What a pleasant surprise when we all walked out of church last Sunday and it was snowing! Beautiful, just beautiful, and some of the largest snowflakes I’ve ever seen. The snow may not have lasted very long but it was a welcome sight indeed. Rain, sleet or snow, we’ll take that precipitation any way we can get it. Thank you again Lord for answered prayers.I’m happy to give everyone an update on Art’s ongoing Mission Outreach Program. Pictured above is Eloy Villarreal (left) handing out the Christmas gift shoeboxes from Art UMC and Trinity UMC to the children of Templo El Fe Poder de Dios church in Ciudad Acuna, Coahuila in Mexico. Eloy’s wife Naomi Villarreal is pictured (right) with several of the children after receiving their gifts. Donations of clothing were also distributed earlier to families in the area. Veronica said the church’s pastor, Rev. Abel Calvillo, along with the congregation, expressed much gratitude and happiness. She said they were very humbled that people in Texas thought of them. Although Eloy and Veronica have a few relatives in this particular area of Mexico, this was a dangerous trip for them. They were warned not to travel to the small community in which they had taken the gifts in previous years. Apparently there was drug cartel activity in that area. They were told of Rev. Calvillo’s church and since it was in a safer area, decided to take the gifts there. Veronica was given this information before they arrived and was informed that there would be about 100 children at the church. She and Eloy quickly purchased candy and small gifts to ensure enough for all the children, as a smaller number had been anticipated. She said it was a joyous time and 114 children were thrilled with their gifts. Thank you Eloy and Veronica for not only being the hands and feet of Christ, but also of Art and Trinity into Mexico. Joe David and Heather Yates will be celebrating their anniversary on Tuesday, Feb.14th, and Ella Mae Hall’s birthday will be Feb.22nd. Blessed celebrations to all! “For Unto Ya’ll” practice will be this Wednesday, Feb.15th, at 5:30pm, followed by the Revelation Bible Study at 6pm. Pastor Cliff encourages all to attend these last four sessions, even if you have not attended before. “Silver Ring Thing” is a program about God’s plan for purity and abstinence until marriage and will be presented Sunday, Feb. 19th, from 6-8:30pm, at Southwest Hills Community Church, 7416 West Hwy 71, Austin, TX. Registration begins at 5:15pm. Discipleship training, “Aligned & Empowered for Spiritual Leadership,” will be held Feb. 24-26, 2012 at the First United Methodist Church, 401 South Blackburn Street, Brady, TX. The Friday session is from 7-9pm; Saturday session is from 10am-2pm with lunch, and Sunday’s session starts at 8:30am. There will be a Prison Ministry training in La Vernia at the La Vernia UMC on Saturday, Feb.18th. Please contact Pastor Cliff for information about any of these events. The Social Concerns Committee meeting will be held at 6pm Feb. 21st. Ash Wednesday is Feb. 22nd and the first Lenten Lunch will be at 12:00pm at the River of Life Church. We will have our Ash Wednesday Service at 6:00pm.Prayer concerns for this week include Pearl Leifeste, Clinton and Anna Grace Durst, and Marge Boyd’s sister Geraldine (Gerry) Welch. Pearl was in the hospital with medication issues which have been resolved and she has returned to the nursing home. Anna Grace is in the hospital in Fredericksburg and tests are being run to determine what is causing an extreme pain she is having in her back. Gerry Welch, Marge’s sister is recovering from a stroke, but is now having confusion and memory loss. Please pray for these good folks and their families.Last Sunday was the 6th Sunday after the Epiphany. The Call to Worship was read by Christian Dyess. The Gospel reading was from Mark 1, 40-45. Jesus continues His teaching and healing. He was filled with compassion when a man with leprosy came to Him and begged Him to heal and make him clean. Jesus touched the man and immediately he was cured. Jesus told the man not to tell anyone but to go directly to the priests and offer the sacrifices Moses commanded for cleansing, so they could pronounce him ceremonially clean. The man did not listen to Jesus and went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news of his healing. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly. Yet the people still came to Him from everywhere. Centuries ago the Jewish people believed that if a person was unclean, then he was unholy. The Jewish law prescribed that a priest, not a physician, should determine whether a person had leprosy. (Leviticus 13) Being unclean was thought to be contagious and lepers were required to live in isolation away from the community and declare themselves “unclean” when approached. Touching a leper brought defilement. (Lev.13 45-46) What Jesus did next is another example of what He said in Mark1:15, KJV, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” The compassion and love Jesus had superseded cultural considerations. He touched the man and he was healed. Jesus sent the man to the priests as evidence that the cure was real. The healing was a testimony to Jesus’ divine power, since the Jews believed that only God could cure leprosy. Jesus had the authority to make even a leper clean, even though it was forbidden to touch him ….. the untouchables and the unclean. Through God, Jesus changed the rules of the day about the nature of God’s love and now the world would see the reign of God had begun. Jesus calls us to be healers, peacemakers, and unifiers for the lowest and weakest. Pastor Cliff concluded that when we as God’s people go and feed the poor, sit down with them, hear their story, look into their eyes without judgment and as children of God, then perhaps God might just use us as an instrument in their healing. Peace to all.