“… I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
“Thrive” is a celebration of the life of our church. Every other month we take time to reflect on the blessings God has bestowed upon us as a church family.
Appalachian Outreach, a note from Rev. Logan Carpenter
Since I first arrived at First Baptist, I’ve heard guys talking about our annual Appalachian Outreach mission trip to Jefferson City, TN. I was told by the men who love to go every year that I really needed to come on this trip where we work like dogs in scorching heat for 12 hours a day — what a sales pitch, right?? OK, the pitch that actually worked was hearing how good the food prepared for us by the local Catholic Church is, and I must say, both sales pitches were dead on!
While there, our group was tasked with reconfiguring the nonprofit organization’s old offices into a showroom for furniture and home decor. AO receives a number of donations, and local families in need can come and “shop” for things for their home. Our guys spent three full days knocking down walls, taking down lights, installing new doors, rewiring electrical systems, putting up new lights and insulation, and much, much more. But between all the work, my favorite moment happened the first night at dinner, when our Catholic friend who delivered our food told us, “Hey, you should know that the lady whose house you worked on last year is really keeping up with the repairs.” That one sentence told me that AO is about long-term partnerships; it’s about relationships with people there that ensure the work continues year round; it tells me that our work was just a small part of all that God is doing to improve people’s lives in the area. It was a blessing to go on the trip, and I’ve already got it on my calendar for next year!
Our church has been traveling to the village of Cercady, Haiti for many years now. Every trip and experience are different; however, if you ask any of the people who have been on any one of the trips our church has taken about Haiti, you will be met with a wave of overwhelming joy as they relay their experiences. The sentiment is always that although our church travels to Haiti to serve the people there, our group finds themselves being blessed by the faith and love of the Cercady community in more ways than they could ever imagine.
This year, our mission team was comprised of nineteen youth and adults. Some members of this group have been to Haiti every year our church has gone. For others, this was their first mission trip of any kind. Those who had been before were welcomed back to Haiti as if they were members of the family who had been away, and new members were welcomed just the same. Many of the people in the Cercady community asked about members of our previous mission teams who were unable to make the trip this year.
During the team’s time there, they met with the Leadership Council several times. In one of these meetings, the women of the community met with the women from our group to discuss how to be a leader in their homes. While discussing their roles, women from two completely different parts of the world bonded and empowered each other through sharing their stories, laughing together, and praying as one.
As is the group’s tradition, they took prayer walks through the community. They prayed with the people of Cercady for everything from much needed rain to much needed healing. While visiting in one of the homes in the community, two members of our group cleaned and dressed the sores of a bedridden man, leaving him with supplies so that he could continue to receive care after they were gone.
As usual, our group was overwhelmed by the faith of the people in Cercady. Though they have so little, they have faith. Though they have limited access to some of the most basic needs, they have faith. Oh, that we would have such faith.
Vacation Bible School
VBS Roar was a great week in the life of our church. We had 230 kids participate this year with over 100 adult and youth helpers! During the week the children learned that “Life is Wild… but God is good!” The kids had a blast singing songs of praise to God, studying Moses and the Israelites, and learning how God was always there for them. They played with cool science-y gizmos and participated in fun games to help them better understand the Bible point for each day. The kids also had fun learning more about other kids and the ways in which God has shown up for them.
During the week, the children raised a little over $2,000 for ROCKBridge Ministries in Kenya. This was a great way to continue our partnership with ROCKBridge Ministries, the group our church works with for our annual Kenya Medical Mission trip. The money raised will help people around Nakuru, Kenya, have access to clean water.
It was a wonderful week filled with worship, learning and fun, and as a special treat 104.7 The Fish and the Chick-Fil-A cow joined us for our closing celebration. We are so grateful for the support of our church family who made this all possible.
Centrifuge is a week-long camp where our students participate in Bible study and recreation along with other students from around the country. This year, 25 of our youth, including 5 of our seniors, attended Centrifuge in Panama City. The theme for this year’s camp was “Restored.” Bible study, devotions, and recreational activities focused on the fact that God sent a perfect savior as a remedy to repair what was once broken in all of us in order that we may be restored.
Every moment spent at FUGE is intentional. Camp programming is designed to take students out of their normal routine and place them in an environment that is focused on life-change through relationship with Christ and others. A typical day begins with high-energy worship and a word from the camp pastor. Then students had the opportunity to spend time with the Lord, working through a theme-related devotion. Next, they attended a Bible study with peers of their own age group. In the afternoon, teens participated in recreation or mission time. During the evening, the group attended worship service lead by the camp band and pastor. Following worship, our youth came back together as a group and reflected on the day, shared about their experiences, and prayed for each other. To end the day, they played basketball, headed to the beach, and simply hung out with one another.
Each year our youth look forward to this time of reigniting our batteries for a new school year. A special thanks to our adults for chaperoning and to our seniors who will be missed but have provided great leadership to our group.
Summer of Music
The church was filled with music throughout the summer! For children, we had Intro to Chimes for grades K-2, as well as Handbell Bootcamps for grades 3-6 and 7-12. For adults, there were Intro to Handbells classes for inexperienced ringers, as well as two training sessions for our current ringers. Additionally, Sheldon Fisher led a four-week music reading class open to all adults in the church. Next summer, our Music Ministry will offer similar opportunities with the addition of a week-long music camp for children and a week-long youth mission trip where our youth choir and youth bells will be leading concerts of worship.
Passport Kids Camp
On July 16th, 10 children (including 5 first time campers) and 3 adults headed to PassportKids camp in Spartanburg, SC. Activities centered around the theme “Fear Less,” which taught the children what it meant to fear less and love more. They learned that God wants us to “Stay Awake,” keeping our eyes open to what He is doing around us. They also learned that even though God sometimes asks us to do things that may be hard or scary, He will help us be brave and do what He wants us to do. Finally, they were reminded of how important it is to share God’s love.
While at camp, the kids attended a Rec Party, where they got to know the other kids in their Bible study groups. They also participated in a Night Market, where they learned more about Uganda and the culture in Kampala. The kids also learned about a mission in Uganda called Refuge and Hope, a place for refugees to live while they learn job skills that will allow them to earn money for their families. Their mission offering will be going to help this special project.