A resident of Bellevue—one of the suburbs hardest hit by historic flooding in Nashville—Hatcher and his family were watching when the Harpeth River raged over its banks.
Water crept up their driveway and into the garage, finally washing out the first floor of the house.
Dan evacuated his wife and three children, then went back to the house with a friend. Inches of water quickly turned into feet until it finally drove Dan and his friend out the front door, where a neighbor pulled up in a boat to rescue them. “Get in!” the neighbor said. “Right now!”
The Hatchers are among the many families being ministered to by the combined efforts of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team.
Samaritan’s Purse has set up two Disaster Relief Units in the Nashville area. Crews specialize in cleaning out mud-soaked houses so that they can be repaired. Then, chaplains from the Rapid Response Team come alongside homeowners, offering them comfort and hope through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Keith Stiles, the RRT deployment manager, describes the pain flooding typically brings, and how chaplains are helping: “The flood waters are so contaminated that you cannot salvage anything that’s been immersed; you really have to throw it away. With that, it creates a crisis because these are things people have gathered, or cherished, or had their entire lives, or the items may be keepsakes from their parents.
“When we take a load of trash to the curb,” says Stiles, “we are taking people’s lives to the curb.”
The RRT chaplains share the hope and love of Jesus Christ, and try to share an eternal perspective. “We hope that we can get them connected or perhaps reconnected to God,” says Stiles, “and understand that things of this world are of this world. But what Jesus offers is eternal grace and sufficiency.”
Some families, like the Hatchers, already know Christ, but need to be reminded of His grace and goodness during a disaster.
“We are firm believers in Christ,” Dan said. “We are being purified in the Refiner’s fire right now, but we’re going to get through, stronger and with a deeper faith in Christ.”
SUPPORT THE RAPID RESPONSE TEAM
We cannot send chaplains to disaster deployments without your gift. Please help us bring the hope of Christ to suffering people. Give online today.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Nashville, and especially with those who have lost loved ones in this tragic storm,” said Jack Munday, director of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team. “At times like this, the survivors of the storm need hope and love, and need to know that they are not forgotten.”
Dan Hatcher’s story and photo courtesy of Samaritan’s Purse