By Jean Bihn

The North American Mission Board recently added Send Relief to its cadre of ministries focused on engaging churches and church planting. As in the Old and New Testaments, Send Relief calls for believers to seek out individuals in need.

“God cares about human suffering and calls His people to do the same,” said Monty Patton, NAMB Send Network missionary in Arizona. “We are called to care for the weak and vulnerable around us, so Send Relief is part of NAMB’s strategy to help engage churches to minister to the ‘least of these.'”

Ministries under Send Relief are wide-ranging.

“We’ll be encouraging, training and enlisting churches to serve their community through community engagement; foster care and adoption; fighting human trafficking; ministering to refugees and internationals; disaster relief; and mobilizing college students to serve in Generation Send,” Patton said.

With Phoenix set to host the Southern Baptist Convention in June, NAMB approved Patton’s request for the city, the sixth-largest in the nation, to have a Send Relief catalyst.

Patton asked Anthony Cox, NAMB church planter at Mercy Hill Church in downtown Phoenix, to serve as Send Relief catalyst.

“I asked Anthony to serve in this role because of his unique understanding of serving the most vulnerable,” he said. “He has shown a great ability to partner with others to see the underserved ministered to and to spread the good news of Jesus.”

Currently, Cox is working to identify what God is doing in the city through His churches and community ministries.

“[Send Relief is] coming alongside churches, sharing our human and financial resources and demonstrating the gospel,” he said. “Send Relief is attempting to be proactive … reaching people in need with practical help and the hope of the gospel. We’re missional because God is. We’re to demonstrate God’s love and care for His people, but we are also to proclaim our motivation behind it, which is the good news of Jesus.”

In addition, NAMB is donating cargo trailers to cities across the United States for use in conjunction with Send Relief.

Mitch McDonald, who oversees Arizona Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, and his wife, Mona, recently traveled to Georgia, home of NAMB, to move two trailers across the country to Long Beach, Calif., for shipping to Hawaii for its program. Another couple, Bob and Lori Palmer, members of Mountain Ridge Church, Glendale, also traveled east and brought back Arizona’s new trailer.

“The cargo trailers are eight-feet by 20-feet long,” McDonald said. “We are going to use ours around the state in ministry. For example, it could be used for delivering cold water to the homeless population in city parks this summer.”