Month: May 2015

Malawi Missions 2015 – Happening Now

Our 2015 Malawi Team is in the midst of their work. God is accomplishing many things through their efforts.

 Fresh, clean water is flowing from the new well.

Work at the church building site continues with excitement. Materials are in short supply at times, impacting the work. The first day, that meant stopping early after running out of nails. Currently, villagers meet in a straw hut of about 450 square feet. Children gather at the site to see what is happening. There is great anticipation for the building dedication on Sunday.

Surrounding villages welcome the team, eager to hear God’s Word. A showing of the Jesus film brought crowds that grew as the night went on. Countless decisions were made to follow Christ.

The team continues to share the Gospel each day, reaching many people. The days are full of God’s blessings as the work continues.

Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom. Psalm 145:3

Church or No Church – His Plan His People

By Karen Polich

Church DNA Part 1

Millennials say they have abandoned the church because church members are judgmental. Church is unfriendly and unwelcoming and they don’t connect with people in the church.

Too often as individuals we look for a church based on what it can do for us when we should be selecting a church because of the impact we can make. We are called to be the Light, serving others. We have not been called to be served.

God has chosen us and issued a call on our lives. We have been called to magnify His name. This is our purpose. God also called the church. It is His, not ours.

As a church, this is what should be seen by anyone entering the doors. Within the teachings, worship and people in the church, Christ should be visible. Pastor Michael Cook shared the biblical importance of the church and how the church should transmit the majesty of Christ. (1 Peter 2:1-10, Acts 2:37-40)

Recent church history shows that we are not taking seriously the call of Christ to BE the church. Some are frustrated with the church; they are also frustrated with many components of their lives. Often we work to shape the church into our image instead of God’s image. We “play” with things that should be taken seriously, like sin.

Pastor Cook reminded us of the importance God placed on the church. He chose us to stave off the degeneration of the world. Are we displaying His majesty?

Listen to Pastor Cook here.

A Heart and Home for Every Child

By LuAnn Edwards

Wendy was a pouter. She would stick her little lips out when she didn’t get her own way. When she smiled, however, she lit up the room.

Thirty-five years ago we added a second child to our small family through the foster care system. Wendy and our daughter Leah were both two at the time and caused all sorts of mischief around our house and supplied us with many blessings too.

Leah and Wendy became best buddies. I loved to dress the two girls similarly. People would ask if they were twins. My response, “No, they are four months apart.” That comment brought many raised eyebrows!

We attended a small church where the two girls would get up in front of the congregation and sing “Jesus Loves Me.” It was a precious time that hopefully made a positive impact on Wendy’s life.

After a year, my husband took a new job across the state. We were moving too far out of the area for the State to allow Wendy to stay with us. We inquired about adopting her, but it was not possible. Leaving her broke my heart. I felt I was leaving one of my daughters behind; it was one of the hardest things I have ever done. A week after our move, I called her new foster mom to check on her. She put Wendy on the phone, and I totally lost it when my little girl said, “Mommy, I miss you.”

I have prayed for her often over the years, placing her in the Lord’s care. I trust and pray that she has or will come to know the Lord as her personal Savior.

Although we could not adopt Wendy, God welcomes her into His loving arms. He accepts her as she is, cares for and loves her. If she has accepted Christ into her heart and life, she is an adopted daughter in the Kingdom of God and has become His little girl. That’s a much better future and inheritance than what she would have had with us (Galatians 4:4-7).

Foster care and adoption are two topics close to my heart. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there were 641,000 children served by the foster care system in 2013. Included in this number were 102,000 foster children available for adoption1.

May is National Foster Care Month. Please pray for the many children needing a place of refuge, a place of love. If you have room in your heart and home for a child needing a caring family, please consider becoming a foster parent. Many children are in need of a home that can offer them stability, nurturing, encouragement, and love.

For more information:

When Purpose Finds Opportunity

By Karen Polich

What would you do if you could let go of everything in life for two weeks and focus on a single purpose?

