Volume 3, Issue 4 | April 2020
“Easter is a time when God turned the inevitability of death into the invincibility of life.”
—Craig D. Lounsbrough
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

What an interesting ending to March and beginning of April, and who knows how much further into the future. No one really knows, but everyone is involved….world wide. What an interesting time in history!

The coronavirus, or COVID-19, has taken a firm grip on our entire world. The result is that many people are panicking, many are scared, anxious, nervous….and you can fill in more responses. But we all have been affected by it in some way or other: schools closing, theaters and restaurants closing, sporting events and graduations cancelled, etc., etc. We must also include the fact that for many certain grocery items are hard to come by: toilet paper, eggs, sugar, bread, hand-sanitizer, etc. We have also been told by government officials that no meetings of more than 10 people can be held, and we must keep a certain physical distance from others. This then directly affects us when it comes to Sunday church worship and other activities we have each week. Wow, that’s a lot to have to deal with.

While people may post things we don't like on Facebook and there are people who see it as evil, it can also be a source of real help. A lot of our FRBA churches have used Facebook to post or videos or live-streams of their Sunday morning worship services, and in turn, more people than just their regular members have responded (several of our pastors have shared that with me). Praise God! A FB friend posted something that I want to share with you (one of the good things that have been posted):
 
"Easter is April 12,
let me be the first to announce,
it ain’t getting cancelled!
CHRIST is RISEN!
Nobody can change that!”
 
Isn’t that wonderful! A lot of things are being cancelled, closed or postponed. Not the Lord’s resurrection! His resurrection is what gives us hope, courage, peace and calm in the midst of the storm. This hope is what will help us during this period of time.  I Peter 1:3 says “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,”

As I said earlier, we are all affected by this virus pandemic. We have been told the best thing is to stay at home, avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people, avoid shaking hands, etc. This affects our church worship time together. It’s hard for many people. But God is still on His throne. He knows what’s going on and He is doing mighty things during this time. So don’t get disheartened or discouraged. Keep praying for your church, your friends and family, our country and our world. Stay in communication with each other. Keep reading your Bible. Keep family time at home fun and positive. The Lord is with you during these times, as Psalm 23:4 says “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me”.

We will be celebrating Easter Sunday this month. He is Risen….that is our hope. Don’t let the circumstances we are facing now discourage you from rejoicing and praising the Lord for His forgiveness, His hope, His love and His promise of eternal life .

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

I’m praying for you and wishing you a blessed and wonderful Happy Easter.
 
Your Fellow Servant,
Bro. Loren




Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
(1 Peter 5:7)
During these days of self-isolation, there may be times when neither Loren nor Laurie Beth is in the office during our regular office hours. Please rest assured that we are still available and ready to help you however we can.

We are always available by e-mail: LGFastFRBA@outlook.com or LBScantlinFRBA@outlook.com and through our cell phones at
Loren - 830-267-1234 or Laurie Beth - 210-854-9362.

Frio County is currently under a shelter-in-place order, so we will be working from home at least through April 6th, and possibly longer.

