Send Relief’s 2023 centered on responding to crisis around the world, equipping believers for compassion ministry


ALPHARETTA, Ga. – Ongoing wars, earthquakes and other natural disasters captured international attention in 2023, and Send Relief, the compassion ministry arm of Southern Baptists cooperatively shared by the International Mission Board and North American Mission Board, dedicated itself to the task of meeting needs for the sake of seeing lives changed through the power of the gospel.

“Reflecting on this past year, we saw examples of what Jesus described as the birth pangs that would precede his Second Coming—wars, earthquakes, famines. Yet through all of it, Send Relief has sought to be the hands and feet of Christ to bring help and hope to the hurting,” said Send Relief president Bryant Wright. “Churches have sent people and resources around the world to meet physical needs and proclaim the gospel during people’s most difficult trials. We at Send Relief are blessed to be a part of Christ’s mission to the world and are grateful for the opportunity to continue the work through the support of believers around the world.”

The surprise terrorist attack Hamas launched on civilians in Israel on October 7 dominated world attention in the weeks and months since, and Send Relief has been working with believers in the region to bring hope and healing in the midst of war by providing bomb shelters for Israelis and resources for those who have been displaced since the war began.

February marked one year since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and as the war continued raging, Send Relief provided support for those who had been displaced by the fighting as partners in the surrounding nations ministered to refugees.

Two major earthquakes, the first in Turkey-Syria and the second in Morocco, spurred Send Relief international partners to begin meeting needs as tens of thousands of people were impacted. Nearly 60,000 people died following the February 6 quake that devastated Turkey and Syria. Nearly 3,000 perished in the September 8 earthquake in Morocco. Send Relief’s long-term response through local partners will continue to help survivors rebuild.

A tragic wildfire in Maui claimed the lives of 100 people and nearly destroyed the town of Lahaina. Send Relief worked with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, the Hawaii Pacific Baptist Convention and local churches to support survivors as they sought to move forward after many of them lost everything.

This year has brought a number of tornadoes throughout the United States, and Send Relief supported the efforts of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers as they removed debris and fed survivors.

In total, SBDR volunteers prepared more than one million meals, served more than 630,000 volunteer work hours and shared the gospel more than 32,000 times in the aftermath of natural disasters and other crises.

Hurricane Idalia caused major flooding along the Florida coastline before severe wind damaged communities in Georgia and the Carolinas as the storm swept across the Southeast, and Send Relief provided supplies and resources to Disaster Relief volunteer teams in their efforts to help repair the damage done to people’s homes.

Beyond crisis response, Send Relief also hosted eight Send Relief Serve Tour stops in the U.S. and around the world, with international stops taking place in Thailand, Nairobi and Greece. Volunteers served more than 14,000 people internationally through various projects and shared the gospel nearly 8,000 times.

Send Relief partnered with Southern Baptist state conventions, local associations and churches to engage their communities in Montgomery, Ala., Owensboro, Ky., New Orleans, Chicago and Philadelphia. These state-side Send Relief Serve Tour events incorporated 3,500 volunteers who served nearly 19,000 people through various projects that took place over the span of one or two days. Participants shared the gospel more than 4,400 times through the events.

As part of its mission to equip churches to share the gospel through compassion ministry, Send Relief hosted a breakfast during the SBC’s Annual Meeting designed to help churches engage in adoption and foster care.

Send Relief also hosted the Diaspora Missions Collective for a “Reaching the Nations” event, which brought together various ethnic and other missions leaders to discuss how best to minister to people groups who have been displaced by war, natural disasters or famine.

In order to provide free training from experienced practitioners, Send Relief also produced a number of video courses created to help churches meet tangible needs in their communities so that they might open doors for gospel proclamation and transformation.