First Baptist Church of Eagle Butte
P.O. Box 170, Eagle Butte, SD 57625
(605) 964-3617 (Office) / (502) 891-1704 (Pastor’s Cell)
January 12, 2019
I owe to you all a great apology, as it has been a long time since last I wrote a newsletter to you. Since the death of my mother, life has seemed more overwhelming to me. I have found it difficult to keep up with as much work as before, and am only now returning to what I could call normal. Regrettably, the newsletter has suffered as a result, and I am sorry. You are all partners with us in ministry, and it waswrong to keep you in the dark for so long.
Our church has prospered in the past year. Attendance has its ups and downs, but is on an upward trend. It is very cold outside these days, and the snow occasionally needs to be dealt with using a dump truck, but the weather has not chilled our membership’s interest in church. This morning, I presided over a service with nearly fifty people in it-the sanctuary felt very full! Two men, lacking transportation, had walked across town in the cold to get to church. When I see people making worship into a priority, it nearly makes my heart burst!
A LOT has happened over the past months. Let me give you some of the highlights:
Baptisms, Glorious Baptisms!
A young couple, Corwyn and Mellisa, came forward at the invitation some months ago, and indicated their desire to become Christians. Over time, they attended our discipleship classes and grew in their faith. I had the privilege of baptizing them during the Sunday morning service, and they have been faithfully worshipping alongside of us ever since! I cherish the opportunity I am given, as a pastor, to be present for these amazing works that the Holy Spirit does in the lives of the people.
But the good news doesn’t end there! Four more people have begun the discipling process with me, and I anxiously hope to baptize each of them in the future!
The Feast of Thanksgiving
First Baptist Church has long enjoyed a working friendship with Hamilton Baptist Church of Hamilton, VA. One thing we love to do together is cooperate to put on a Thanksgiving meal for the entire community each year. This year was certainly no exception, as Hamilton dispatched its best cooks to prepare and promote this year’s Thanksgiving Feast. Hamilton prepared the food; our youth served it, and I filled in whatever little potholes came up along the way. More than 300 people ate and were satisfied, and everyone left happy. That was a beautiful night, and like the men and women of Hamilton, I was excited to be a part of it!
Windswept Academy Celebrates Ten Years
Another partnership that First Baptist Church has long enjoyed is with the nearby Christian school, Windswept Academy.Founded in 2008, this school grew from an enrollment of just three students to over ninety! Here, brilliant educators with a heart for spreading the Gospel work to benefit the minds and souls of the student body. More than thirty children have professed faith in Christ through the beautiful work that is done here. And best of all, I get to be the chaplain!
This past year, Windswept Academy celebrated ten years of ministering to the community. They celebrated with a special meal and presentation at the school. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that, as good as this ride has been, Windswept Academy is only getting started. Beginning next academic year, the Academy will be offering a full K-12 curriculum, allowing students to graduate from high school here at Windswept. The school is experimenting with a range of different electives for the older grade levels, and they even brought me in to teach Theatre Arts! God willing, the future of Windswept Academy will be a bright one, and First Baptist Church will enter that future side-by-side with them! And speaking of anniversaries…
First Baptist Church-Celebrating Fifty Years!
Yes, you read that right. In the 1960s, an energetic missionary by the name of Ballard White started a church plant to minister to the Lakota people of the Cheyenne River reservation. They began holding worship meetings in a building which had formerly been a gas station. In 1969, this gathering of worshippers was fully constituted into a church. This church became the First Baptist Church that we know today.
In recognition of this important milestone, First Baptist Church is putting together a series of commemorative celebrations. These include special guest preachers, a week-long series of revival meetings, a time capsule, and all kinds of other nostalgic hullabaloo. I can’t wait to get started celebrating what the Lord has done for us-or to see what He has for us in the future!
Providing Much-Needed Supplies to the Community
Sometimes, churches and individuals will contact me, asking if the people of Eagle Butte have any need for clothing, or shoes or you-name-it. Always, my answer to them is the same: “If the Holy Spirit has laid it on your heart to give a thing, send it. If you can get it here, we can get it into the hands of the people who need it.”
Many generous men and women from across the country have donated things to us over the past several months. This has allowed us to hold four separate giveaways for the poor of this community, each of which resulted in hundreds of items being given away! I am grateful to everyone who partnered with us in this endeavour.
Spiritual Resolutions for 2019
A new year has little real significance, of course. It’s just another tic on the calendar. But it does offer us the occasion to reflect on our lives. And when we do that, it offers us the opportunity to improve.
To this end, I began a project at the beginning of this year. I gave everyone in the congregation the opportunity to make a spiritual resolution-a method by which they wanted to progress in their spiritual lives during the year 2019. Some resolved to read the Bible in a year; others resolved to start a daily devotional; still others resolved to attend Sunday morning Bible Study more regularly, or to begin coming to church on Wednesday nights.
Whatever their resolution, First Baptist Church resolved to help them achieve it. For some, I provided counseling. For others, the church purchased a Bible-in-a-year planner. For still others, we bought daily devotionals. And of course, anyone who doesn’t own a Bible can get one here, without cost.
One cannot predict where this will lead. But I can only see it leading to a good place. After all, even if we do not reach our goals, we at least will have made progress!
So perhaps you are wondering how you can become a partner with us in our ministry here in Eagle Butte? If so, then we are happy to tell you, since we welcome assistance from the body of Christ. Here is what we need the most:
Prayer. It may be true that our church is getting along very well at the moment, and that God is doing great things here. But it is precisely when a church is being used by God that Satan does all in his power to destroy it. So please pray, my brothers and sisters. Pray that our leadership will keep their hearts pure and humble, and that we will live at peace with each other. Pray that we will be protected from the power of the enemy, and that God’s Holy Spirit will shine through in our lives. Pray that the Lakotas in the community will come to know the Lord, and that the commitment they make will not be a superficial group of words, but a real change in their Spirits that will alter the course of their lives for eternity.
E-mail addresses. For those of you who have e-mail addresses, please send them to me. That way, these monthly newsletters can be forwarded to everyone in your church who wants one-and you can get it in color! Just send your name and e-mail address to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll make sure you receive this newsletter as often as it comes out.
Financial Assistance. Our church is fortunate to have members who are generous in their giving. But some of our most generous members are, nevertheless, very poor. We have long been blessed with assistance from outside churches and individuals, and we try to use those gifts wisely and well. If any one of you wishes to bless the church with a financial gift, you may send it to:
First Baptist Church of Eagle Butte
P.O. Box 170
Eagle Butte, SD 57625
In the last month, a financial gift was made in honor of, Miles Pinckney Farrar, Elizabeth Henkle Farrar and Joseph Webb Farrar and Catherine Powell Farrar.
May God bless you all, and draw you closer to Himself each and every day.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Ben Farrar
First Baptist Church of Eagle Butte