Volume 1, Issue 10 | December 2018
Somehow, not only for Christmas,
But all the long year through,
The joy that you give to others,
Is the joy that comes back to you.
And the more you spend in blessing
The poor and lonely and sad,
The more of your heart’s possessing
Returns to you glad.
--John Greenleaf Whittier--
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

“For God so loved the world that He gave…” The Lord not only told us He loved us, He demonstrated it by giving us His only Son. As we enter this Christmas Season, I sometimes wonder about this matter of gift exchanges and all the festivities surrounding the season. I know it is all part of the time of year, along with lots of colorful lights, beautifully decorated trees, the celebration of music that tickles the ears and the wonderful smell of Christmas cooking. Then under the tree all those beautiful wrapped gifts. Don’t get me wrong, I really do like this time of year. But do we give too much attention to “us” instead of Him?

Now the giving and receiving of gifts is a wonderful part of Christmas. Nothing wrong with that. The Wise men also gave gifts. But do we at times get caught up in the festive time of year and forget the real reason for the season: the birth of our Savior, Jesus? If it were not for His birth, would we still have a Christmas? Would we be putting up Christmas trees, lights, decorations, baking cookies, wrapping gifts, etc.? Something to think about, isn’t it? So, Christmas is really all about celebrating Jesus’ birth. It’s His birthday party.

Though it is a time when we receive, it should also be a time of giving. As John 3:16 says, He gave the world His only Son. What can we do to show our love for the Lord; what other kinds of gifts can we give this Christmas? How about visiting a homebound person, or giving a hug to a lonely one, or inviting a single person over for supper, or visiting those in a nursing home, or calling someone you have not spoken to in years, or sharing about Jesus with someone or maybe doing a small favor for someone in need. 

Somehow giving a “non-tangible” gift can be more meaningful than giving something “tangible”. Don’t you think? Remembering something someone did for us in our time of need has a tendency to remain longer with us. So it is with giving. Whatever you decide to do this season, don’t forget the part of giving. Jesus said to His disciples “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matt. 25:40) . Giving to others, in a sense, can be giving to the Lord. Think about that this Christmas season.

Dora and Ethan and I, along with Laurie Beth and Scott, want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas.

Your Fellow Servant,
Bro. Loren
Upcoming Events
December 2018
NOTES:
-- There will be no regular OCL meeting this month.
--Our East Zone Pastor's Prayer group will NOT be
meeting this month.

5th - South Zone Pastor’s Prayer Meeting
6th - North Zone Pastor's Prayer Meeting
7th-9th - Living Christmas Village (details below)
8th - 11:00am - FRBA Church Administrators’
Fellowship Christmas Potluck (details below)
11th - FRBA Executive Board Pastor/Spouse & Staff
Christmas Fellowship - starting at 6:30pm
15th - Christine Country Christmas (details below)
19th & 21st - "O Little Town of Bethlehem" musical at
Belen Baptist Church in Dilley (details below)
24th-31st - Christmas Holidays (FRBA OFFICE CLOSED)
31st - New Year’s Eve
January 2019
NOTES:
--Our North Zone Pastor's Prayer group will NOT be
meeting this month.

1st - New Year’s Day (FRBA OFFICE CLOSED)
2nd - South Zone Pastor’s Prayer Meeting
3rd - East Zone Pastor’s Prayer Meeting
7th-8th - FRBA Pastor’s Prayer Retreat (Alto Frio)
8th - OCL Meeting - 6:30pm
14th-15th - Texas Baptists Preschool & Children’s
Ministers’ Retreat (Summers Mill Retreat &
Conference Center - Belton, TX)
15th - FRBA Executive Board Meeting
9:30am – Fellowship
10:00am – Business Meeting
22nd - FRBA Tax Seminar
10:00am to 3:00pm (lunch included)
25th - 26th - A Godly Woman: Full of His Grace event
at Cowboy Fellowship (details below)
29th - Texas Baptists Worship Summit (Howard Payne
Baptist University - Brownwood, TX)
SAVE THESE DATES!!
2019
Feb. 8th-10th - Sustain Ladies Retreat at Alto Frio
Feb. 21st - FRBA CPR/1st Aid/AED Training
May 3rd-6th - FRBA Ladies' Retreat at HEB Foundation Camp

Around the Association
The First Baptist Church of Cotulla is pleased to announce that they have called Dr. Moises Rodriguez
to be their new Pastor. Dr. Rodriquez and his wife Abby will be moving to Cotulla from San Antonio.
We are excited to welcome them to our association, our church family and to the Cotulla community. 
PLEASE NOTE : FRBA will apply financial gifts postmarked by December 31, 2018 and received by January 6, 2019 to the 2018 calendar year.
After January 6, 2019 all gifts will be applied to the 2019 year.
Upcoming Events
ATTENTION ALL CHURCH ADMINISTRATORS
(Ministry Assistants, Office Managers, Treasurers, Communications Folks, etc. - PAID or VOLUNTEER)!!

