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Joe Conway

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Chicago’s ‘Reborn’ church transforms inner-city lives

CHICAGO (BP) -- Roy Brown wasn't sure what to make of the white guy in the storefront window one morning, wondering what he was doing in Garfield Park. Brown, a former west side Chicago gang member, was already a walking miracle. Surviving the streets is one thing, but exiting gang life often entails a premature date of death. Jamie Thompson, the guy on the other side of the plate glass, also is a local with a linebacker's build who grew up one neighborhood east in Humboldt Park. And he ...

N.C. anticipates weeks of continued Matthew recovery

CARY, N.C. (BP) -- Scenes reminiscent of the aftermath of 1999's Hurricane Floyd are playing out across a 250-mile stretch of North Carolina. Already North Carolina Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers, and those from seven other states, have served Hurricane Matthew survivors by preparing more than 400,000 meals from six SBDR kitchens. North Carolina Baptist Men Disaster Relief director Gaylon Moss said some of the same areas affected by Floyd were hard hit again by Matthew. Moss said volunteer days served in North Carolina have already surpassed 7,000.

DR volunteers serving Matthew survivors in 5 states

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) -- While Matthew was still churning up the U.S. eastern seaboard as a Category 4 hurricane, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers were already preparing hot meals for storm evacuees in Florida. Meal preparation will soon number in the thousands as multiple teams and kitchens from other states begin operations Oct. 10. Meanwhile, SBDR assessors are working in coastal communities from Florida to Virginia coordinating first responses for cleanup, mud out and recovery. North American Mission Board (NAMB) SBDR executive director Mickey Caison said ...

DR leaders prepare for Hurricane Matthew response

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) -- As the first light rains from the outer bands of Hurricane Matthew passed over south Florida Wednesday, Oct. 5, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief leaders were planning their response to the potentially devastating storm. Computer models give a high probability of a Category 4 hurricane with a massive storm surge making landfall late Thursday or early Friday somewhere near Palm Beach on Florida's east coast.

SBDR deploying 4 kitchens to south Louisiana

ALPHARARETTA, Ga. (BP) -- The death toll in south Louisiana's unprecedented flooding has risen to 11, and at least 40,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed. In response, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) is deploying volunteers, equipment and resources to the affected area, including four kitchens in Baton Rouge, Hammond, Lafayette and Walker. The American Red Cross has requested four kitchens which each have capacity of 10,000 meals per day. All four DR teams deploying have twice that capacity. Additional support is expected given the scope of the disaster and the long-term nature of the relief work to be accomplished.

‘It’s working,’ Ezell says of strategy & direction

ST. LOUIS (BP) -- Addressing Southern Baptist messengers during their annual meeting in St. Louis, North American Mission Board President Kevin Ezell asked them and himself -- "Is it working?" Ezell's question referred to the overall strategy and direction of the mission board. "NAMB's primary reason for existence is to help Southern Baptists reach North America for Christ," Ezell said Wednesday (June 15). "That is the mission that runs through everything that we do." Ezell thanked messengers for faithfully giving to the Cooperative Program and Annie Armstrong Easter Offering.

Crossover St. Louis sees increase in faith decisions

ST. LOUIS (BP) -- Southern Baptist volunteers took advantage of the preparations made in advance of Crossover St. Louis and saw those efforts result in 556 St. Louis residents placing their faith in Christ for salvation. As the host city for the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, the St. Louis Baptist Association and executive director Jim Breeden helped create environments where people were receptive to Gospel conversations.

‘Every church can’ urged at Send Luncheon

ST. LOUIS (BP) -- A capacity audience of 3,000 at The Dome in St. Louis experienced the launch of Send Relief at the 2016 Send Luncheon on Monday, part of the Southern Baptist Convention Pastors' Conference. In keeping with the Send Relief theme -- bringing practical help with lasting hope -- the North American Mission Board (NAMB) presented Plymouth Baptist Church with a Send Relief trailer to augment the compassion ministry the church of 100 already accomplishes to reach the people of Plymouth, Ind. Pastor Clark Harless, his wife Raechelle and their daughter, Kennedy, joined NAMB president Kevin Ezell on stage. Ezell said Harless and his church epitomize what Send Relief can mean for a community.

Ferguson church partners with Send Relief debut

FERGUSON, Mo. (BP) -- As a primary partner in the launch of the North American Mission Board's Send Relief initiative, a metro St. Louis church reintroduced itself Saturday (June 11) to a couple thousand of its neighbors on a day that coincided with the evangelism effort Crossover St. Louis. "One of our primary goals was to tell the community we are here for you," said Joe Costephens, pastor of First Baptist Church of Ferguson. "This is a community building effort. We wanted to show that we care and want to serve our local neighborhood. To see this day, with the launch of Send Relief, with a demonstration of the Cooperation Program in action, with volunteers from churches from Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida, Texas and Missouri -- it was incredible."

Holiday storms draw volunteers to 8 states

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) -- Deadly storm systems slashed across the nation over the holidays killing scores and bringing rapid response from Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers. In Texas alone, eight people were killed and more than 800 dwellings were damaged or destroyed by tornadoes that struck the day after Christmas in Dallas. The rain accompanying the storm systems has the Mississippi River and its tributaries at flood stage. North American Mission Board SBDR interim executive director Mickey Caison described the response as all too reminiscent of historic flooding that hit the St. Louis area in 1993.