PLEASE NOTE: We will be regularly checking messages left on our office phone as well, but not always as often as we usually do, so there may be a delay in getting back to you if you go that route.
Upcoming Events
(PLEASE NOTE: All events are subject to cancellation or rescheduling
depending on COVID-19 guidelines at the time.)
April 2020
5th - Palm Sunday
7th - OCL Meeting - CANCELLED
9th - East Zone Pastor's Prayer Meeting
(see note below)
9th-10th - Good Friday/Easter Holiday Observance
(FRBA OFFICE CLOSED)
10th - Good Friday
12th - Easter Sunday
23rd - North Zone Pastor's Prayer Meeting
(see note below)
25th - FRBA VBS Clinic - CANCELLED (see note below)
May 2020
1st-4th - FRBA Ladies' Retreat - CANCELLED
(see note below)
5th - OCL Meeting - 6:30pm
6th - South Zone Pastor's Prayer Meeting
7th - National Day of Prayer
10th - Mother's Day
11th-13th - SBTC Church Administrative Assistant's Retreat (Embassy Suites - San Marcos, TX)
14th - East Zone Pastor's Prayer Meeting
25th - Memorial Day (FRBA OFFICE CLOSED)
26 th - FRBA Executive Board Meeting
9:30am – Fellowship
10:00am – Business Meeting
26th - FRBA Evangelism Seminar -
Mormons: Their Beliefs & How Christians Should Respond at the Door - 1:00-3:00pm
28th - North Zone Pastor's Prayer Meeting
A word about pastor's prayer meetings. For the month of April, we will not be meeting together physically in any of our prayer zones, but we hope that our pastors will reserve this time to pray together anyway. Specific requests can be sent to Loren for distribution to the other pastors in each zone. Loren will e-mail reminders this month, and we will decide what to do about May later.
COMING SOON!!
Our VBS Director, Bro. Duane Mayberry (FBC Charlotte) has announced that this year's VBS Clinic on April 25th, will be cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns.

We are currently looking into alternative ways of sharing the information with you.

Meanwhile, is your church getting ready for VBS? Do you have your theme and date?
Please let us know when your VBS will be, so Bro. Loren can visit.

We can also help you share ideas and decorations with the other churches. Just send us the information, and we'll pass it along!
Around the Association
Did you know that Frio River Baptist Association has online giving available?
Click HERE to make your donation.
For the first time, First Baptist Church (Christine) , has been live streaming the sermons of Pastor Whick D. Turner on Facebook. During this time of uncertainty, sharing the message with our congregation has been challenging but encouraging as we are reaching others who normally don’t attend our service. God truly is up to something good and if your church is unable to live stream at this time, please join us. Be sure to like us on Facebook and hope you tune in for a positive and encouraging message. God bless you. Click HERE to go to our Facebook page!
Pastor Wade Brand (FBC Jourdanton) is streaming his sermons on our Facebook page. He is also videoing messages for our youth. Our weekly prayer group is calling in updates and prayer requests and we are emailing them back to the prayer partners.
 
Our church's March food pantry was a drive up food pantry and we were able to serve 76 households and still maintain the safe working environment for our clients and our volunteers. We are praying that our April 18th Food Pantry will be as successful.  
 
Our office hours for the time being have been changed to Wednesday and Thursday 8 am to noon. All of our plans for the concert and the bible study have been put on hold for now.  
 
God Bless everyone!   
Rene K. Walker, Secretary
Belen Baptist Church (Dilley) has continued their Wednesday bible study and prayer during COVID-19 via Zoom! According to Pastor Sonny Osio, it's been a great time in The Lord and in the Word!
Somerset Baptist Church has set up a YouTube channel for their services and Bible studies. You can find them by clicking HERE. You can also catch their services live at 11:00am each Sunday morning at somerset.online.church .
“  preach the good news to all creation.”
Mark 16:15

When the announcement came from the Texas governor’s office that an executive order had been put into place stating that we must avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people, I believe many of our pastors began thinking about what were they going to do with their Sunday morning services. In a sense, they were being asked to do something they had never done before: figure out how they were going to minister to their church family without that family meeting together, not only on Sunday but also during the week. This limitation of meeting size was for originally 15 days (2 Sundays) but will more than likely be extended this week. What a challenge! Even in the FRBA office, Laurie Beth and I have had to make adjustments including cancelling meetings and events that had been planned long ago.

Our church leaders took up the challenge. With much prayer and many discussions with church leaders, our pastors and staff members began preparing for something different. Some looked into “live-streaming” their Sunday service. Others planned to tape their sermons to be broadcasted on YouTube. Some recorded their service and then sent audio or DVD copies to their church members. I noticed that “social media” was the primary method being used by our churches to share God’s message to their church members who would remain at home (as recommended by the authorities). And God would use their efforts to “…preach the good news to all creation.”

