Crisis-Trained Chaplains Sharing Love of Christ with Grieving Alabama Community

By   •   March 5, 2019

Crisis-trained chaplains with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (RRT) are listening, talking and praying with people after a fatal F4 tornado ripped through Lee County, Alabama, on March 3. The county sits roughly 90 minutes southwest of Atlanta, Georgia.
RRT chaplains prayed over memorial crosses in honor of the 23 people in Lee County, Alabama, who perished as a result of the tornado. Give to help chaplains minister after tragedies happen.
Chaplains helped the close-knit community carry and place the crosses. Afterward, community members helped them arrange the crosses so families who passed in the storm were grouped together.
Six tornadoes ripped through Alabama March 3, according to news reports.
With winds of 170 miles per hour, the Lee County tornado's deadly path reportedly stretched 70 miles long and a mile wide. Officials believe this is the deadliest tornado since 2013 when an F5 killed 24 people in Moore, Oklahoma.
“Our hearts go out to those in the path of tornadoes that touched down in Alabama and Georgia," Franklin Graham shared on Twitter. "Pray for the families who have lost loved ones & pray for first responders & those involved in search & rescue” (Associated Press photo).
The RRT is visiting local residents and area churches to offer emotional and spiritual care alongside Samaritan's Purse. Here, they pray with a local county official after the names of those lost in the storm were announced. Read more about the ministry happening in Lee County.
Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains share God's love through prayer, Scripture and an encouraging word. Edward Graham (right) is also ministering in Lee County with Samaritan's Purse.
A woman stands in front of debris that used to be her home for 20 years. Although her family moved out three years ago and another family moved in, the place still holds many memories.
An American flag waves atop this Lee County, Alabama, mailbox. Until March 3, this driveway led to a state trooper's home.
Conversing with local residents just outside the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team's Mobile Ministry Center (MMC). The MMC was stationed at Providence Baptist Church, which served as a hub for donations after the storm.
Chaplain Patty Silverman paused to touch every cross, praying for the families of each person represented.
Shirley Hamby's face says it all. She turned 70 two days after the storm and is grateful God spared her.
Trained for crisis situations, chaplains sometimes simply offer a ministry of presence, listening to people's stories of what they've just gone through or have lost.
It is unknown how many people have been displaced by the storms, but please keep those without shelter in prayer. The Southeast experienced near-freezing temperatures in the days after the tornado outbreak tore through the region (Associated Press photo).
Crews work to restore power to homes in Smiths Station, Alabama. News outlets reported the storm caused more than 26,000 outages in the state alone, not counting thousands more in Georgia and Florida.
“Tornadoes are unique in that they will strike with very little notice, changing your whole world in a matter of minutes,” said Jack Munday, international director for the Rapid Response Team. “The trauma being experienced throughout this area—especially with the families who lost loved ones—is intense and heartbreaking. Our goal is to come alongside them, bringing the hope and comfort of Jesus.”
In times like this, faith in Jesus Christ helps you pull through and find hope in the midst of loss.
The Bible declares that God "heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds" (Psalm 147:3, ESV). Please join us in praying for this brokenhearted community, particularly the first responders, as they walk through this difficult time.