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NAMB announces multisite, multiformat Send Conf.

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) -- The North American Mission Board (NAMB) announced Wednesday (April 17) that its next Send Conference will happen through a series of local and regional conferences that will take place in more than 70 locations throughout North America beginning this fall. "It's about maximizing momentum," NAMB president Kevin Ezell said. "What began as a plan to hopefully reach 18,000 people with a national event in Atlanta is now a plan to reach in excess of 200,000 by taking the events on the road."

NAMB’s 2018 topped by Annie Offering, disaster relief

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) -- In 2018 Southern Baptists stepped up their support of North American missions while helping thousands of disaster survivors who endured devastating hurricanes, fires and floods as well as a church in Texas after a tragedy that shocked the world. Here is a look at some of the highlights from 2018 as the North American Mission Board (NAMB) had the privilege of partnering with Southern Baptist churches in these and numerous other ways.

NAMB, Revitalize Network add focus outside the South

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) -- The North American Mission Board, in partnering with the new Revitalize Network initiated by Thom Rainer, will provide resources, tools and coaching to churches in need of revitalization outside the South. "One of the biggest things we hear expressed from established churches outside the South is the need for revitalization resources," NAMB President Kevin Ezell said. "Thom's new network will offer a great solution for that. This will revolutionize the access these churches have to revitalization tools."

WEEK OF PRAYER: Hope shining in East St. Louis

EAST 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."

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.

WEEK OF PRAYER: Former gang member reaching Canada’s largest city

TORONTO, 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.

WEEK OF PRAYER: Carving new path in Las Vegas’ spiritual desert

LAS 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.

WEEK OF PRAYER: Going the extra mile in Detroit

DETROIT, 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 ...

WEEK OF PRAYER: Meeting needs first in New York City

NEW 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."

Disaster relief, record AAEO top NAMB stories in 2017

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) -- In one of the most turbulent weather years in U.S. history, Southern Baptists stretched their disaster relief capabilities in bringing relief to those affected by massive storms. The North American Mission Board (NAMB) coordinated multi-state responses to three major hurricanes. Southern Baptist volunteers prepared more than 3 million meals, served over 90,000 days and witnessed more than 700 people profess faith in Christ in ministering to hurricane survivors.