Please plan to join us for this fun annual event. It's a great opportunity to get to know other church administrators from around our association!
You never know when that connection will make all the difference.
We'll be discussing plans for 2019 as well, so please come and let us know how we can help support you and your church. We REALLY want your input!
Hope to see YOU there!!
Christmas Village 2018
Friday, December 7th - Sunday, December 9th, 2018
Strawberry Festival Grounds Hwy 16, Poteet, Texas 78065
Doors open at 5:30pm -- Tours start at 6:00pm 

The Living Christmas Village is an outdoor walking presentation of the Journey of Christ from his Birth to his Resurrection. Have you ever wanted to go back in time? Just shut your eyes and imagine what it would be like 2,000 years ago. You now find yourself entering the Gates of Bethlehem on the eve of our Savior's birth. Experience the life of Christ and witness the greatest gift mankind has ever known, as told by your tour guide, the prophet "Isaiah". You will visit at least 30 scenes and see over 200 different characters and animals.

Talk about ministry work. Last year the Christmas Village had over 900 people come through in 3 days. Each person had their own experience. Some heard the word of God for the first time. Others have heard it over and over and find it’s really hard to understand and connect to, until they see it for themselves. But most agree there is something about seeing and experiencing the journey that gives people goose bumps. That’s when you know they understand.

The Christmas Village (which is now in Poteet) is presented by Pleasanton, Jourdanton and Poteet area churches and has run consistently from 1998 since it's inception at FBC, Pleasanton. The village recreates a biblical village similar to Bethlehem, telling the Gospel story through events in the life of Christ and concluding with a Gospel invitation. All are welcome, groups are welcome, it is free.

If you’ve never been (or even if you haven’t been for a while), you don’t know what you’re missing. It’s like stepping back in time and experiencing the Journey of Christ!!

This exciting 3-day event begins on Friday, December 7th, and continues through Sunday, December 9th. The gates open at 5:30pm and tours begin at 6:00pm and depart about every 10 to 15 minutes throughout the evening. Each tour lasts about 40 minutes. You can even enjoy live music, free refreshments and a free petting zoo for the children while you wait!

The Christmas Village is located on Hwy 16 in Poteet, TX 78065 at the Lions Club Building on the Strawberry Festival Grounds.  For more information please call 830-569-2582. Click here for pictures and more info.
The First Baptist Church choirs in Pleasanton and Charlotte
are presenting the Christmas musical,
"How Great Our Joy"
Saturday, Dec. 15th at 6:00pm at FBC Charlotte and
Sunday, Dec. 16th at 6:00pm at FBC Pleasanton .  

The choirs are accompanied by an ensemble of piano, keyboard, trumpet, flutes, and saxophone. All are welcome.
FBC Big Wells will be having special music during their morning service at 11:00am,
and an evening Christmas Concert (by Jason Chism out of Gladewater, TX) at 6:00pm
on Sunday, December 16th . At 4:00pm, they will be having a special time for children
which will include cookie decorating and hot cocoa! DON'T MISS IT!
Primera Iglesia Bautista Betania (Devine) celebrated a Thanksgiving luncheon on November 18th. They selected 3 families from their community to bless with a turkey and trimmings luncheon/dinner ready for them to cook and enjoy. This was their second year to do that.  Their interim Pastor, Fernando Hill, will be heading to the Ft. Worth area to help in another church in need. So now, the church is being lead by Jordan Sloan, a bilingual student at Baptist University of the Americas (BUA). The church has been blessed by other BUA students that help with music ministry, online/computer updates, and the church's Facebook account. On Wednesday's they come down and help with music and children's ministry as well. 
 
The church will be hosting their annual Christmas celebration December 23rd at 11:00 am. Everyone is welcome. They will have a brunch that day including Christmas sacks that are given to children each year.
The Singing Women of South Texas will present a concert at FBC Pleasanton on
Saturday, Jan. 12th at 6:00pm.  All are welcome. 
Our 3rd Annual Ladies' Retreat at HEB Foundation Camp
will be here before we know it.
Registration starts January 1st!
Pass the word to the ladies in your church
and get your group signed up early.


