Thoughts, insights and observations from the ABN staff


4,200-plus attend NAMB Send Conference

FloydPLANO, Texas – Few could have imagined just a few years ago that a church-planting event hosted by the North America Mission Board (NAMB) would attract more than 4,200 participants, but that’s exactly what happened July 29-30 at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano.

It’s a good thing those planning the Send: North America Conference decided to host it at the massive Prestonwood facility, otherwise, there would not have been enough room to put everyone during plenary worship and breakout sessions. Even so, many of the breakout sessions were filled with capacity. 

Ronnie Floyd, senior pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas,led a breakout session titled, A Strategic Hope for Revitalization. He told conferees church revitalization starts with the question, “What do you see?” Floyd said God asked this question to four different prophets in the Bible.

Read the entire article in the August 8 edition of the Arkansas Baptist News. NAMB has posted stories, photos and videos from the conference at


Stories we are working on for ABN Link and the May 2 ABN print edition

  • April 20 was a big day for Central Arkansas, as a number of churches and other ministries reached out to their communities through Impact Little Rock. The Arkansas Baptist News (ABN) was there and will have a full report, including photos and videos of the festivities.
  • Watch for the second edition of our brand-new ABN Link e-publication that comes out later this week! It's different and is your source of news and information in-between our regular publications.
  • Watch for our special Travel Hot Springs section in the May 2 edition, as well as the announcement of the winner of our annual Mother of the Year contest!
  • Finally, Arkansas Baptist churches throughout the state will receive ABN Day of Prayer bulletin inserts in the mail soon. Be sure to encourage your leadership to use them to promote the Day of Prayer and the Cooperative Program!



National Day of Prayer set for May 2

Prayer for our nation and our government is a vital part of our heritage as citizens. Churches across the United States are making plans to join with their communities to pray onThursday, May 2, during the National Day of Prayer. According to the website of the National Day of Prayer, the first call to prayer was issued in 1775 when the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom as a nation was being formed. In 1863, President Lincoln issued a proclamation for a day of prayer. In 1952, Congress established a day of prayer and President Truman signed it into law. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed an amended law that set the first Thursday of May as an annual day of prayer. 

Click for more information and resources for your church ...


Sandy Blog: Arkansas mud out teams help restore flooded New York houses

Debris removed from flooded house is stacked on the street. Photo by Caleb YarbroughEditor's Note: Caleb Yarbrough, media specialist for the Arkansas Baptist News, is working alongside Arkansas Baptist volunteers serving in New York in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. He is blogging his experiences as the team travels to the Empire State to help those in need.

DEER PARK, N.Y. – When driving through the areas of Long Island affected by Sandy at first glance many of the homes appear to be unharmed. That is because much of the destruction was caused by rising floodwaters and sewage as opposed to a violent storm or funnel cloud.

Caleb YarbroughMany homes were completely flooded, and in some cases, as high as the second floor. The mixture of salt water and sewage destroyed everything it touched and caused many homes to be condemned and without gas and electricity for the foreseeable future.

The first step to rebuilding these houses damaged by floodwaters is completely gutting them.

This is the job of disaster relief “mud out” units. Mud out units go into homes with substantial damage and clear them so that they can be cleaned and made fit to rebuild. 

Today I had the opportunity to go out with a mud out unit composed of members of five different churches from northwest Arkansas. The house that they were working on was 800 feet from the ocean and was the home of a local Church of God pastor and his family.

The basement and first floor of the home had been under several feet of water and had to be completely gutted. The mud out unit worked throughout the day stripping sheet rock, ripping up flooring and pulling out insulation. By the end of the day the basement and first floor had been completely cleared and was ready to be inspected and sanitized.

As the mud out team left the home residents told them how grateful they were that their brothers and sisters in Christ would take the time to travel halfway across the country to help them in their time of need. It was a beautiful picture of the community and fellowship that is alive between followers of Christ, even those separated by hundreds of miles.

