As I begin, I am excited to echo the message of NAMB President Kevin Ezell—the North American Mission Board and Send Relief are intently focused on sending the hope of the gospel to North America. Evangelism is what we’re all about, and I can’t be more excited to tell you how that is working out through Send Relief.
The Southern Baptist Convention wrapped up a few weeks ago, and I’ve been reflecting on the many conversations and opportunities to share with pastors, messengers and long-time friends while there. I’m encouraged by the interest in what Send Relief is doing to equip pastors to lead in engaging their communities. I’m excited about the number of conversations our team had related to foster care. We had a more discussions about this topic than any other. Some churches were just getting started, and others were well underway. A large church in the Dallas area was positively overwhelmed by the response that they had received for families willing to provide foster care to children, but they were struggling with how to support those families when the going got tough. I’m glad that we were able to connect them with some ideas and training that will help them overcome those challenges.
On June 18, we sent out over 250 college students on their GenSend adventures for six weeks. These students enthusiastically desire to share Jesus with 17 cities and communities across North America. During their orientation, there was a session where they practiced sharing the gospel with a neighbor. Ryan Melson, one of our GenSend coaches, posted a video of that time. I hope you’ll pray for them while they serve. (You can follow their summer experience on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #gensendstory.)
Our Puerto Rico crisis response is continuing and is officially a permanent response effort. We have acquired a seminary property that will serve as our ministry center. This facility is capable of housing over 100 volunteers as well as equipment and supplies. In addition to the hundreds of volunteers who have served already, I’m excited to prepare, organize and enlist volunteers for years to come. God is doing something incredible in Puerto Rico. Needs are being met, and churches are being planted at a pace never seen in our lifetime.
Finally, we’ve just released a few new practical resources for pastors to equip the church to engage the community. You’ll find them on the home page of SendRelief.org. We hope you’ll consider a practical way to serve the needs of your neighbors. “Meet a need, build a relationship and change of life” is the drumbeat we share with everyone we meet, and we hope you’ll consider what that means for your church.
President, Send Relief