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HAPPY NEW YEAR! ABMEN-USA LOOKING FORWARD TO 2018

KEY CONTRIBUTOR

Greetings, my Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

I pray you had a blessed Christmas and that you were able to spend time with family and friends and enjoy the “reason for the season”, the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The world was in a dark and bad place, and God sent His Son to enlighten and brighten the world of His love, mercy and grace. For that we need to go and do for others, share the “good news” and BE “the hands and feet of Christ”.

It was a busy and blessed year for our Ministry. Because of many various activities, the love of God was demonstrated to a great many people and the seeds for seeking our “living Savior” were planted. Thank You to all who participated this year in Disaster Relief, food distribution, counseling, mentoring and worship activities. The following is a short description of activities for 2017: In January we began Disaster Relief (DR) and rebuild efforts in Sellers, SC; February had us continuing our efforts in Sellers; In March, the Executive Board met in WV, ABMen participated in the Baptist World Alliance Executive Meeting in Falls Church, VA and DR continued in Sellers; Men and women continued to provide assistance in Sellers in April and the ladies also joined the men as we provided assistance to Green Lake Conference Center in Green Lake, WI; more DR work was performed in Sellers in May; an ABMen DR team traveled to Muskogee, OK in June in response to storm damage to a motel used for student housing; Several Regions reported short term DR efforts in their own communities; ABMen-USA was represented at the ABC-USA Biennial in Portland, OR; August found ABMen DR teams continuing efforts in Sellers, SC,while the ABMen-USA Executive Board attended the ABMen-USA Annual National Men’s Conference at Camp ARAWANA at Portland, OR, where the Board approved an ABMen-USA sponsored Mission Trip to Nicaragua in the Fall of 2018; Men and Women came together again in September for the “Fall Work Party” at Green Lake Conference Center, while DR Teams continued efforts in Sellers, SC, and local Region communities—while other DR Teams began working in Lake Charles, LA and Houston, TX after hurricanes Harvey and Irma; during the month of October, ABMen’s Sunday was celebrated in ABC churches throughout the country, while DR Teams continued their efforts in Lake Charles, LA and Houston, TX, and the ABMen-USA Executive Board met again in WV; November and December saw the ABMen-USA DR Teams continuing to assist those affected by hurricanes in Lake Charles, LA and Houston, TX.
Very busy year, would you agree? There were many opportunities to minister to those who are lost and hurting and many thanks of appreciation were heard and new relationships established with Jesus and His “Good News” at the center of it all.

Once again the American Baptist Men, with the support of many of our ABW Sisters, have demonstrated their love of God and His creation. We strive to “bring men and young men into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ”. We do that through MEN, Missions-Evangelism- and Nurturing. Missions is the gateway to our Evangelism. If we don’t go to those who are lost or in need of assistance, how will they feel and know of the love of Christ and how He wants them to know they are so important to Him. I THANK YOU for meeting the challenges that were thrown at us in 2017. It was a very busy and tiring excursion for many, I’m sure. However, your rest break will be short lived, so please prepare now for another very busy year in Minstry.

The people of Puerto Rico are suffering greatly from the devastating effects of hurricane Maria, even after so many months. The stories of darkness and despair are heartbreaking. The American Baptist Home Mission Societies is working hard to collect one-million dollars for providing necessary assistance to the many who have been affected so badly by this hurricane. YOU CAN HELP! Please consider going to the ABHMS web site and/or to www.abmen.org and donate what you can to help restore the lives of the people of Puerto Rico. Jack Cobb, ABMen-USA National Disaster Relief Coordinator, is in consultations with MS Vicki Goff of ABHMS, working to determine the dates and locations for ABMen-USA Disaster Relief Teams to be activated for assistance in Puerto Rico. Please consider and be in prayer about your ability to assist in this effort. We hope to begin sending teams to Puerto Rico in February and ABHMS has called this to be a three year campaign. So, please be ready to answer the call once again.