As I came to my office at the beginning of the week after the first Sunday of “change”, I decided to call each of our churches to see how they were doing. I spoke mostly with pastors, but was able to talk with some ministry assistants and a few staff members as well. There were a few churches where I left a message, but have not received a response. At the end of the week I had made over 50 phone calls. And what a blessing those phone calls were.

I have to confess I don’t know all the meanings of some of the words associated with “social media”…like “hits’, “responses”, “views” and “likes”, to name some. But as I made these calls, I asked the pastors and most of the staff members I spoke with how their Sunday service had gone. I jotted down notes, and these are some of the comments I received from them:

Many churches reported “hits” they got from posting their services on Facebook.
FBC Big Wells had over 400
FBC Christine had over 215
Tilden Baptist Church had about 469 hits
Iglesia Bautista Ebenezer (Poteet) had about 370
FBC Devine had over 800
FBC Jourdanton had over 300
FBC Lytle had about 200
IB Nueva Vida (Pearsall) had over 138 hits
Crosspoint Fellowship (Pleasanton) had over 300
FBC Pearsall posted a SS class with over 200 hits
There is no telling the number of hits that could be reported from all our churches put together!

Some churches reported the number of those who “viewed” their service online.
FBC LaCoste had about 78 who watched the service live (Bro Cliff said that was more than he has on any given Sunday)
FBC Charlotte counted about 70 viewers
FBC Cotulla had over 100
Tilden Baptist Church reported about 70 who watched their “live stream” service.
Somerset Baptist Church reported more than 217 viewing their service.

How far away were these church services on line being received?
Cowboy Fellowship has been able to broadcast their services live on Facebook, YouTube and on a local radio station. They reported viewers from as far away as India and undoubtedly from other countries as well.
FBC Cotulla reported responses from Peru, Mexico and Spain
Viewers from all over the USA were noted from Georgia, Tennessee, Minnesota and undoubtedly from other states too.

The message of the Gospel was indeed being shared to many more people than we may really know about. And all of these reports were just from the first week after the government announcement, even when our churches had very little time to prepare!
The following week of March 29th pretty much the same method the churches used previously would have to be used again, with even more people being reached with the Gospel. Some churches that weren’t able to get up and running the first week, were broadcasting their services through some format or another by the second week. Those that weren’t able to do so, were invited to participate with some that were. Some have Sunday school and Bible studies online using Zoom, or other methods.  FBC Carrizo Springs hosted a drive-thru prayer meeting, and even a drive-in revival! Our churches are using prayer and their God-given creativity and talents to not only survive this challenge, but thrive in the midst of it.

For many pastors this has been frustrating indeed, but I am encouraged by how our pastors are responding and how the Word of God is reaching many more people than we could have imagined.  “Preach the good news to all creation..” are the words we read from the Gospel of Mark. That is what is taking place here in Frio River Baptist Association. God’s Word will not be silenced. Praise the Lord!

How much longer will this isolation period go on? No one knows. But as ministers of the Lord, we must keep going. I recall that in Hebrews 12:1 we read the words “let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Maybe this period of isolation is what we need to persevere through at this point in time. Just a thought.

God’s ways are higher than ours, as Isaiah 55:9 states, and our part is to continue trusting Him. He will see us through, and His Name will be lifted up. Keep up the good work, pastors, staff members and lay people. God is still with us and He is still on His throne. Keep praying for each other during this time.

Sincerely,
Loren Fast, your DOM
January 1st thru March 31st
2019
Income: $38,815.20
Expenses: $35,904.85
2020
Income: $39,279.92
Expenses: $33,160.27
FRBA RESOURCE LIBRARY
This NEW Bible study and many more are available
through our resource library!

Defiant Joy
What happens when you're full of it...
by Candace Payne
(6-session DVD study)

Click HERE to download one of our checkout forms.
Then just complete it and bring it by the office to borrow a
Bible study to meet your needs.

We’re also accepting donations of used DVD Bible study kits.
If you or your church have some that you are no longer using, we’d love
to have them here to share with other churches in our Association.
Frio River Baptist Association | Phone: 830-334-2061 | Fax: 830-334-3025 | Email | Website