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TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. — This barrier island off Savannah’s coast is billed as the place where time stands still. It’s a place where families walk barefoot in the sand, where palm branches sway in ocean breezes,  where children delight in an abundance of seashells. David Laughner arrived here to serve as pastor of Chapel by the Sea Baptist Church more than 30 years ago and never left. He ministers in an ocean paradise.

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. — Volunteers and Georgia Baptist Mission Board staff members gathered Monday at Lawrenceville First Baptist Church to fill backpacks with school supplies that will be distributed to local foster families. The initiative was organized through Mission Georgia, a Georgia Baptist outreach that provides gospel-centered care to the state's most vulnerable residents.

ATLANTA — Leading campus ministry at Georgia State University for the past 40 years has been a joy to Teresa Royall, an energetic lady described by her students as a living example of what it means to give your all for the Lord. Royall has led co-eds on mission trips around the globe, giving them their first glimpses of life in Third World countries. She has counseled countless students, led a never-ending number of Bible studies, cooked meals, wiped tears, and slept on floors with never a complaint.

ATLANTA, Ga. — Mary Gellerstedt is a living example of what it means to press forward with steadfastness in Christ. Her heart, her eyes, her mind are riveted on the Savior. It has been this focus that has given her the strength and desire to press forward in untiring service at First Baptist Church Atlanta for almost eight decades.

NEW ORLEANS — Bob Richardson needed more time. The southeast Georgia pastor was on his way to the airport after the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting in New Orleans and had roughly five minutes to fulfill a promise he had made to a young lady at church to visit her grandparents while he was in Louisiana in hopes of introducing them to Christ. Five minutes just wouldn’t be enough time for such an important mission.

KENNESAW, Ga. — Hundreds of visitors and Civil War reenactors braved the heat of summer’s first weekend to mark the 159th anniversary of the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain. Union and Confederate troops fought at the site on June 27, 1864, resulting in a tactical victory for the South under Gen. Joseph E. Johnston.

CHATSWORTH, Ga. — With horse-drawn wagons full of farm implements and other necessities, settlers began arriving on former Cherokee lands along Holly Creek in northwest Georgia in the mid-1800s, establishing homesteads and, later, a church that will celebrate its 175th anniversary in mid-July. Holly Creek Baptist Church, which began with a handful of families meeting in a one-room log structure, survived meager early years to become a major player in the spread of the gospel in this part of Georgia.

CLARKSTON, Ga. — Georgia Baptists are taking the gospel to the state’s rapidly growing refugee population one backpack at a time. In fact, backpacks have become crucial evangelistic tools in Georgia, a state that’s home to more than 1 million people who were born in other countries — often in places that are hostile to the gospel.

CANTON, Ga. — Volunteers gathered Saturday at Georgia National Cemetery in Canton, Ga., to place flags on the graves of veterans for the Memorial Day holiday. Following a brief ceremony that included a 21-gun-salute, the playing of "Taps" and a benediction, volunteers spread across the cemetery in the rolling Georgia hills to decorate the markers.

McDONOUGH, Ga. — An academically and athletically gifted senior class at Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy has amassed more than $50 million in college scholarship offers this year, an astounding total for any school but especially one with only 81 students graduating. Class co-salutatorian Melanie Collier praised her classmates for being a “special class filled with special people.” “Something about our class is different,” Collier told her classmates in a speech during graduation exercises on Friday.

CARTERSVILLE, Ga. – Lottie Moon was in a worship service at what’s now First Baptist Church when she heard God's call her to missions, prompting her to leave Cartersville for China 150 years ago. The 4-foot, 3-inch firebrand would go on to become a giant in the world of international missions, inspiring countless Southern Baptists throughout the generations to take the gospel to the nations while at the same time anchoring this Georgia community’s commitment to global missions.

WEST POINT, Ga. – Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers don’t receive pay for the work they do, unless they count the smiles, thank yous and hugs. “We get our necks hugged a lot,” said Ronnie Register, a retiree from First Baptist Church in Sparks, Ga. who, along with his wife, Linda, has responded to disasters across the country. “The people we help are so overwhelmingly appreciative.”

WEST POINT, Ga. – A week after a tornado demolished an entire neighborhood around Bethel Baptist Church, Pastor Chris Hendricks stood among the ruins on Sunday and declared that “our God has delivered us.” Members of the congregation gathered beneath a tent on the Bethel parking lot for Sunday worship, a brilliant sun beaming down on the twisted lumber that used to be their church building.

SUWANEE, Ga. – Pastors are feeling increasingly dissatisfied with their jobs and more than 40 percent have considered leaving the ministry in the past 12 months. That’s according to data released this week by the Barna Group, a research organization that monitors trends related to values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. 

CUMMING, Ga. – In a nation where senior citizens make up the fastest growing segment of the population, Ricky Thrasher offers an important reminder to church leaders: “The soul never wrinkles.” Thrasher, head of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board’s chaplaincy program, is offering strategies to help church leaders reach the 56 million people 65 and older whose bodies may be giving out but whose souls will live forever.

CORDELE, Ga. – Pastor Terry Ryan is crediting the Lord with putting out one fire and starting another at Penia Baptist Church in a sparsely populated community outside Cordele, a farming town that bills itself as the watermelon capital of the world. One fire was started by an unattended candle, the other, a revival fire, by a move of God that has doubled the size of the congregation and fueled a major increase in baptisms.

JONESBORO, Ga. – Debbie Verrelli is among an army of Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers who help survivors reclaim their lives and restore their homes after tornadoes touch down. It’s one of the ways the 33-year-old Jonesboro woman serves the Lord who delivered her from a life of drugs, witchcraft, and satanism.

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