December 2022 Family Ties

Care Ministry Team

This November our Care Ministry Team held a Fall Festival for our elders. This is the second event we’ve had together. We had a short worship service which included singing, a short sermon from Pastor Sheila, and a handful of our elders giving thanks and testimonies.  After our worship, Naw Margaret led some stretches for everyone. We played Bingo for about an hour, giving everyone prizes and then finished with lunch. There were about 19 elders who attended. Special thanks to Pkwa Htoo and Naw Margaret for taking time out of their morning to volunteer and provide food for our event.

Sweet December

Wednesday night on November 30 was a super busy night for the church. The children had KFC. Many people came throughout the night to support the fundraising event. There was pho, porridge, meatball kabobs and so much more to eat! We also had our annual talent show and a variety show including caroling from Pastor Bill, his brothers and nephew, Connie Hope, Eh Hey Hser and Zipora. Pee Lu Lu showcased her harmonica playing and Steve and Becky Price debut a piano and violin duet. For the variety show we had a game where people came up to the front to showcase if they knew from memory which Bible verse or hymnal they picked out. There was a Christmas dance from the younger girls and a Bingo with prizes, the Sunday School students came up front for a Bible Verse contest. There was worship to end the night and to bless the coming of December. May God bless you all the rest of this year!

Regional Youth Event (RYE)

This November a group of five youth from First Baptist attended the Regional Youth Event in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. This event is a youth conference where youth from churches in the Mid-American Region of American Baptist Churches come together to worship, learn and have fun getting to know each other. The theme this year was “My Story, God’s Glory.” The youth listened to the main speaker Rev. Jesus Garcia talk about his own story and his experience as a pastor in Puerto Rico during Hurricane Maria. They attended workshops on such topics as art, storytelling, sharing their testimony, and dealing with depression. There was a great worship band from Sioux Falls College and the youth loved singing and praising together. They also had fun meeting new people, bowling, playing games (and winning!) and just hanging out and having good food! At the end of the weekend two of our youth made a formal commitment to follow Jesus! – It was an awesome experience and an incredible adventure and we hope to go again next year.

Advent Candle Devotion

Advent Candle Lighting

The Gospel of John speaks of Christ as the true light coming into the world. So every year during Advent we light candles to symbolize that light that shines in the darkness – lights of hope, peace, joy and love. Below we share highlights from our four weeks of advent candle lighting.

Week One – Hope

We light the first candle, the candle of hope, as we dare to express our longing for peace, for healing, and the well-being of all creation, as we wait for the coming of Christ. It is significant that the church has always used that language—the coming of Christ—because it speaks to a deep truth. Christ is coming. Christ is always coming, always entering a troubled world, a wounded heart. It is in this coming of the Christ child that we find hope.

Loving God, as we enter this Advent season, we open all the dark places in our lives and memories to the healing light of Christ. Show us the creative power of hope. Prepare our hearts to be transformed by you, that we may walk in the light of Christ. Amen

Week Two – Peace

We light the second candle, the candle of peace knowing full well that peace is elusive, and in some parts of the world, it is almost completely absent. Yet in this season of Advent, we trust that God is never absent from us. And even where there is war and discord, whether between countries, within families, or within our own hearts, God is present, gently leading us to new possibilities.

Loving God, we thank you for the peace you unfailingly offer us. Teach us the peace that comes from justice. Prepare our hearts to be transformed by you, that we may walk in the light of Christ. Amen

Week Three – Joy

We light the third candle, the candle of joy. Joy is like an underground spring that wells up within us, but joy is also a choice, an attitude. Like a muscle, it needs to be exercised.  So we open ourselves to joy, trusting that God has already planted that joy within us like a seed that is ready to grow and burst forth.

Loving God, you created us for joy-filled hearts and lives. Fill us with the kind of joy that cannot be contained but must be shared. Prepare our hearts to be transformed by you, that we may walk in the light of Christ. Amen.

Week Four – Love

We light the fourth candle, the candle of love, which signifies the love of God that surrounds and fills us at all times – but that we recognize in a special way in the Christmas story – remembering that we love because God loves us.

Loving God, we open ourselves to you this Christmas season. As these candles are lit, light our lives with your imagination. Magnify your love within us. Prepare our hearts to be transformed by you, that we may walk in the light of Christ. Amen.

“We Give Because We’re Grateful”: Christmas Offering

This Christmas Season we have a lot to be grateful for.

We learned over the past couple of years of pandemic that simply being together in worship is a precious gift. I am thankful just to see people “in person”. What a gift a caring community is! I know that many of you feel the same way.

There is a painted tree on the bulletin board in the hallway. Members of First Baptist Church were asked to write things for which they were thankful on brightly colored leaves.

Here are some of the leaf messages: I’m thankful for my family, food and First Baptist Church. I’m thankful for a church that feels like family. I am thankful I was welcomed into this church with open arms.

The theme for our stewardship campaign this year is “We Give Because We’re Grateful.”

I’m grateful for the four worship services bringing people to our sanctuary each Sunday.

I’m grateful for the numerous Bible studies and prayer meetings each week in Karen and English.

I’m grateful for children growing and learning in Sunday School, Junior Church, TLC, KFC and Waterlily Montessori School.

I’m grateful for lives that are enriched by our senior activities.

I’m grateful for the life sustaining AA meetings three times a day in our building.

I’m grateful for the army of volunteer teachers and helpers and for those who faithfully week by week clean our building.

Please join me in using the enclosed envelope to express your gratitude and support this Christmas Season for the life and ministries of First Baptist Church.

In Christ’s Service,

Pastor Bill


This year we are returning to our practice of making pledges – making a pledge or a promise to God and to the church about our giving. When you make a pledge you are telling us how much you plan to give to the church this year. – So just like in your family, you know how much you will make in a year so you know how best to spend and budget your money. How much you need for bills and how much you can spend on other things. The same is true for the church. If we know how much we expect to get in offering – we can know how to most wisely spend the money that we have been given.

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