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At wedding, missions inspires creative giftBLUEFIELD, Va. (BP) -- As Eric Mason and Amber Fowler put the final touches on their March 10 wedding, the couple turned their attention to what kind of favors they wanted to give guests who attended the reception. Maybe they'd hand out candies, candles or bubbles. But they didn't figure any of the traditional wedding-reception favors would last long. They'd be eaten, used or stuck on a shelf and likely forgotten.
The couple instead hoped to use the funds to do something that lasted a bit longer, an effort that would have eternal consequences. They began to look at a variety of charitable gifts that would make better use of the money they'd normally spend on the favors. Read More
Baptists stepping up efforts to help AppalachiaASHLAND, Ky. (BP) -- In the Appalachians, unemployment, poverty and drug abuse remain rampant. But Southern Baptists are stepping up their efforts to help residents impacted by the stark conditions.
They are opening an Appalachia Ministry Center that will distribute food and other supplies throughout the central Appalachian region of eastern Kentucky, West Virginia and southern Ohio. Read More
WEEK OF PRAYER: Hope shining in East St. LouisEAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. -- East St. Louis is the home -- and mission field -- of Kempton and Caryn Turner.
A native of East St. Louis, Ill., Kempton Turner grew up on the streets where he now serves as a church planting missionary and pastor of City of Joy Fellowship. The church was launched on Sept. 18, 2016, with one mission: restoring hope to the city through Jesus Christ. It currently rents space at the local Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center.
"Because I was raised here, I've got a real heart for the people," Turner said. "It's a small city. It's a dangerous, poor place, 85 percent fatherlessness. The houses, the buildings and the roads show the desperate place that East St. Louis is in. The people know struggle." Read More
WEEK OF PRAYER: Reaching the nations in small town Ga.CLARKSTON, Ga. (BP) -- More than 1,000 refugees come to Clarkston, Ga., each year. Send Relief missionaries Trent and Elizabeth DeLoach and the believers at Clarkston International Bible Church (CIBC) have made it their mission to help these men, women and children feel not only welcome but at home in their new country.
A U.S. refugee resettlement program in the 1990s opened the door of opportunity for people from around the world to start a new life in Clarkston. This suburb of Atlanta eventually became known as "the most diverse square mile in America." More than 60 countries and 100-plus languages are represented, and the population continues to grow. A place so rich in culture is exactly the kind of city the DeLoach family dreamed of finding -- however it was hard to believe such a place existed in North America, especially in Trent's home state of Georgia. Read More
WEEK OF PRAYER: Former gang member reaching Canada's largest cityTORONTO, Ontario, Canada (BP) -- "Everyone is welcome!" That is the motto of Fellowship Church Rogue Park located in Toronto's East End. This multiethnic, multigenerational church plant rents space in a local Catholic school on Sunday mornings and hosts events throughout the week.
Strategically launched near an area known for gang violence, the ministry is led by church planting missionary and a former gang member Kesavan Balasingham and his wife Viji, both immigrants to Canada who found new life here. Read More
WEEK OF PRAYER: Carving new path in Las Vegas’ spiritual desertLAS VEGAS (BP) -- Established in 1905 near the Union Pacific Railroad tracks, this city that was once a pass-through in the Mojave Desert has become one of the world's most popular tourist destinations. Las Vegas hosts more than 42 million visitors each year. The draw includes novelty resorts and casinos with enough lasers and neon lights to make it visible from space, earning NASA's distinction for Brightest Spot on Earth. But spiritually, the statistics tell a different story.
The city's resident population is estimated to be around 630,000. Of that number, 92 percent reportedly do not know Jesus. Less than 37 percent of residents identify as religious; less than 5 percent align with the Protestant faith. The numbers underscore the reputation by which this place is known -- "Sin City" and "The Entertainment Capital of the World" -- but a new church plant is at work to bring transformation. Read More
WEEK OF PRAYER: Going the extra mile in DetroitDETROIT, Mich. (BP) -- Known as the headquarters for the "Big Three" in the auto industry -- Ford, Chrysler and General Motors -- the Motor City through the years has experienced prosperity, population explosion and most recently overwhelming urban decay.
From financial crisis to automotive industry cuts to clean water issues, Detroit's struggle has affected the entire metro population of more than 4 million people. Violent crimes rank among the highest in the nation. Less than 10 percent of eighth graders in the inner city are proficient in reading. This is a city of hurting people ... Read More
WEEK OF PRAYER: Meeting needs first in New York CityNEW YORK, New York -- Once an abandoned storefront tagged with spray paint, the building that originally housed Graffiti Church has become a symbol of hope on New York's Lower East Side. Send Relief missionaries Taylor Field and wife Susan strategically positioned the church plant in 1986 amid crack houses and a large homeless population, eventually making this neglected neighborhood their home.
"Jesus started with meeting needs first," Field said. "His compassion grew people's faith, and then He built the church on that faith." Read More
Creating evangelism culture focus of Engage 24 eventLAS VEGAS (BP) -- "We are five men who are sharing our laboratory results," said Hal Seed, senior pastor at New Song Community Church in Oceanside, Calif., at this year's Engage 24 Workshop. "We are sharing stories of real-life churches that are doing things to reach the lost that will hopefully spark a thought or idea."
Engage 24 was hosted at Shadow Hills Church in Las Vegas by the North American Mission Board (NAMB) for two days before continuing its workshops in different states. The event focused on encouraging pastors and church leaders and covered practical ways they could create and foster a culture of evangelism in their own churches. Read More
WRAP-UP: EC considers DC convention, mission board mergerNASHVILLE (BP) -- The Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee has given the District of Columbia Baptist Convention (DCBC) 90 days to "secure" the "the removal of any churches from its fellowship that have demonstrated a faith or practice affirming, approving or endorsing homosexual behavior," according to a recommendation adopted by the EC Feb. 20.
If such churches remain in friendly cooperation with the DCBC after that period, the DCBC will lose its authorization "to receive and disburse Cooperative Program and other SBC contributions," the EC stated during its Feb. 19-20 meetings in Nashville. Read More