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?








Beyond the Walls

By AFBC Staff

Volunteering is not only good for others, it’s good for you. Giving back helps mood, mobility and relieves stress. Research shows that people who volunteer report lower mortality rates, lower rates of depression, fewer physical limitations and lower levels of stress than those who don’t volunteer, says Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. The health benefits are huge.

More importantly giving back makes an impact in the kingdom of God.

Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church takes giving back seriously. Pastor Michael M. Cook often reminds the congregation of what we refer to as The Big Three: worship, participation in small groups and serving.

Serving is not just important within the walls of the church but beyond the walls as well. The displays on the AFBC concourse Sunday January 25th were evidence of the church’s commitment to that philosophy.

Sharing information about volunteer opportunities were representatives from: Albuquerque BioPark, AmberCare, Animal Humane, Casa Esperanza, Gideons, Habitat for Humanity, Hope Christian School, The Rock at NoonDay, Respite Care, Special Spaces, Wings Ministry, Presbyterian Hospital and CareNet.

“I was intentional about providing a diverse range of organizations and opportunities,” said AFBC staff member Susan Rasinski. Susan was responsible for coordinating the Beyond the Walls event. “One of our goals was to expose church members to service possibilities in the community. The event was designed to be a win/win for everyone. I believe we accomplished our goal.”

Gary and Rhonda Warner recently joined the fellowship at AFBC. Participating in the Discover First class for potential new members, they heard first hand from Pastor Kevin Linthicum about our emphasis on serving. Relatively new to Albuquerque, they are looking for ways to get involved in both the church and the community. They found several opportunities that interested them. Talking to the organization’s representatives helped them to understand the needs of the organization. Gary signed up to get more information from several of the exhibitors.

What about you? What interests you?

There are more volunteer opportunities in our world than ever before. Here are a few positions that our members are involved in.

Joyce Brantley, Margie Gill, Billie Jordan, Lucille Stevens and Bill Robinson are readers at Petroglyph Elementary. One afternoon a week they go to the school and listen to children in Ms. Nancy’s kindergarten class read aloud.

Several of our members volunteer for the Rock at NoonDay. One day a month AFBC members come to the office and prepare the NoonDay mailing. Jim and Pat French, Jerry Bell, Steve Guerrero and Tom and Ginny Caizza are just a few that serve in that way.

Carlene Caruthers is a volunteer for Rust Medical Center. Those of you who know Ms. Carlene know what a bright cheerful presence she has. She welcomes people to the hospital with her dazzling smile.

Maybe you’re not sure how to find a volunteer position that fits you. Here are a few suggestions.

  • Find an activity that you’re passionate about. If you like kids volunteer to help children. Love books? The public library needs you. Enjoy building? Habitat for Humanity may be the perfect place.
  • Look for activities that fit your schedule. Do you have an extra day off each week? A morning or afternoon free. Some volunteer activities can be done from your very own home.
  • Make it a family or friend event. Ask a friend or family members to volunteer with you. Serving together makes it more fun.
  • Realize it’s never too late. We have more senior volunteers than ever before. Don’t let your age be a deterrent.
  • You’re never too young. There are lots of volunteer opportunities for teens and some of them can lead to paid jobs or even exciting careers.

Why not make this year the year that you reach beyond the walls and invest in the kingdom of God by giving of yourself and your time to make a difference in our community?