Hurricane Michael: Billy Graham Rapid Response Team Ministering in Florida and Georgia

By   •   October 15, 2018

A longtime Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplain and retired first responder prays with a member of the Army National Guard. The Rapid Response Team is a network of hundreds of volunteer chaplains who live all over the country. They deploy at a moment's notice to natural disasters as well as mass shootings and terrorist attacks in the U.S. and around the world.
The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team's Mobile Ministry Center made its way from North Carolina to Florida, along with supplies and crisis-trained chaplains who are ready to serve in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. Help send chaplains into the disaster zone to minister to residents.
Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains (in blue shirts) comfort a woman who was affected by the storm.
Hurricane Michael made landfall on the Florida Panhandle as the most powerful storm to hit the U.S. in over 25 years and the third-strongest ever recorded, with 155 mph winds. Chaplains have deployed to Albany, Georgia, and Wewahitchka, Florida (just northeast of devastated Mexico Beach), to offer emotional and spiritual care to people who are suffering.
The storm was responsible for deaths in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia. As of Monday, several dozen people were still missing. Pray for the emergency workers who have the difficult task of searching for survivors, recovering bodies and communicating with devastated family members.
On Monday, several chaplains got a first look at the devastation on the Florida Panhandle. "It was worse than I thought," said chaplain Kater Zimke. "It's pretty hard to put into words."
Jack Munday, international director of the Rapid Response Team, said Hurricane Michael left "despair, broken dreams and suffering" in its wake. “Our desire is simply to be there for people as they begin the process of rebuilding their lives following this tragedy, encouraging them and offering God's hope and comfort.”
The long recovery process is just beginning for those who lost their homes and just about everything they own.
"I don't know what I'm going to do," Michael Williams said as he asked passing drivers for help after being stranded near his home.
A grandmother cries with her daughter and two young grandchildren at a shelter in Springfield, Florida, just outside Panama City. Pray for God, "the Father of mercies and God of all comfort" (2 Corinthians 1:3) to bring peace to those who are suffering.
The chaplains are known to be good listeners, often describing what they do as a "ministry of presence" for those who have just experienced trauma.
Many residents will find it difficult to pick up the pieces after this storm. Will you pray for the peace of Christ to comfort every person affected?
Chaplains spent time talking and praying with a pastor and his wife from Albany, Georgia, over the weekend. The couple huddled in a closet under the stairs as the hurricane barrelled through. Ten chaplains are staying in Albany to minister to residents there.
Clinton Moseley takes it all in as he looks at his devastated community and home. A huge tree crashed into the house where he lives with his mother, and water poured in. The home has been in the family for a century.
The Billy Graham chaplains are deploying alongside disaster relief ministry Samaritan's Purse. Both ministries work closely with local churches. Their goal is to meet needs and share the hope of Jesus Christ with people who may need a reminder that God loves them.
Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved." —Psalm 55:22 (NKJV)
Florida residents are facing lengthy power outages, sweltering heat and in some cases a lack of essential resources like food, water and diapers. Samaritan's Purse and the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team will work together and join with local churches to help meet physical, emotional and spiritual needs.
A chaplain unloads supplies after arriving in Wewahitchka, Florida, about 20 miles northeast of Mexico Beach.
Along with homes, businesses and roadways, many churches were hit hard by the hurricane.
Chaplains are always ready for "ministry on the way," often talking and praying with people they encounter on the road or at local restaurants and stores. Help send chaplains into the disaster zone to minister to people who are suffering.
RRT chaplains play an essential role in helping with spiritual needs that arise in times of crisis. You can help send chaplains by donating here or texting "Michael" to 24777 for a link to give.