The Malawi 2015 team from Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church will arrive in Lilongwe, Malawi in the wee hours Sunday morning after thirty six plus hours of travel. Their purpose? Share God’s Word, pouring into eager hearts. It is a singular purpose filled with opportunity. A gift allowing them to see what God will do and how He has already prepared the way.

They will experience the opportunity to build a church. One that was started with great anticipation months before. Along with a place to hear the Living Word, the generous gift of a well will bring clean, safe water. Shelter to gather together and clean water! Villagers from all around will be impacted. There will be opportunity to share God’s Word in many villages.

To many of us, it may seem small. But in a place where clean water can stop disease and understanding the Gospel can transform a soul, it is life altering. The average life span in a Malawi village is thirty eight years. There is no time for later. Poverty ravages Malawi. Yet smiles are contagious and the hunger for God’s Word is overwhelming.

Sunday is the beginning of lives being transformed. Villagers, translators, pastors and the team from FBC will not be the same.

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

There is opportunity in Malawi because each individual said yes to pursuing a purpose. What is God’s purpose for you?








Pray for our Malawi Mission Team

On Friday May 22nd, Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church Outreach & Evangelism Pastor, Kevin Linthicum, will be leading a mission team to Malawi. The team will return to the US on Friday June 5th. This team consists of:

Evan Anderson, Gai Gai Anderson, Titus Anderson, Nathan Bruch, Jason Deshayes, Matt Dobson, Wayne Fowler, Matthew Gonzalez, Raymundo Gonzalez, Arlene Lewis, Kevin Linthicum, Stewart Linthicum, Robin Lowry, Michelle McFadden, Jim Moyers, Jeff Tode, Danny Whatley

While not all of us can travel to Africa, we can participate in this mission opportunity by praying for our missionaries. As a congregation we want to be intentional about how we pray. Please pray specifically for:

  • Safe travel
  • Safety in the mission field
  • Strength, stamina, and good health
  • God’s protection and provision
  • The completion and dedication of a new church
  • Open doors to share the Gospel
  • Lives to be changed
  • Families of our missionaries

We invite you to join with us as we pray for this team and how God will use them to change the world!

For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care.
1 Corinthians 3:9-10

Things We Take for Granted

By Kevin Linthicum

As our group prepares to travel to Lilongwe, Malawi (Southeastern Africa), I am reminded of the exceptional life God has blessed us with. In my lifetime, I have never been concerned where my next meal would come from. I have never been worried about becoming ill from drinking water that was not clean. I have always had access to adequate medical care.

On May 22, 2015, our team of four women and thirteen men will depart on the trip of a lifetime. This will be the kind of adventure that will have a long lasting impact on each individual. Our team met recently for a time of fellowship and preparation. As the group was asking questions, I was reminded of my first trip to Malawi. At the time, I had no idea the impact this trip would have on my life. I was a new believer, and I was eager to follow God’s leading.

I was overwhelmed the first time I witnessed women drawing water from a shallow well. The water in the bucket was so dirty you could not see the bottom of the bucket. I still have vivid images of under nourished children running around playing. These children were not even aware of their own condition. On a recent trip to Malawi, our group had the opportunity to visit a local hospital. I remember as we walked through the hospital, I was so thankful to live in a place with exceptional medical care.

This year our team will be participating in the construction of a new church in a remote village in Malawi. God has also blessed our group with the resources necessary to drill and install a deep water well at the church site. Our team will be engaged in village to village evangelism.  This investment will have a lasting impact for the people in the area.

Our team would be grateful for your prayer support. We will leave Albuquerque, New Mexico on May 22, 2015, and we will return to Albuquerque, New Mexico on June 5, 2015. We are thankful in advance for your commitment to pray for our team.

Taking the Word to Malawi

By Gerry Wakeland

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19 – 20 NIV

Malawi is a small, land locked country in southeast Africa with a population of just over 16 million. The entire country would easily fit into the state of Pennsylvania. Among the world’s least developed countries, Malawi has a low life expectancy and a high mortality rate. While considered a predominantly Christian country, the major religion is Roman Catholic.

