The day after Hurricane Ike hit the Houston area, Larry Hilliard was on the way to help his parents-in-law cut a tree off their roof.  Anticipating stops on the journey, he put an old Mississippi UMCOR response sign on his truck. 

He stopped at the Louisiana-Texas state line for gas and breakfast.  As he pulled through the drive-thru, the lady working at the window saw the sign on his car door and with a huge smile on her face said, "Oh my goodness!  You are already here!"

Larry answered for us all, "Yes, Ma'am, you are all in our prayers.  If there is anything else we can do for you, just go to the nearest United Methodist Church."

The connection of United Methodist people is a channel through which goodness and mercy, grace and compassion may flow. Thank you for being God's faithful people as storms have threatened Mississippi, as waters have risen in the Delta, and as our neighboring states have been severely impacted. 

It takes continued effort to live well together and to support the way of life that God has given to us.  Your generosity to the conference apportionments is very important.   

A top priority for lay and clergy leaders in local churches is 100 percent support of apportionments.  While we are experiencing the connection continually and benefiting from it continuously, apportionment support is decreasing. 

We have three months to reverse this trend. I will be working with the cabinet and together we will work with each of you so that our faithfulness will be radiant, strong and sure.   

It is time for leaders to lead! Your advocacy for the support of our shared life is essential. Thank you for helping your local church experience the joy of connection and the fulfillment of servant leadership in the Mississippi Conference.