Winter storm Juno brings reminder of disaster preparedness need

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By Meredith Yackel

ALPHARETTA, Ga. – Winter storm Juno hit areas of the Northeast early this week and continues to bring moderate to heavy snow in some areas. Although its impact is less than originally predicted, by noon Tuesday Juno had left parts of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island with over a foot of snow and a recorded 26.2 inches in Shrewsbury, Mass.

Strong wind gusts reached 30 mph Tuesday night in Boston and topped 70 mph in eastern Massachusetts. Sparse coastal flooding has forced roads in some areas to close completely, and several states either closed roads or imposed a limited travel ban. There are also an estimated 36,000 customers without power in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The greatest impact of the storm occurred Tuesday night and moderate coastal flooding is expected to continue.

“The challenge is now, since New York and other areas weren’t hit as bad as projected, it is easy to take an attitude of complacency and not take preparedness with seriousness,” said Fritz Wilson, executive director for Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) with the North American Mission Board.

While trained SBDR volunteers could be deployed for such a natural disaster if needed, Wilson said blizzards are an example of the kind of event individuals and churches can prepare for in advance.

“Our Ready Church initiative is about being prepared for all disasters. The reason for churches and Christians to be prepared is that when we are prepared, we can better cope with the situation and minister to our neighbors,” said Wilson. Churches can connect with a local SBDR director to learn more about how you can be prepared when a storm, or any kind of disaster, hits close to home.

SBDR leaders want to enable churches to prepare, connect and respond within their local context. Through the Disaster Relief network, both national and international, Southern Baptists are able to respond with full support to crises of all sizes. Ready Church empowers people to best connect with their community in these times of need to spread the gospel.

For more information on how you can become prepared visit

Those wishing to donate to SBDR relief can contact the Baptist convention in their state or visit For phone donations, call 1-866-407-NAMB (6262) or mail checks to NAMB, P.O. Box 116543, Atlanta, GA 30368-6543. Designate checks for “Disaster Relief.”

NAMB coordinates and manages Southern Baptist responses to major disasters through partnerships with 42 state Baptist conventions, most of which have their own state Disaster Relief ministries.

Southern Baptists have 65,000 trained volunteers—including chaplains—and 1,550 mobile units for feeding, chainsaw, mud-out, command, communication, child care, shower, laundry, water purification, repair/rebuild and power generation. SBDR is one of the three largest mobilizers of trained Disaster Relief volunteers in the United States, along with the American Red Cross and The Salvation Army.

Meredith Yackel writes for the North American Mission Board. 

Date Created: 1/27/2015 3:01:28 PM

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NAMB, IMB to partner on Send North America Conference

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By Joe Conway

ALPHARETTA, Ga. – The Send NorthAmerica Conference, still a full seven months away, is fast approaching a capacity sell out. And now the missions gathering has gained a major partner for the Aug. 3-4 conference to be hosted at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.

North American Mission Board (NAMB) President Kevin Ezell announced last week that the International Mission Board(IMB) is partnering with NAMB to make the Send North America Conference truly comprehensive in missions scope. Paid registration has already surpassed 7,300.

At its core, the Send North America Conference is a two-day gathering of the church in North America. The heart of the gathering is to see a movement of people from within the Church living out the mission of God in their everyday lives. The conference holds promise to be one of the largest missions gathering in North American history. It is designed to bring mission leaders at every level from across the continent together for encouragement, vision and action.

“Working together on this conference means churches and individuals will truly be able to come away with a complete vision and plan for their church’s mission activity in North America and around the globe,” said Ezell. “This kind of opportunity is unprecedented in Southern Baptist life and I am very excited about the potential.”

In addition to providing a comprehensive vision and plan, a missions mobilization gathering is a natural partnership for IMB and NAMB. David Platt, IMB president, shares the excitement and anticipation for what the event can accomplish.

“When I first agreed to be a part of the Send North America Tour, culminating in this event in August, I had no idea that I would soon be serving alongside NAMB as president of IMB,” said Platt. “I am exhilarated when I think about all the possibilities we have to mobilize Christians and equip churches for mission in North America and the nations together, and this conference is a reflection of that reality. I am eagerly looking forward to NAMB and IMB together hosting thousands of people in one place for God-glorifying, gospel-saturated worship all aimed at sending those people out from local churches on mission all over the world.”

The conference will provide many opportunities for networking in between breakout sessions, main sessions and worship times. An abbreviated list of speakers includes Platt, Matt Carter, Louie Giglio, Al Mohler and Eric Mason, among others. Worship sessions will be led by Passion Band, Casting Crowns, David Crowder and Shane and Shane.

Another compelling aspect of the Send North America Conference is the focus on mobilization and next steps following the event. Participants will have the opportunity to respond on-site to several missions avenues from exploration to support to church planting and unreached people group engagement.

Organizers hope churches and individuals will be encouraged to live life on mission as a result of participating in the conference. That may mean beginning the conversation about what life on mission looks like, exploring where to plug in with NAMB and IMB, increasing support for missions or becoming personally involved as a church planter or other type of missionary.

The cost of the conference is $129. The event website provides information on lodging and other important notes. To register, visit For more detailed information for planning your conference experience, contact Send Conference Group Leader Concierge Justin Woelk at 770-410-6293 or email

Joe Conway writes for the North American Mission Board.

Date Created: 1/26/2015 2:14:38 PM

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