The people of Malawi are hungry, physically and spiritually. Since 2006 Pastor Kevin Linthicum has traveled to Malawi to feed the people of by sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Kevin has prepared and led teams comprised of men, women, and teens from our church to this faraway place with but one purpose – introducing the Malawians to Jesus.

When our AFBC mission team leaves for Malawi later this month they will carry the Word of God with them.  Pastor Kevin has trained them well to share God’s Word. But they will do more than just carry the Word and speak the Word. This year they have an added purpose. They will live out the Word with tools and toil as they continue the work that has begun on a new church building. Before they leave they plan to put the finishing touches on the new church and dedicate it to the glory of God.

Then they will follow in the path of the disciples and baptize new believers, welcoming them into the family of God. Into the hands of these new believers they will place a Bible, a Bible that will be treasured as if it were gold, a Bible that will never be taken for granted.

Robert Thomas made the trip to Malawi last year. He saw first-hand the excited faces of the new believers when he placed that Bible in their hands. “The value of God’s Word is unimaginable, which you can see clearly in Malawi. Having access to a copy of God’s Word is absolutely vital to the Malawian believer’s spiritual growth and to the spreading of the Gospel in this area.”

Owning a Bible is a privilege, even a luxury, one that we often take for granted. Most Christians in Malawi do not have this luxury.

They struggle to put food on the table and to care for their families. There are no extra funds for Bibles. A Bible in Malawi costs $13.00, less than what I paid for lunch with my friends recently.  To us it may seem like such a trivial amount but in Malawi it must seem like a fortune.

Many of us would love to be able to make a trip like this, to share our love for Christ with others. Unfortunately, we can’t all travel to Malawi. But we can share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with these new believers by helping to place a Bible into their hands. If you would like to help provide Bibles for the believers in Malawi, visit and click on the Malawi Mission Project tab.

Stuff, Struggles & God’s Offer

By Karen Polich

You can’t have everything. Seriously, where would you put it? – Steven Wright

Take a good look into your life. Many of us have full closets but empty hearts. Pastor Michael Cook wrapped up his Stuff sermon series with what God says in the midst of our struggles with stuff.

Revelation 3:17-20 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. 19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

Are we in a place where we have more stuff than ever before but are enjoying less? Homes are three times larger than fifty years ago and lack nothing to fill them. The abundance of stuff can distract our faith. God reminds us we are refined through His fire and clothed through His purification.

God is here, calling us. We tend to focus on the stuff more than Him. He wants to share our lives. The wealth of a Christ follower comes not with stuff, but in Christ. How do we handle our stuff? Over the last few weeks, Pastor Michael Cook has taught us the importance of shifting our focus from stuff to Christ, leading to a truly generous life.

Ready for the next step? Christ whispers into our hearts with endless places to start.

Here are just four possibilities of first steps as we move out of the struggle of stuff.

Edit your life. Start with one area and begin to edit things out. We don’t have to start big. One thing after another, week after week and our lives will be changed.

Begin a gratitude journal. Write down one thing you are grateful for each day. Gratitude trains our heart, combating comparison and the desire for something “better”.

Serve consistently. As God blesses us with stuff, our heart naturally turns inward. Serving others takes our heart back. Serving grows gratitude.

Give faithfully. Don’t wait! It will never get easier to give. Abundance doesn’t lead to giving, intentional generosity does. Whatever you have, be generous now. Developing a spending plan is a great place to start.

Our needs and wants can crossover, but God is ready to do something great in our lives regarding stuff. He stands, He calls, He knocks…

Challenge: Ending the struggle over stuff can begin today. We can choose to seek Christ first, living generously and being who God created each of us to be. Want change in life? Take a new step today.

Listen to Pastor Michael Cook via podcast here. Learn about the Hope Effort at



Will God Provide?

By AFBC Staff

Do you ever doubt that God will provide for your needs?

On Sunday, Kristi Sullins taught the 4 year olds of AFBC an important lesson about how God provides for our needs. Sharing from the story of Elijah and the Widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17: 8-16), Kristi recounted how this widow was down to the last meal for she and her son when Elijah came along seeking food. Kristi creatively painted a picture of the widow’s obedience to God by feeding Elijah and how God blessed her for it.