Other activities planned for 2018 are: Bi-annual Disaster Relief Training Conference in Nebraska in March; return to Green Lake Conference Center for the “Work Party” the first week of April; we will return to Bacone College in Muskogee, OK the second week of June to continue our efforts to improve the facilities there; in September, we will return to Green Lake Conference Center on September 7-9 for the American Baptist Men-USA Conference-the Keynote Speaker is Dr. Jerry Cain, former President of Judson University; THEN beginning Sunday Afternoon on September 9th, we begin the September “Work Week” until September 14th for those who wish to remain for that activity: October 14th is Men’s Sunday and ABMen-USA is sponsoring a Mission Trip to Nicaragua in November.

I pray you will consider participating in many of these opportunities to serve and to fellowship. If you have any questions concerning the information I have presented, please contact me or Jack Cobb for assistance. I Thank You again for your dedication to service for Jesus and I look forward to being with you in the field helping others, mentoring and spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
In His Service,
Lucky Ray Jack Cobb
Executive Director, ABMen-USA ABMen-USA National DR Coordinator
luckyray1@suddenlink.net 304-549-9285 cobbjack@suddenlink.net 304-206-8462

HURRICANE HARVEY

August 30, 2017

Dear ABMen Brothers in Christ;

            ABMen USA endeavors to provide representation and communication to all ABC Regions and ABM USA Districts including making sure all regional and local men might be aware of mission and ministry needs.  I wanted to update you on recent ministry communications in response to Hurricane Harvey.

            American Baptists are members of the North American Baptist Fellowship (NABF) which includes most Baptist denominations across America and Canada including of course ABMen USA and the Texas Baptist Men.  The Texas folks are the “big dogs”, well funded and well organized, and we thank God for their ministry.   All of the participating NABF organizations have specific “specialties” in terms of what they bring to the recovery table and while there may be regional variations, ABMen USA Disaster Relief is typically a ministry resource for labor, chainsaw & debris removal teams, mud-out services and re-build support following such a disaster.  A perfect example of that are the continuing efforts in Sellers, SC following Hurricane Matthew, where teams from West Virginia will make their 6th trip back to that community in just a few days.  Our ministry responds wherever needed, tending to seek out the elderly, the poor or the uninsured.

            As a men’s ministry we essentially provide clean up labor and re-construction skills.  However, much like following Hurricane Katrina, the current response is focused on rescue and rescue support priorities at this time both in SE Texas and SW Louisiana and the call for our response is weeks or more away.  A coordinated response is extremely critical to its effectiveness and our information is that it will be several weeks before waters will recede to the point where NABF teams, including ABMen USA Disaster Relief National Coordinator Jack Cobb, will travel to the Texas / Louisiana region to survey the area and identify needs and details of a coming national call for volunteers.   For that national call work sites need to be identified and locations for housing & feeding responders need to be arranged.  As in the past, ABMen USA and American Baptist Homes Mission Societies (ABHMS) are working together on our response.

Ironically just last week at our National Board meetings in Oregon, ABHMS informed us that approval had been received on a joint grant application (ABHMS / ABM USA) we had submitted for 2 mobile disaster shower trailers, something we have needed many times over the last 10 years.  ABMen USA will man and maintain these trailers and one will be staged on the East Coast and the other in the Midwest once construction and delivery are complete – but it’s not known when they will be available to us if at all in regard to this response.

            I also wanted to share that I was told yesterday that in anticipation of a national ABMen USA disaster response, our banking partner, Christian Community Credit Union has pledged to match every dollar raised for our relief efforts toward Hurricane Harvey, up to 5000.00.  

            The reality of this event indicates initially that this may well surpass the needs realized following Hurricane Katrina.   This will be a long journey for that region and ABMen USA, along with ABHMS, are working to make sure those willing and able to respond can do so safely and directly to a needed community.

            Please continue to pray for all of the first responders, volunteers and the hundreds of thousands of people displaced and affected by Hurricane Harvey.  If you or your men’s groups wish to further support our mission at this time, you can send your monetary donations to:

ABMen USA

c/o Dave Cross – Treasurer

223 Maple Street

Athens, Pa 18810

            Or donate through our website at www.abmen.org.

May we always be up to HIS challenge.

Bob Slechta

President

American Baptist Men, USA