A Listening Ear, A Warm Embrace: Chaplains Minister in Wake of Devastating Tornadoes

By Todd Sumlin   •   January 16, 2020

Crisis-trained chaplains with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team are ministering in DeSoto County, Mississippi, after devastating tornadoes tore through the area on Saturday, January 11.
The 100-plus mph tornadoes lifted roofs and tossed trees aside, initially knocking out power for many across the Mid-South region.
Chaplains are encountering folks throughout DeSoto County eager to share their stories and some want to spend time in prayer. Chaplain Richard Sherman prayed with a convenience store clerk in Hernando.
Before heading out into the field, the group of chaplains serving in this region ask God for wisdom and direction.
Jamie Jones holds a water-soaked Bible found in the rubble of his neighbor's damaged home following a tornado in Hernando.
Sherman prays with the Jones family at their home in Hernando hours after the storm hit. From left, Sherman, Jamie Jones, Angela Jones and their son Tre'.
One way residents find healing is by sharing their stories, and the chaplains are honored to listen and learn more.
Chaplains pray with Anthony McMurray where his home once stood. The Olive Branch, Mississippi, resident said the Lord told him to seek shelter across the street just before an EF-2 tornado lifted his home off its foundation.
DeSoto County is a tight-knit area where neighbors were checking on one another in the aftermath of the storm.
Flooding continues to be an issue in some areas of Mississippi, while other residents are able to begin the often heartbreaking task of cleaning up and starting anew.
The storm left behind a path of wreckage that’s difficult for longtime residents to grasp.
“Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always,” the Bible declares in 1 Chronicles 16:11.
The chaplains are offering emotional and spiritual care alongside Samaritan's Purse.
The days following a natural disaster sometimes bring more questions than answers, and in some cases chaplains are able to connect residents with the right resources.
In other cases, residents will ask for a time of prayer. Some even want to hear more about God's love for them.
A smiling face and a bottle of water can give people hope in seemingly hopeless situations.
God's Word promises, "The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit" (Psalm 34:18).
The days ahead will continue to bring a mix of emotions and new discoveries. Would you please join us in keeping this community covered in prayer during this time?