Archive for September, 2016

Story by Annette Hall.
Photos provided by missionaries and volunteers in West Africa.

calloutWhen you gave to the World Hunger Fund/International Mission Board, your gifts helped purchase a flour mill in Burkina Faso (West Africa) that provides several small villages the means to grind their grain. The income from the mill pays the salaries of those who run it and also pays for a number of training and outreach efforts of the churches in the area.

Your gifts built a mill.Atio is one whose life has been changed because of the mill.

I am married and the mother of six children, four girls and two boys. My first name, Atio, means that I belong to a great idol known to everyone in the village. Since my youth I’ve worshipped this idol. But I never had peace in my heart. Four years ago things took a bad turn in my life. My husband fell seriously ill to the point that he could no longer work. Then I also fell sick. We spent all our savings searching for a solution to our problems. The witchdoctors said that the gods were angry with us. During the night I was unable to sleep.

One day I went to the village grinding mill and heard the story about Jesus calming the storm. That day I gave my life to Jesus. My husband let me tell him the story and he also gave his life to Jesus. Now (we) go together to the Baptist Church…

We are currently sharing the gospel with our sons and daughters hoping they will also choose the way of Jesus. Our health is getting better and better and we bless the Lord Jesus.

Your gifts built a mill.The pastor of the largest church in the area has attended trainings to learn how to craft and tell more than 100 Bible stories in his heart language. He has also helped train believers to use these stories for evangelism and church planting. His team’s goal is to put a trained story teller in each village in the area. The team also wants to send pairs of story tellers to villages with no church to plant churches there. He shares an example of how his team carries out its goals.

While women wait to grind their grain at the mill, team members tell them Bible stories. One day they told the story of the paralytic to about 30 women, who all listened intently. At the end, the story teller asked them the following seven questions:
What did you like in the story?
What bothered you in the story?
What did you learn about God in the story?
What did you learn about people in the story?
Is there something in the story you should obey?
How will you remember the story?
To whom will you tell the story?
When the last question was asked, three of the women gave the only correct answer – they said they were going to return to their village and tell it to their chief!

They did just that. The chief then summoned the story-telling women from the mill and invited all the royal family, as well as his neighbors. When the team told the story again, they were asked for another story. Then they told the story of the Demoniac.

When the chief and his family heard this story, they decided to follow Jesus, and the chief invited the team to put a church in his village. One hundred and three adults worshiped at the first church service. Three young men are being trained in the stories so the work there will continue and grow.

Baptist Global Response is the arm of the International Mission Board that distributes your World Hunger Funds. The funds are used to relieve hunger but as you see from these stories, the funds also bring a spiritual element. Because you gave, these people had the chance to grind their grain and improve their lives. They also had the opportunity to hear God’s Word in the way they could understand and respond.

Baptist Global Response Hunger SundayEditor’s note: On World Hunger Sunday, October 9, 2016, and on any other Sunday, use your gold offering envelope in your packet or in the pew racks. Designate your gift for:
Disaster & Hunger (Baptist World Aid, BWAid) and/or
Disaster & Hunger (Southern Baptist Convention, Global Response).

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Story by Jeannie Dortch. Photos by Sean Cook, Jeannie Dortch and Allison Maxwell.

They have the gift of hospitality at its finest.Vanessa Carter and Doris Pittman may be unfamiliar names to some First Baptist Church members, but they form the backbone of an organization where food and fellowship are central to its core. Having begun their service on the kitchen staff with retired Food Services Director LaVora Sprinkle, Vanessa and Doris have been feeding and nurturing FBC members for over 25 years.

Lynn Turner, Minister of Christian Community, summed up their importance this way, “This church would fall apart without these two ladies because at the center of who we are, other than our gospel message, is our fellowship, and Doris and Vanessa epitomize that!”

LaVora, Vanessa and Doris began their association with each other at the Windsor Nursing Home in the 1980s where LaVora worked as the home’s dietician. When LaVora joined FBC’s staff under Dr. Jim Flamming, not only did she encourage the hiring of both Vanessa and Doris but she also enrolled them in culinary classes at J. Sergeant Reynolds Community College. Both began their tenures as part of FBC’s housekeeping team, but joined the kitchen staff as openings became available. Now, they work like a well-oiled machine with Beanie Brooks, current Food Services Director.

Before moving into the elegant Flamming Hall in 1996, food preparation and dining on Wednesday nights occurred in the Fellowship Hall, currently the Choir Suite, in the basement of the church. The kitchen was much smaller and located in the present choir robe storage area. Limited space did not hinder the camaraderie of the 400 to 500 adults and children who would gather each week for supper. A dumbwaiter was used to send food upstairs where the children gathered. Volunteers helped the kitchen staff serve adults on 12-foot folding tables that filled the hall.

Much of the same equipment that was located downstairs is still used in conjunction with newer and more efficient appliances to help the staff serve about 200 on Wednesday nights. Fewer young families attend now due to demands on their weeknight schedules.

Doris and Vanessa still work a busy five-day week, Wednesday evenings, and every other Sunday. They accommodate a range of groups including Women on Mission’s regular monthly luncheons, new member luncheons, and funeral receptions. When not cooking, serving, or teaching others how to serve, they are cleaning the kitchen and making sure that supplies are stored properly.

Each Monday, Vanessa and Doris meet with Beanie to plan for the week, making lists of tasks that need to be done. Beanie orders the food from suppliers, but all three plan the meals by taking suggestions from ministers, as well as from members who ask for repeat favorites or special dishes. The menus have become more varied over the years with options for gluten-, salt- or sugar-free substitutes.

One thing that Doris and Vanessa agree on is how much love there is in FBC’s congregation. They have met and loved so many families over the years and those same families, “greet and embrace us as part of their families too!” exuded Vanessa. Doris added, “When the congregation gave me my 25-year celebration party, I was surprised to see how many people came to honor me. That felt so good and showed me how much I am appreciated. I knew it was my calling to be here and I love it.”

Ann Carter summed up how many feel about Vanessa and Doris. “They are the heart and soul of ministry at FBC because they notice things. At my daddy’s memorial service, they served chocolate chip cookies in memory of his sneaking into the kitchen after Wednesday night dinners to ask for extra cookies, with an added request not to tell my mother! Hospitality is a form of love, and these ladies have the gift of hospitality at its finest.”

They have the gift of hospitality at its finest.

First Helpers volunteers give hearty thumbs up to Doris Pittman (L) and Vanessa Carter (R).

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