Billy Graham Chaplains See New Yorkers Turn to God During COVID-19

By   •   May 6, 2020

Since late March, the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team has been offering emotional and spiritual care to the community of New York City, a hotspot of the coronavirus. The chaplains often shared with New Yorkers the hope that can only be found in Jesus Christ—and some have chosen to follow Him. Here, a chaplain explains a Bible passage to a woman who's interested in hearing more about God. >> Want to know more about Jesus? Learn how to have a relationship with Him.
Stationed in Central Park's East Meadow, the crisis-trained chaplains have been working alongside Samaritan's Purse, which set up a 68-bed emergency field hospital for those fighting COVID-19.
While Samaritan's Purse medical staff worked inside the hospital tents, Billy Graham chaplains offered prayer to those both inside and outside. "If someone passes away, they will not die alone," Franklin Graham, president of both the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) and Samaritan's Purse, said. "Our chaplains will be there to pray for them, to pray with the families."  >> Would you like someone to pray with you? Call the 24/7 BGEA Prayer Line at 888-388-2683.
First responders have played a key role in helping with the pandemic. Many chaplains have backgrounds in law enforcement and can relate to their great sacrifice—and when officers have had questions about the Bible, they've been privileged to answer.
With more than 43,000 coronavirus hospitalizations in New York City, nurses and medical staff have been working around the clock. "How are you holding up?" is a question that chaplains often ask those in the midst of crisis—whether a natural or manmade disaster, or in this case, a pandemic.
While chaplains have been serving New Yorkers, others have been ministering at a Samaritan's Purse field hospital in hard-hit northern Italy. In the midst of these two deployments, more chaplains deployed to five states due to catastrophic tornadoes that killed over 40 people.
"My husband and I are deployed to help our city," said Yvonne Denmark (not pictured). "In 9/11 it was very quiet, very fearful. This is a little different, a different type of fear. Jesus never shied away from the storms that came. We as Christians shouldn't shy away from these storms."
The Rapid Response Team was created in the aftermath of 9/11, so returning here spawned an even greater desire for chaplains to see this city of 8 million people come to know Jesus. "My prayer and my hope is that many will come to know Him as personal Savior," Yvonne Denmark said.
"Neighbors are curious. Curiosity on the street is magnificent, people want to know what it is, what is going on," said chaplain Charlie Clark (not pictured). "We've been able to share with them that Jesus brings a peace to us that we can't explain. The possibility of what God can do through this is mighty."
Franklin Graham recently posted on Facebook: "We celebrated a milestone in New York—the last COVID-19 patient was discharged from the Samaritan's Purse field hospital in Central Park. While in New York this last month, we have had the opportunity to treat over 300 patients. We gave them world-class medical care and showed them God's love and compassion. We want each one to know the hope that we have in Jesus Christ. ... We also want to say thank you to all in the community who came out and helped, those who brought food and other items for the staff, and those who came by just to share their encouragement and prayers. You will never fully know what this meant to our team. Our gratitude also to the law enforcement and others that were such a big help in making this work. Thank you, New York!"