|November 2005||Home Page|
Since October 2004 we've had a busy year, especially this late summer and fall as hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma devastated several southern states and numerous folks from Strawberry have spent some weeks helping with feeding and recovery. These catastrophes at home caused most of us to forget that just last December we were also praying and helping support the people of Indonesia as they faced the Tsunami. We continue to focus on shared evangelism and mission projects and encourage our churches to help in these efforts. We anticipate much need in the weeks and months to come as more cleanup and recovery is orchestrated in the south.
Two overseas mission efforts had to be canceled because of our lack of interest. March's partnership to the Caribbean was to help some of our sister churches and their communities recover from the 2004 hurricane season. No one offered to go. In August we were unable to respond to the call for help from the Czech Republic. Some Baptist brethren there wanted us to send volunteers to renovate the basement of an old church into a youth center in order to reach teens for Christ. We had to tell them no.
There was another call, this time from Spain, looking for families in our area who might host a high school student for the month of July. This partnership would have helped the students with English and American culture, but more importantly, the visit would have given them a chance to live with a Christian family and experience lifestyle evangelism. Unfortunately, no homes in our churches were available.
The Green Mountain Baptist Association of Vermont asked for mission volunteers to assist them in May. There was some minor construction to be done, some evangelism and church planting needs, and a soup kitchen needing workers to prepare food for the hungry. We had sincerely expected a response from our churches since the cost would be minimal, and we could drive, but only two volunteers went.
What a beautiful day the Lord did make for us at CenterFest. The temperature was prefect and the helping hands all arrived. Our booth was busy and our Baby Changing Station was also. This was our best year yet. The mothers were very appreciative of having a nice area with a changing table available. Our workers handed out lemonade, water, and the SBA Strawberry Sensations Recipe booklet. Matt and Patti and their helpers entertained young and old with the lively puppet shows. The gospel was proclaimed in words and songs.
Two churches sent large teams of youth and leaders. What an experience for them to show a servant attitude and God's Love to the crowds as they walked the streets of Bedford, wearing their "How May I Pray for You?" buttons. Many of our workers were with us in the past, some were there for the first time. Most of all they enjoyed doing their part while commenting, "The time went by so quickly."
The number one question I seemed to keep answering was—"Who are these Strawberry Baptist Churches?"
Note: Folks visiting our booth contributed $69.26 for Hurricane Disaster Relief.
December 5 John & Esther Woodford (SBA)
December 1 John Napier (Pastor/Timber Ridge/1 year)
Two Hundred Twenty-ninth Annual Meeting
Theme: "Church...Light Your World"
Messengers registered 178
Congregations with full messenger representation: Flint Hill, Hunting Creek, Mentow, Quaker, Staunton, Thaxton, Timber Ridge, and Walnut Grove.
Heartfelt thanks to Timber Ridge for their gracious hospitality. From the personal greeting by the pastor as many messengers arrived, to the delicious meal provided by the church family, we could not have felt more welcome. Thanks also to Ellen Mitchell, Hertha Nichols, and Melinda Nichols for their invaluable help with registration.
Next year's meeting will be at Hunting Creek on Monday, October 30.
What kind of world is it that we really live in? Can my church become a difference-maker in that world? Those and other questions are the subject of a workshop, "Being a Relevant Church," sponsored by the Southwest Virginia Christian Leadership Network. Facilitated by John Chandler from the Virginia Baptist Mission Board, the workshop will be offered at Thaxton on November 15, from Noon until 2:00 p.m. (A sandwich bar will be provided free of charge.) To pre-register: e-mail email@example.com or phone 540-777-3014
Mrs. Lois Stevens, WMU Director
1118 Roundtree Dr., Bedford 24523
Phone: 540-586-7409 - email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Women on Mission: A group of ladies from Sedalia will lead devotionals at Oakwood Manor in November. Diamond Hill will lead them in December. Pecks will host the November birthday party for residents of Bedford County Nursing Home; Mentow will host it in December.
WMU Dues ($2.00 for each member of Women on Mission and leaders for age-level organizations) are due now for the 2005-2006 year. Checks should be payable to Strawberry WMU and mailed to Mrs. Emily Morris, 2161 Penns Mill Rd., Big Island, VA 24526. Please mail by November 15. The following churches have already submitted their dues: Big Island, Diamond Hill, Flint Hill, Mentow, Mount Olivet, Norwood, Pecks, Quaker, and Timber Ridge.
If your church is collecting items for the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women, Lois Stevens is making arrangements to have them delivered. If you want to avoid the cost of shipping your items, please contact Lois by Friday, November 11.
Larry Ross recently resigned Mount Zion to begin a new ministry as a vocational evangelist. The church called him as interim pastor beginning October 1 and will conduct a November 6 commissioning service sending him out as their missionary evangelist. To learn more about Larry Ross Evangelistic Ministries, visit his website at www.LarryRoss.org. Larry and his wife, Janet, are also available for revival and worship music. You may contact him at 540-587-8962 or email@example.com.
Some thoughts from Esther on completion of two decades of service in the SBA office. It hardly seems possible that 20 years have passed since a good friend said she knew of the perfect job for me and encouraged me to apply for associational secretary for Strawberry.
Have you ever felt as though you are stumbling along in your Christian walk, not really knowing where you fit in God's plan? As I look back, I see His use of experiences and people in equipping me for service as your Administrative Assistant. It's such a blessing to know that you're right where God wants you to be!
Way back when I first began working for Strawberry, the work week was three days; now it's four. Then, I used a typewriter and the dreaded mimeograph machine (some of you don't even know what I'm talking about!) for a lot of the work that went out of the office. Now, it's a computer, Risograph (which I understand is obsolete), and a photocopier. Then, we printed 429 newsletters a month; now, it's 965. Then, information (sometimes in long hand) for the Annual Reports was given to a printer for typesetting. Later, material went to the printer camera-ready. Now, the Annuals are done in house from start to finish. (We've even added some color photographs.) Then the cost for the Annuals was over $2000; later, approximately $875. Now, the cost is just under $300.
In carrying out my responsibilities, I have enjoyed getting to know many wonderful people and serving alongside them in various ministry opportunities. Mrs. Meda Hicks who served as secretary for 20 years prior to my service continues to be a source of support. (I don't call on her as much now as I did in the early years, but I know she's still willing to help any way she can.) Rev. Seaburn Daniel always seemed confident in my ability and allowed me a great deal of freedom in carrying out my duties. Now, Steve Manuel serves as Director of Missions, and he, too, is willing to let me serve with a minimum of supervision. (He still has a problem with some of the software programs I use, but he's being patient with this old lady who can't seem to navigate the software he prefers!)
Mentow will host Palestine Baptist and Huddleston United Methodist churches for the annual Huddleston Community Thanksgiving service on Sunday, November 20, 7 p.m. Rev. Jackie Carver of Palestine will bring the message. A pie/cake fellowship will follow the service.
North Bedford is hosting a reception on Sunday, December 4, 2005, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m., in the church fellowship hall to celebrate Charles and Irene Stinson's 35 years of ministry at North Bedford as well as to honor Charles on his retirement on December 31, 2005. Everyone is invited to attend. Please come and share this very special occasion with Charles and Irene.
Shady Grove's November calendar includes a service honoring veterans on November 13. The church will share a Family Thanksgiving Dinner on November 16 as well as wrap up their shoebox ministry for Operation Christmas Child. Awanas meet every Wednesday night at 6:30 along with prayer meeting which begins at 7:00.
December 12 Eldridge Cullum (Thaxton)
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