Billy Graham Chaplains Offer Prayer, Comfort to Shaken Floridians

By   •   October 5, 2022

After Hurricane Ian slammed into Florida's southwest coast on September 28, the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (BG-RRT) deployed 28 chaplains alongside Samaritan's Purse to Englewood, Ft. Myers, and Punta Gorda to offer emotional and spiritual care to residents whose lives are in turmoil.
The Category 4 storm killed 102 Floridians, and thousands were rescued in southwest and central Florida, according to news reports. Ian came ashore near Cayo Costa, Florida, a barrier island west of Ft. Myers, tying the record for the fifth-strongest hurricane to hit the U.S.
Billy Graham chaplains are offering a listening ear to locals, taking time to hear their stories. While many residents evacuated, others stayed during the excruciating storm.
Often, the most powerful moments of ministry are in the most unlikely places—in a garage, amid piles of rubble in the yard, or in the streets.
At the start of each day, the BG-RRT prays with its sister ministry Samaritan's Purse, which organizes volunteers to repair homes after disasters.
Thousands of homes were completely destroyed or damaged in the storm.
As cleanup continues, a man pauses to pray with Billy Graham chaplains.
Englewood has many residents who had to confront the storm head-on. "You're just staring death in the face," said Carla Smith, a resident who retired to the area four years ago. To protect her three small dogs during Ian, she created a "nest" of sorts in her walk-in closet. The storm reminded her of the importance of prayer and her relationship with God. Carla believes she survived for a reason.
Hurricane Ian's storm surge was 8 to 15 feet in some regions, sending water into the second story of homes.
One Englewood resident was touched, looking heavenward after BG-RRT chaplains presented her and two others with a leather-bound Billy Graham Training Center Bible.
Billy Graham chaplains are comforting residents and—when residents are open to it—sharing about Jesus Christ. Here, a local woman holds a Gospel tract as she hugs a chaplain.
These tracts are called "Steps to Peace With God" and are full of Scripture that clearly depicts God's love for mankind.
Josh Holland, international director of the BG-RRT (middle), called the hurricane a “tragic, catastrophic situation,” as many Floridians are anxious about losing loved ones and property.
Please continue to pray for Floridians as they recover and for chaplains as they minister in the coming weeks.