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A Nashville-based research group found that the Bible Belt is still fertile ground for church planting. Of the 800-plus new churches surveyed by the organization for a 2015 survey, nearly half of them were founded in the South.

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I have good news for all of you. Most of you, that is. I’m not dead. Apparently, a few of my readers thought, as evidenced by the voicemail I received this past week, that I was singing in the celestial choir.

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Congregation Dor Tikvah started in 2012 as a small group of Orthodox Jewish worshipers determined to spend the Sabbath in West Ashley, where most of them lived. They met at the Jewish Community Center, and sometimes at a private home.

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Last month, my wife, Becky, and I were moving into our new home in Auburn, Calif., when her sister, Melissa, stopped by to help us unpack. A few hours into the job, Becky put down her boxes and started making sandwiches for us.

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Last winter, my wife and I went to Honduras for three months to help our daughter in a small, grassroots nonprofit called the Chispa Project. One night as we left a restaurant, a man followed us to our car. “Por favor,” he said, handing my daughter a note. “PLEASE, can you help me get to America?” the note said. It was signed with a name and phone number. Do you ever wonder what makes them take the risk?

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Rural Mission, the faith-based charity located on Johns Island that rehabilitates homes for low-income residents and works with migrant farmers, now is scrambling to rebuild its operation before the 49-year-old nonprofit is forced to close its doors.