REMINDER: If you weren't able to join us for the Annual Gathering, we have plenty of copies of the Book of Reports available at the FRBA Office. The booklet includes an updated church directory as well. Stop by and pick one up when you’re in the area! 
January 1st thru November 30th
2017
Income: $142,041.54
Expenses: $85,858.43
2018
Income: $146,832.73
Expenses: $128,112.91
Love in Action
The youth and children of Black Creek Baptist Church hosted an Operation Christmas Child shoebox packing party. A big THANK YOU to each one that helped
put together a total of 68 boxes !
Click HERE for more pictures!
First Baptist Church of Natalia hosted a Community Thanksgiving Service with meal and fellowship that followed. Brother Clinton Dunn from Corinth Baptist (Natalia) brought the message. They also gave a special thanks to the police, fire department, city personnel, and school personnel. There were over 100 in attendance with several churches represented!
Click HERE for more pics!
Operation Christian Love
by Beth Ann Brundrett

It is mid November & there were rare snow flurries just outside my window this morning. Excitement washes over me with memories from my childhood. My mother bundled my brother & me with layers of clothing. I was only 3 and I still have vivid memories. When I think of it now, I can feel the warmth of my clothing & love of my mother. Also in my memories, are some of the children in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, MX., that I saw just one year ago. They too were mesmerized by this new blanket covering their surroundings. What jumps out in my memory is that most of these children were, by comparison, fortunate to have long sleeves & perhaps a light jacket. Some had no shoes, yet their joy & amazement was the same as mine had been. Their mothers were trying to bundle them as best they could. Feet were wrapped with scraps of fabric. The parental love was evident. This reminds me of how all of us are loved the same by our God. It is not the clothes but the love that is most important. It is also how we reach out to others to show God’s love. Showing, not just telling, others the love of our Savior fulfills the greatest of all commissions.
 
Loads of new clothes have already made their way to Terlingua, TX., to go into remote areas of northern MX., and to the Tarahumara Indians. Bibles have been distributed to them as well. They look forward to not only clothes and food but Bible School. As they are learning to read, they are learning to read the Bible, and they enjoy learning about the love of Jesus. The material items they receive and the love of the people ministering to them are allowing them to share the love of Christ with others.
 
This is just a sample of the strength formed through the love of Jesus. The first 2 weeks of December it will be repeated many times by many people. As this Army of God is marching forth, we thank you for joining in whatever way you are able to serve. The greatest gift you can bestow is prayer. Without it this mission could not exist. The love shown through caring makes not only a difference to recipients, but to those who are doing the caring as well.
 
May God Bless you as together we celebrate the birth of our Savior.
This picture was taken at one of the Banda Ministry 2017 Gatherings for Christ in Piedras Negras. This event taught the children about Jesus, and His birth and death for all of us.
OCL is extremely grateful for the many donors and volunteers who continue
to help make these Gatherings possible each year.
Click HERE for more pictures.
OCL Christmas Ministry
December 2018 
Iglesia Bautista Jerusalen - 538 Memo Robinson; Eagle Pass, TX
Longhorn Ranch Motel - Hwy 118 between Terlingua & Alpine, TX
     432-371-2541
CALENDAR FOR 2018 OCL CHRISTMAS ACTIVITIES
Save these dates as you help us prepare to celebrate the birth of our savior!

Tuesday, December 4th
Some volunteers to Eagle Pass, TX - No regular OCL Meeting !

Wednesday, December 5th
8:30am - meet at Iglesia Bautista Jerusalen in Eagle Pass, TX for trip to Piedras Negras (details above)
6:00pm - volunteers start arriving at Jerusalen to set up for sorting & stocking stuffing

Thursday, December 6th
8:00am - breakfast at Jerusalen followed by sorting & stocking stuffing
12:00 noon - lunch
1:00pm - sorting & stocking stuffing continues

Friday, December 7th
8:00am - breakfast & completion of sorting & stocking stuffing at Jerusalen
12:00 noon - lunch
12:00 to 2:00pm - gift pick-up
5:30pm - Kickapoo Gathering (meal provided by the tribe)

Saturday, December 8th
8:00am - breakfast and last-minute preparations at Jerusalen
9:30am - Jerusalen Gathering
12:00 noon - lunch
1:30pm - leave for Gathering at a location TBA

Call Beth Ann at 210-854-9360 if you have any questions or want to get involved.
Our greatest strength comes from prayer!  
FRBA RESOURCE LIBRARY
This Bible study and many more are available
through our resource library!
You Are Gifted: Your Spiritual Gifts & The Kingdom of God
by Ken Hemphill
(13-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
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