Today was the last day I am going to be in New York. The feeding team that I traveled here with are heading back tomorrow morning and are being replaced by other volunteers from Arkansas. It has been an amazing trip. God has truly worked through His people this week and I believe he will continue to do so as the next groups take over in our absence.

Whether they were cooking meals, washing cambros, clearing trees with chainsaws or gutting homes, each volunteer has worked toward the same goal up in New York – to bring glory to the Lord Jesus Christ!

Seeds were planted and people were loved this week. I would ask that you would continue to pray as the next groups take our place in New York. While we may be leaving the work here is by no means finished. Continue to pray that God would use the devastation Sandy as a means for many to be transformed by the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

Caleb Yarbrough
Arkansas Baptist News


Sandy Blog: Clearing trees and sharing Christ


Arkansas Baptist disaster relief volunteers clear a downed tree. Photo by Caleb YarbroughEditor's Note: Caleb Yarbrough, media specialist for the Arkansas Baptist News, is working alongside Arkansas Baptist volunteers serving in New York in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. He is blogging his experiences as the team travels to the Empire State to help those in need.

DEER PARK, N.Y. – For most of the week I have worked with the feeding team cleaning cambros and food trays. Today I got the opportunity to travel out and around with the “recovery” unit from Arkansas.

The recovery team’s biggest job is safely clearing trees damaged during severe weather or other disasters. Today the team had three different projects to complete throughout Long Island.

Caleb YarbroughThe first project was a small tree that needed to be removed from behind a woman’s home in one of the areas hardest hit by Sandy. The recovery unit’s chainsaws made quick work of the tree and I had a chance to sit down and speak with the woman who owned the home.

The woman’s name was Marie and she was a Haitian immigrant to the United States who was recently retired from the U.S. Army. Marie’s home was completely flooded, up to the second floor during Sandy. All of her and her son’s belongings, including automobiles in their driveway, were destroyed by salt water and sewage that escaped from the sewer during the storm.

Marie said that since the storm she and her son had been living out of their one unharmed vehicle, her church and her office. She said that even with her insurance it would probably take months before she could actually move back in and live in her home. 

Marie is a believer and went back to her native Haiti for the first time since she was a child after the country experienced a devastating earthquake in 2011. Marie, along with the sponsorship of her friends and family, started two orphanages for Haitian child who had nowhere to go after the earthquake. The orphanages now house hundreds of children.

Marie, who is used to being a servant, was incredibly gracious for our small part in getting her home back to normal. After we finished cutting down the tree and clearing it from her backyard we prayed with her and gave her a hug before heading on to the other projects we had lined up for the day.

Disaster relief volunteers pray with a homeowner.The next project took much longer as it consisted of a larger tree that had to be tied and anchored in order for it to fall away from the home and avoid damage.

The woman who owned the home was Jewish and one of our team members took a few minutes to shared the gospel with her. She did not make a profession of faith, but she was obviously touched by the work that the team did for her as she was in tears as she hugged us after we prayed with her. The woman, Gil, was given a New Testament to read and a seed was planted.

Our third and final project of the day was a large fallen tree that landed on a shed and barely missed a window on the side of a home. The homeowner was excited when we showed up, but thought that we were just going to assess the damage and come back to clean things up. He was surprised when we got to work right away as well as with the speed at which the chainsaw unit was able to cut and clear his tree.

As we left the last project, the homeowner, named Brian, told us that he had been trying to get someone out to clean up the fallen tree since Sandy first happened and had not been able to get anyone to even come look at it. He was astounded that we would not only do the job, but did it well and free of charge. Brian said that our work was like “Southern hospitality on steroids.”

After traveling out into the numerous communities that make up Long Island, it made even more aware of the incredible devastation that is present here. It will be a long time before many people will have homes to live in or places to work and many still do not have electricity or gas.

Please ask God to have his hand on New York as it goes through this very difficult time. Pray that God would, in his own providence, use the desolation of Sandy to bring many to a saving knowledge of Him.

Caleb Yarbrough
Arkansas Baptist News