Brian Koonce/Missouri Pathway

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Judge blocks Mo. ban on abortions at 8 weeks

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) -- Days before it was to take effect, a federal judge on Aug. 27 temporarily blocked a Missouri ban on abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy. U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs blocked the law for the time being, pending a legal challenge from Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Wife’s anniversary gift to husband: her kidney

ST. LOUIS (BP)-- The traditional gift for a 40th wedding anniversary is ruby. To celebrate four decades of marriage to her husband Dwight, Sherry Blankenship gave him a kidney. It's a story not only of love between a husband and wife, but also of support between a church and its pastor, as well as an example of God caring for His servant. Dwight, who has served as pastor of Parkway Baptist Church in St. Louis for 24 years, went in for his annual physical in 2014. The blood tests revealed elevated numbers of certain indicators of kidney function, prompting him to see a kidney specialist. Everything Blankenship and the doctors tried over the next two years failed and the numbers continued to get worse. He felt fine -- though the people at Parkway began to notice he was losing a bit of color and there was less spring in his step -- but the numbers showed he was dying.

Church experiments with online video, chat

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (BP) -- Watching a church's worship service online can be a way for those who are sick to still participate and feel like they are part of church. But Crossway Baptist Church is among those congregations taking streaming video to another level in an effort to harness social media for the Gospel. Using a service called Church Online Platform, Crossway will not only broadcast its services over the internet, but the church's media team can chat privately back and forth with viewers while the service is taking place. Chris Rhodes, the church's media director, said ideally it should help them connect with viewers who are not yet believers. It is similar to Facebook Live, but it is available on the church's website and is available to non-Facebook users. The new service was scheduled to launch at the Springfield, Mo., church on Easter Sunday.

DR intern helps in Houston, earns college credit

MARYVILLE, Mo. (BP) -- Maddy Atwell spent her entire summer preparing for a disaster. A member of Laura Street Baptist Church in Maryville, Mo., and a collegiate intern for Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief, she spent her summer training to respond however she was needed -- whether in mass care, child care, laundry, mud-out work, chaplaincy, chainsaw, or incident command. And while nobody would complain about a disaster-free summer, it was a little bit ironic when one of the most destructive hurricanes on record hit Houston weeks after her internship ended and her junior year classes at Northwest Missouri State University began.

DR: ‘You ain’t seen nothing like those Baptists’

OSAGE CITY, Mo. (BP) -- It was cold, wet and windy somewhere between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. as I watched the waters of the Osage River creep ever closer. When the Cole County Sheriff activated his posse (a ready-to-go group of trained civilian volunteers and, no, we don't chase after cattle rustlers) for flood duty, I changed into my uniform and immediately confirmed my availability. I thought I might spend the afternoon helping stranded citizens trapped in their homes during widespread flooding in southern Missouri in late April and early May.

Children’s home trustee becomes adoptive parent

When Chris Ferkel, as a children's home trustee, volunteered for a summer camp, it sparked an openness to foster parenting and, now, the adoption of an 8-year-old girl.

Mo. flooding damages churches, calls DR to action

As flood waters climb banks, close roads and wash over entire towns, Missouri Baptists remain ready to help their communities dry out.

Mo. attorney general targets human trafficking

ST. LOUIS (BP) -- Missouri's attorney general has drawn support from Southern Baptists for issuing regulations enforcing consumer protection laws to target human traffickers. In April 3 comments made at an undisclosed human trafficking rescue site in the St. Louis area, Joshua Hawley likened human trafficking to modern day slavery, noting that each year, thousands of young women and girls are forced into commercial sexual exploitation -- forced to provide sex for money.

Lankford sees a ‘missional calling’ to government

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (BP) -- Sen. James Lankford knows a little bit about experiencing a call from God. He also knows a little bit about resisting that call to be obedient. "For all of the disciples, Jesus used one simple phrase to call them: 'Come follow me,'" Lankford said during a Great Commission Conference at Ridgecrest Baptist Church in Springfield, Mo. "It wasn't a calling to an occupation, to a place or a task. It was a calling to a person, and each of them had to make a decision to follow."

‘Weakened witness’ stayed on mission to the very end

CHIFUNGA, Malawi (BP) -- Paul Koonce was weak and exhausted. Barely able to stand, it took two assistants to get him from the truck and into Avant Baptist Church at Chifunga in Malawi, Africa. Though unable to get in and out of the rickety chair on his own, he still sat up straighter and grew stronger as he began to preach to the people gathering on the dirt floor. Through Koonce's favorite Chichewa interpreter, he began to tell the story of Job. As the director of missions for Washington-Osage Baptist Association based in Bartlesville, Okla., Koonce had led 20 trips to the tiny eastern Africa nation. Along with pastors and students in the association, he helped plant 85 Baptist churches there, and saw thousands come to faith Christ. ...