As the children sat crowded on the rug in their small classroom they drew pictures of their needs. “Food,” was a quick response from Kariela Polich, “watermelon.” “Mac and cheese,” Aidan McFadden chimed in. Soon the children were all shouting out their favorites.

“Friends” became a common reply and it was precious watching the children wrap their arms around one another affirming that response. Yes, we all need friends. God often provides for our needs through friends.

The children’s list continued to grow. Clothes, a house, mom and dad were all things of high priority to our children. It was evident they understood the concept of need, but their understanding was on a very basic, very personal level.

Across the building in the PreTeen classroom the discussion was quite different. These kids in grades 5 and 6 have a greater understanding of need. Since their preschool days they have been taught Bible stories that demonstrated how God provides. Now at this stage of instruction they can look beyond the personal level. They have listened as Pastor Cook has shared the needs of our church family.

When asked for their thoughts about the Hope Effort, they excitedly offered their opinions. James Woffard spoke up and said, “Our preschool classes are full and they need more room.” Carolyne Savage quickly agreed, “Most of us are packed to the eaves.” Students Kendall Mitchell, Bailey Dobson and Mikaela Glade chimed in saying that the more space we have the more people can come to our church.

Out of the minds and mouths of youth often come the most profound words, “We need to expand for the next generation.” Mady Kettler is not just thinking about today but she’s looking toward tomorrow.

Coming from a different perspective Sophia Sullins said, “Kids are loud and wild and they need a place to be free.” Looking at things on a more personal level, Jeremiah Leetham commented, “With more room we won’t have to sit on the floor.” To which the girls all responded that they like sitting on the floor. Maybe chairs are not as much of a need when you are a preteen.

Not to be left out, the always practical Jameson Anderson who helps Robert lead this group said, “Saving $50,000 is good!” Robert Thomas summed it all up. “It’s like we’re trapped in a flower pot that’s too small. We need a bigger pot so that our plant can grow.” Well said, Robert.

Seriously, the students in the PreTeen class recognize the challenge before us. They understand that they need to be part of the solution. And they trust that as they are obedient God will provide.

What about you? Are you a little anxious like the Widow of Zarephath, wondering if you will have enough. Are you willing to take that step of faith and give of what you have?

She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.

1 Kings 17:15-16 NIV

Enjoying Our Stuff

By Karen Polich

What are the things in your life you really enjoy? The Creator is whispering to all of us, “Enjoy…”

Pastor Michael Cook concluded his Stuff sermon series with a deeper look at enjoying what we have. Wealth is not always a friend of faith. At times we can become so enamored or distracted by what we have that we miss the One who blessed us with all of it.

Often the more we have, the more we experience spiritual drifting. We focus on what we have and what we can do because of what we have. Life begins to operate around the personal. We focus on our kids’ activities, the travel we can easily do, or just the task of caring for the possessions we’ve surrounded ourselves with. How do we keep our hearts moving toward God with gratitude?

1 Timothy 6:17-18  Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.

Serving and sharing will keep our hearts where they need to be. Spiritual growth should never suffer because of the blessings God has bestowed upon us. Our greatest challenge may not be that we are rich, but that we don’t feel rich. When we don’t know and don’t understand how rich we truly are we fall short when it comes to generosity.

He says, “Enjoy…just don’t forget about Me!”

Doing anything for others is better than offering everything “if they need it”! When we become doing people instead of offering people we are truly investing in others. This rescues us from self-focus. When our focus is on others, we can fully enjoy everything God has given us. Our stuff should be a tool that brings glory to God through our generosity. We can all live generously. God has blessed us beyond measure.

Are you a giving, sharing person? Enjoy your stuff, but keep your focus on Him.

Project for the week:

  1. Serve someone in a place that is out of the ordinary for you.
  2. Find out how much you are giving away. What is the percentage? (You just did your taxes.) Knowing how much of your life you are giving away is critical.

We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give –Winston Churchill

Visit for more information regarding the Hope Effort. Listen to Pastor Michael Cook via podcast here.