Even After a Twister, ‘God Has Big Plans for Marshalltown, Iowa’

By   •   July 26, 2018

The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (RRT) is ministering in Marshalltown, Iowa, after a tornado raked through the area earlier this month, injuring at least 17 people.
A team of nine chaplains is on the ground offering emotional and spiritual care to those affected by the twister.
Jasmine was carrying everything she owned in a small duffel bag when she approached the chaplains, drawn by the name "Billy Graham" on their shirts. Homeless, she called it “God’s intervention” that she wandered into Marshalltown that day. After talking and praying with chaplains, she placed her faith in Christ. “I can’t wait, really,” said Jasmine about eternity with Jesus. “I don’t want to rush it, but I know that once that physical pain is gone, it’s going to be a whole new world.”
Many in the small, diverse community of 27,000 were greatly affected by the tornado. Hundreds faced damage to their homes, while thousands lost their jobs as two factories were destroyed.
Volunteers embrace after sharing the love of Christ. Although the area has a history of church division, the tragedy seems to be bringing unity, said chaplain coordinator Bob Poff.
Chaplains pray with a man by the Mobile Ministry Center, which is used as a safe haven to come and get away from the chaos of disaster.
Chaplain prays with a man
"Seek the Lord and His strength, seek His presence continually!" —1 Chronicles 16:11
The twister came with little warning, charging through the downtown area. Weather forecasts had only called for the possibility of strong thunderstorms.
Crisis-trained chaplains pray for the community alongside Samaritan's Purse volunteers. “They’re resilient,” Poff said about the community. “They went out and did a lot of work before Samaritan’s Purse got here."
“There’s a lot of hurt and heartache that goes along with these disasters,” said chaplain Brian Nagy. “And there’s opportunity to share hope in Jesus Christ despite what’s going on around us.”
A chaplain prays with community members. One gentleman told a chaplain that he had to see God to believe in Him. The chaplain responded, “Look right here. All the orange [Samaritan’s Purse] shirts around here have come because God loves you." Overhearing the conversation, a Samaritan’s Purse volunteer also shared with the gentleman how she was paralyzed from the waist down last year, but now she was healed and serving God. The gentleman later decided to give his life to Christ.
“If you were to die, do you know where you’d spend eternity?” Nagy asked Victor, a homeowner who was on the list for a kidney transplant. “I hope I’d know,” Victor responded. The chaplain explained that he could know for sure where he would spend eternity, sharing the Gospel with him. "Victor prayed to receive Christ and is a new creation today,” Nagy said. Although Victor had only needed help with moving some limbs and a blown-out garage door, God knew he needed work done to his heart.
“You can tell the spirit of the Lord is moving,” said Nagy, who’s heard church members mention they’ve been praying for revival. “I believe He has big plans for Marshalltown, Iowa."