Kempton Turner grew up in gang- and crack-infested neighborhoods in East St. Louis. Destined to follow his parents’ lifestyle of addiction, during a wild and wanton trip to New Orleans’ Mardi Gras, Kempton was approached by a couple who shared the life-changing gospel with him. At that moment, “The Lord revealed himself to me,” Turner said, sending the young man on an unshakable pursuit of his faith.
Now as North American Mission Board church planters, he and his wife, Caryn, are planting their lives on the same East St. Louis streets. Through the City of Joy church, the Turners and their five children are making inroads for Christ by helping neighbors rehab homes and learn job skills, bringing hope to the devastated community with little hope.
The Turners, featured missionaries in the 2018 Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American missions, shared their story as part of the National Woman’s Missionary Union Annual Meeting and Missions Celebration in Dallas June 10-11. The two-day conference also featured breakout sessions, a refugee simulation experience, and encouragement from National WMU President Linda Cooper and WMU Executive Director-Treasurer Sandy Wisdom-Martin, a former director of Illinois WMU.
During the Monday evening missions celebration, several hundred in attendance prayed for missionaries—many dressed in traditional clothing representative of their mission fields; gave offerings to support the mission work; and grieved over the 2.8 billion people in the world who have never heard the name of Christ.
David Platt, president of the International Mission Board, spoke to the group, recounting a recent trip to the Amazon River region where stories about a man named Jesus, the one true God, convicted many in the villages.
“God is seeking and saving the lost, and this gospel has the power to change lives,” Platt said. “May we be a people of unshakeable pursuit.”
David Melber, president of the North American Mission Board’s Send Relief outreach, shared how NAMB is focusing on areas of poverty, refugees and internationals, foster care and adoption, human trafficking and disaster response. He told of the work of ministry centers in Clarkston, Ga., Appalachia, and coming centers in Puerto Rico, Las Vegas, and New York.
Speaking on behalf of thousands of missionaries across North America, NAMB President Kevin Ezell thanked WMU leaders for their prayer and support. “You are helping us mobilize churches to meet desperate needs in poverty in North America, helping others see the needs of those caught in human trafficking, boys and girls in foster homes.”
Kempton Turner echoed Ezell, “Thank God for NAMB, the Send network, and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. Without gifts from the offering, we would not survive.”
– Baptist Press