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Dave Arden/Arizona Portraits

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Vacation in the desert kindles call to Ariz.

SEDONA, Ariz. (BP) -- The two-hour drive to Sedona was an uncomfortable one for Josh Jennings, balking at his wife's vacation plans in the middle of the Arizona desert after the 2011 Southern Baptist Convention in Phoenix. But when Josh and Shannon arrived in Sedona -- 2,000-plus miles removed from their South Carolina home -- something happened they did not expect. There, in the midst of the red rock pillars and majestic mountain cliffs, they were drawn to this unique culture.

Much ventured, much gained by Ariz. church planter

KINGMAN, Ariz. (BP) -- The idea of starting over is ominous: driving off, developing new friends and breaking the barriers of the unknown, all with risk. Meet Tommy Thomas, North American Mission Board church planting catalyst in northern Arizona. He has turned starting over into an art form. Thomas repeatedly risks everything: reputation, safety, finances and the future. In remote rural life, there's another risk -- a stint in irrelevance if he fails.