After Deadly Tragedy in Las Vegas, Chaplains Respond to Those Grieving

By   •   October 5, 2017

From the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas, a gunman rained down rapid gunfire on nearby concertgoers Sunday, Oct. 1, leaving 59 people dead and over 500 injured. It's the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. Chaplains with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team are there, offering comfort to locals, first responders, witnesses and victims' families.
Chaplains deployed to Las Vegas are onsite to listen to, pray with and simply be present with those who are coping in the aftermath. “It doesn’t dismiss the pain and it doesn’t answer all the questions, but it does bring comfort and hope in someone’s life after they experience great loss," said the Rapid Response Team's International Director Jack Munday. "And people need to know that God loves them and desires to be with them in such a time as this.”
Memorial set up on the ground
Franklin Graham called the shooting a "brutal massacre." Monday morning, as the news broke, he appealed to others to unite in prayer: "Please join me in praying for the families of those killed and for all the injured," he wrote on Facebook. A makeshift memorial has been set up with candles, notes, flowers and Bibles left in the victims' memory.
A chaplain shows one man a small booklet that explains how to be at peace with God, even in times like this.
At night, many have taken a moment to pray, reflect and remember those who lost their lives.
Chaplains are trained to respond to a crisis at a moment's notice, knowing the immediate aftereffects leave people angry, confused, feeling helpless and deeply hurt.
Sign at hotel saying, "Our prayers for the victims. Our gratitude for the brave first responders."
The shooter, Stephen Paddock, was staying at Mandalay Bay hotel where he carried out the murder of 59 people. Pray not only for the families of victims, but for Paddock's family as well as they work through the tragedy.
The power of being there for others in their greatest time of need can't be underestimated.
Lighting candles at a memorial near the site of the shooting.
Chaplains pray with a couple of people passing by with their dogs.
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." —Psalm 46:1
Las Vegas is a huge destination for tourists who are as shocked by Sunday's events as the locals.