared her ministry with us several times.  We are aware and by partnering with her we are helping.  We can do more by praying for her and for everyone working in the human trafficking ministry on January 11.  Through Helping Hands Ministry we are also aware of Poverty in America.  Perhaps during January we can give more to Helping Hands.

Don’t forget the challenge to give to the Philippines Mission Trip for the 10 ladies traveling to the Philippines in February to work with Debbie Mulneix, our missionary working with women caught in prostitution.

Ladies, we have a challenge

by Norma Gunter

Ladies, we have a challenge.  Ten women from West Virginia Baptist have accepted the call to go on a mission trip to the Philippines in February.  They are going to SHARE & LIVE OUT the GOSPEL among Filipino  women caught in prostitution.

The women will be working with Debbie Mulneix, one of the missionaries FBC partners with each month.  Debbie supports the anti-human trafficking work of Samaritana Transformation Ministries in Manila, the Philippines.  She assists in the development of the Guest House facilities and in the marketing of livelihood products, such as jewelry, and greeting cards.

SMT provides a safe, comforting place for these women.  These women may have never known people who accept them as they are. Samaritana assists these women as they develop many relationships that will last a lifetime.  To learn more about Samaritana check out www.samaritana.org.

The challenge is to sponsor an event at our church to raise $100 toward the cost of the trip for your sisters in Christ and ministry supplies.  Believe me mission trips are expensive for it took me a while to pay off my trip in January to Costa Rica.  By the way, thank you to the ones who helped me with my trip.

Since sponsoring an event costs a lot of money may I suggest that anyone who would like to help us meet this challenge give a donation with a check made out to FBC and mark it for the Philippines  Mission Trip.  When we meet the challenge the money will to be sent to  Linda Carpenter, Treasurer, 63 Wakefield Place, Washington, WV 26181.  Be in prayer for these ten women and Debbie Mulneix. It takes special people to do this work for our Lord.

Most of you have heard Lauren Bethel, who spoke at our church October 27th and several other times, who is a Global Consultant on Anti-human trafficking.  She travels the world and on Nov. 22-28 she will be at the  ICAP/Central Asia Conference in Central Asia, and several other conferences in Dec., sharing Jesus’ Hope and Healing.  Lauren is another missionary that FBC partners with every month.  Remember our missionaries in prayer.

MISSION CHALLENGE TO ALL WOMEN came from the WV ABW Mission and Service Ministries.

American Baptist Women – Mission and Service

by Norma Gunter

Ladies if you missed the 132nd Women’s Day at the West Virginia Baptist Convention at the First Baptist Church of Hurricane, WV you missed a special occasion.  Jeff Oakland drove the church bus and we want to thank him.

The meeting started with Mark Burdette playing the bagpipes for the banner processional. Joyce Mills brought our banner made by Mary Nell Godbey and it hung on the wall with many other church banners. The music was great and the lunch exceptional.

Two of our WV supported missionaries spoke about their work.  Rhonda Reed told of her families work in Bolivia and Debbie Myers told of their work in Mexico.

The book with the women honored in the MILLION WOMEN MOVEMENT was presented to the group. The money collected, $1.00 for each name honored, is to be used for new work. The first project for 2015 was three scholarships for a Mexican Missionary trip.  Jordan Lallemont, a recipient of the scholarship, gave a report on the trip. Later I looked in the book and found my mother’s name, one of the ones I honored.

Claudia and Tom Tull presented special music on dulcimers and a skit,  “Light of the Storage Closet” was given by the women. The meeting closed with a video by Kathy Troccoli “Go Light Your World” and each lady was given a candle to show her light.

We learned of new things scheduled for us. April 1-3, 2016 is a Women’s Camp for women 18 and older at Camp Cowen for $35. The camp is to unite generations of women to experience a weekend focused on living life as a Christian woman. Ladies let’s get together and go to the camp. Everyone loves camp.

Another opportunity is a bus trip sponsored by the West Virginia Baptist Convention to the World Mission Conference at Green Lake, Wisconsin. Ladies I’ve been there twice and it’s worth the trip. The trip is July 3-9, 2016. The first deposit is due January 15, 2016. This is open to anyone who loves missions.

Our cancelled stamps for missions is ongoing. I mailed a 5.8 oz package October 6 to Fort Myers, Florida. Remember to leave 1/4” around the stamps for damage stamps are of no value.  May God bless the women of Beckley First Baptist.

New ABW Program for 2015-2017

by Norma Gunter

American Baptist Women’s Ministries has a new program for 2015-2017.   See… Psalm  34:18 “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good.”  God who saw us in our  mother’s womb (Psalm 139) still sees us today.  We are familiar with the parable about the good Samaritan where the priest and the Levite see  the wounded man but move to the other side of the road and keep on  going.  They see, but chose not to see.  The Samaritan truly sees the man and his needs and chooses to care for his neighbor. For two years the American Baptist Women’s Ministries will focus on See…  “How we see God and how we are called to see the world through God”s eyes.”  Women will be encouraged “to grow their relationship with God through Bible study, prayer and fellowship.” You will hear more about this program in the future. (Seasons Magazine)

White Cross has changed at the International level which changes the  state and local levels.  This year, 2015-2016, there are no SET quotas.  The West Virginia State ABW has set a goal for $10,000.00 for White Cross Focus Area Education.  This money will provide needed school supplies and educational material to support educational programs around the world.  We, ABW, are encouraged to give as you feel God’s leading. The Overseas Purchase Plan  provides assistance to the following countries:  Africa, Central and South America, Caribbean, East Asia, Europe and the Middle East.  This year we can pick the area we want to help.  We need to give at least what we gave last year or even more.

There is no quota for handiwork either.  The needs are great and again we are encouraged to “just do what you feel lead to do.”  White Cross handiwork is a vital mission ministry and God will continue to bless all our efforts.

Ten hospitals in the Congo depend on items we make with our hands for White Cross.  Items needed from across the USA for ABW are:

105,000 Roller bandages (different sizes)
10,000  4” x4” (50 per pkg.) cotton squares
5,000  36” x 36 ”Baby blankets
5,000  Infant gowns
5,000  Surgical caps                5,000  Surgical masks
2,000  12” x 12” Wrappers     2,000  18” x 18” Wrappers
2,000  Triangular bandages
Before each state was assigned their share of items, and each state  chairman assigned so many to each association and the association chairman divided the items between the churches in our association.  This year no quotas were given but we are asked to do what we did last year or even more. Beckley FBC women made and mailed over 50 roller bandages in April.  These items will be due next April.  Anyone who would like to make any of the above items-I have the patterns.  JUST ASK!

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.

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.