Chaplains Minister in Iowa Amid ‘Catastrophic’ Devastation

By Todd Sumlin   •   August 18, 2020

The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (RRT) expanded their deployment from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to a second location in Tama, about 60 miles west, due to derecho storms that raged through the Midwest on August 10.
On a 700-mile path, this massive storm system brought straight-line winds that exceeded 100 mph in some areas. Three people were killed in Iowa and another person lost their life in Indiana. Dozens more were injured.
With more than 800 buildings damaged in Cedar Rapids alone, there's a significant amount of need from the storm. Consequently, Billy Graham chaplains are offering emotional and spiritual care to affected communities.
The crisis-trained chaplains are available to whomever in the community may need a listening ear or someone to pray with them. Here, they serve beside the Mobile Ministry Center, a vehicle that's used as a safe haven for conversations with those in crises.
Chaplains also stop by residents' homes that are being repaired by Samaritan's Purse. "How are you holding up?" they often ask to start conversation.
One prayer can make a world of difference.
According to news reports, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said approximately 10 million acres—about a third of the state's crops—were damaged by the hurricane-force windstorms.
Multiple people were trapped in cars and buildings during the storm.
Being careful amid COVID-19, chaplains pull up lawn chairs outside and stay masked during talks with community members.
Chaplain Bruce Button takes time to get to know a couple of locals.
In spite of tremendous loss and destruction, chaplains are sharing that there’s hope through Jesus Christ and have seen some people choose to follow Him. Here, they share Scripture from a Billy Graham Training Bible.
“The extent of the damage and destruction from the derecho in Iowa ... is catastrophic," said RRT assistant director Josh Holland. "Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to the people of Iowa.”