New Wilmington Mission Conference

NWMC 2023

"be strong and courageous" ~COLOSSIANS 3:12

conference Speakers

Nana Yaw Offei Awuku

Keynote Speaker

Nana Yaw Offei Awuku serves as the Global Associate Director for Generations at the Lausanne Movement. In this role, he leads the Lausanne Younger Leaders Generation initiative (YLGen). He was previously the Lausanne regional director for English, Portuguese, and Spanish-speaking Africa (EPSA) for over five years until September 2016.

Nana was on staff with Scripture Union Ghana for over 20 years till 2017 and served on the senior management team as the director for field ministries. His primary ministry foci are evangelism, discipleship, and leadership development.

Nana is trained professionally as a chemical engineer and organization development consultant. He graduated from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (Massachusetts, US) with an MA in evangelism and world mission, and is currently a PhD candidate at Biola University. Nana is married to Beth, and they have three children: Christy-Joy, Eben-Joy, and Laura-Joy.

We are excited and honored to have him as our Keynote Speaker at NWMC 2023.

Keon Abner

Sunday Morning Preacher

Pastor Keon Abner grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. Exposed to the gospel at an early age, Keon surrendered his life to Jesus when he was 9 years old. From salvation on, Keon knew God called him to serve the local church. He met his wife Ashley while he was in high school and they became close friends. Their freshman year of college they served a local church’s youth ministry together and the rest is history. They were married in 2016 and now are proud parents of their daughters Kailyn (4) and Ashtyn (1). Keon and Ashley bring over 10 years of ministry experience.⁠

Keon serves as the Lead Pastor of Bridge City Church, a new church in the Clark-Fulton Neighborhood that opened its doors in September of 2021. This church was born out of a passion to see people of all ethnicities, genders and ages experience the life-changing power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. ⁠


Plenary Speaker & young adult Speaker

Prashan De Visser is the Founder and President of Sri Lanka Unites, a youth movement for hope and reconciliation in Sri Lanka. He is also the Founder and President of Global Unites, an international youth movement for transforming conflict, with established and emerging movements in 13 countries worldwide. These movements collectively engage nearly half a million youth across the world each year. Recently Sri Lanka Unites was named one of the Top 20 youth movements of the Commonwealth region and one of the Top 8 Youth movement models to follow. Prashan was the recipient of the Queen’s ‘Points of Light’ award in 2018 , awarded by Her Majesty the Queen of England for his exemplary voluntary service to his nation through his work at Sri Lanka Unites and Global Unites

Prashan completed his MA at the University of Notre Dame in Peace Studies and Public Policy. He was selected as a TEDx speaker at UND and has been featured on NBC, BBC and Al Jazeera for his innovative peacebuilding approach.

Prashan is an international speaker and trainer in conflict transformation and proactive youth leadership. He has spoken at international youth conferences in Kenya, Pakistan, India, Australia, Uganda, Rwanda, DRC , Malaysia , Indonesia, Canada , UK and USA. He is also the author of the book “The Phoenix Generation”, on the role of youth bring about transformative change.

Prashan is a visiting lecturer at Crozer Colgate Seminary, (the alma mater of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King) where he teaches the PhD course on the Theory and Practice of Peace building. He was appointed as a Justice of Peace in the Negambo division of the Western Province in Sri Lanka. He was one of the youngest recipients for this civilian honor. 


Charles e. George


Charles E. George – Soon after graduating from Bible Training in Johannesburg, Pastor Charles and his wife Delecia sensed a call to care for the poor in Delft, one of the most notorious slums of Cape Town, South Africa where they have lived and served for 30 years. 

Charles and Delecia founded Home of Compassion Ministries with a holistic vision to empower and free the community of the oppression of poverty, unemployment and hopelessness by training people and developing job opportunities programs so they in turn can bring about change in their deprived community. The non-profit ministry is involved daily with living out the love of Christ by addressing hunger, child abuse, substance abuse, crime, youth involvement in gangs, and medical needs. 

We are honored to welcome South Africa’s Charles and Delecia George for their first time in the United States and as one of the Adult Speakers at NWMC..

Jonathan Hobbs

Plenary speaker & Middle and High School Speaker

Jonathan Hobbs has worked in professional ministry for over 20 years, including churches in New Jersey, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania, and now teaches at Eastern University where he leads the Youth Ministry programs and serves as the “Lecturer in Youth Ministry”. 

Jonathan has spoken for multiple camps and retreats around the country, and has also been the occasional worship leader. He took karate in high school because he thought it would help make him cool. He was wrong. Jonathan and his wife Carolyn have two beautiful daughters, Kaylin and Julia. They live just outside of Philadelphia, PA. He loves golf… a lot… (kind of obsessed really). 

Jonathan can skillfully juggle two balls and does a halfway decent impression of Kermit the Frog. He’s also a big fan of the Oxford Comma.

Paul and Grace Kurtz

Adult 2 Speakers

Paul and Grace Kurtz are the founders of Hemisphere Coffee Roasters, which they launched 19 years ago with a mission to transform coffee communities through business. Paul is a certified Q Grader and frequently visits coffee-growing countries to personalize these relationships and ensure the best coffee ends up in your cup. Through their efforts, they have seen lives transformed, communities lifted out of poverty, pastors funded, debts paid in full, and relationships of mutual trust and respect established. Not bad for a cup of coffee!

Francesca Nuzzolese

Conference Pastor

Rev. Dr. Francesca Nuzzolese is a pastoral theologian and care practitioner, who fulfills her calling by engaging the academy, the Church, and the needs of the world. She has held tenured teaching positions at Palmer Theological Seminary and Eastern University in PA; at Melbourne School of Divinity in Australia, and most recently at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio, where she also served as the Director for the Master of Counseling Ministries. Her main teaching areas are pastoral theology, spiritual formation, pastoral care and counseling, and trauma care. She holds a private practice as a psychotherapist and spiritual director, while continuing to teach and consult with NGOs worldwide.

For the past few years, she has been a committed contributor to our conference in the roles of Adult Speaker (2019), Keynote Speaker (2020), Soul Circle Facilitator (2021-2022), and  Conference Pastor (2022). She returns this year again as our Conference Pastor.

Gina Zurlo

Plenary Speaker

Gina A. Zurlo holds a Ph.D. in History and Hermeneutics from Boston University School of Theology (2017). She is the Co-Director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (South Hamilton, MA) and Visiting Research Fellow at Boston University’s Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs. 

Gina is the co-author of the World Christian Encyclopedia, 3rd edition (Edinburgh University Press, 2019) and co-editor of the World Christian Database (Brill). She has recently authored three books: Global Christianity: A Guide to the World’s Largest Religion from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe (Zondervan, 2022);Women in World Christianity: Building and Sustaining a Global Movement (Wiley-Blackwell, 2023); and From Nairobi to the World: David B. Barrett and the Re-Imagining of World Christianity (Brill, 2023).

She was named one of the BBC’s 100 most inspiring and influential women of 2019 for her work in quantifying religion worldwide.