In response to an outbreak of tornadoes over the past few days, the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team is deploying to some of the hardest hit areas, with teams responding in Arkansas, Mississippi and Kansas.
“Lives have been turned upside down,” said Jack Munday, director of the BGEA Rapid Response Team. “They’re in shock and that impales people in all areas of their life—physically, emotionally and spiritually.”
Dozens of fatalities have already been reported, with Arkansas experiencing 15 deaths, as a half-mile wide tornado tore through Sunday night, leaving a 30-mile trail of destruction.
Experienced, crisis-trained chaplain teams will be ministering in nearby Mayflower, Ark., as well as Louisville, Miss., and Baxter Springs, Kan.
“The results of shock sometimes is confusion,” Munday said, “and the inability to bounce back without the assistance and support of a community who can show hope in the midst of their despair.”
And that’s why the Rapid Response Team was formed in the aftermath of 9/11—to help people work through the emotional grief and spiritual questions that happen when total chaos intervenes.
The BGEA has formed a network of chaplains from 48 states, always on standby, to deploy and help provide the emotional and spiritual support needed in times of crisis. Chaplains have deployed to more than 175 disasters.
“Our response is to supply crisis-trained chaplains with extensive experience working with first responders and residents in the community,” Munday said.
The chaplains will meet with emergency management and work alongside Samaritan’s Purse to help communities rebuild, both physically and spiritually in the coming weeks.
“It’s like it says in Hebrews 11:1, ‘Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,’” Munday said. “As the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, we believe the only way to find hope and peace is through Jesus Christ. Without hope, there’s despair.
“But when people experience the reality of Christ in their life, it makes all the difference. It doesn’t take the tears away. It doesn’t take the sting away. But it turns despair into hope. This isn’t the end.”