Billy Graham Chaplains Deploy to Devastated Bahamas

By   •   September 4, 2019

The Rapid Response Team has deployed to minister to those affected by Hurricane Dorian, the strongest storm to ever make landfall in the Bahamas. Here, a family is rescued in the midst of Hurricane Dorian's high winds and heavy rain in Freeport, Bahamas. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (RRT) has deployed to offer emotional and spiritual care to hurting residents in the Bahamas in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, the strongest storm to ever hit the islands.

The monstrous hurricane hit the Bahamas as a Category 5 on Sunday, and hovered over northwestern islands with strong winds and pouring rain for two days. At least 43 people died in the hurricane, and thousands of homes have been severely damaged or destroyed in what Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis called an “unprecedented” disaster.

“It’s a catastrophe of historic proportions,” RRT Assistant Director Josh Holland said from Billy Graham Evangelistic Association headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina. “The videos and images I’ve seen have just blown my mind. The water levels rising to the second floor of homes, the destruction of course, people have already lost their lives and more are missing. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of the Bahamas.”

>> Give now to support chaplains’ efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.

Dorian is moving dangerously up the East Coast while clearing out of the Bahamas enough for the RRT to set up base with Samaritan’s Purse on the island of Nassau. After flying in a DC-8 plane filled with supplies Wednesday morning, the organizations are working alongside church partners to determine the areas of greatest need. While crisis-trained chaplains are offering a listening ear and the hope of Jesus to survivors, Samaritan’s Purse is giving out emergency items, such as temporary shelter materials and household water filters.

For now, rescue operations remain underway in the hardest-hit areas of the Bahamas, and the United States is hunkering down with mandatory evacuations as Dorian slowly skirts up its coastline. In addition to the response in the Bahamas, the RRT is visiting evacuation shelters in Callahan, Florida, to offer peace and comfort to those being temporarily housed while the storm passes.

Hundreds of volunteers from the RRT’s 1,500-plus chaplain network are still on standby and ready to offer God’s love to those who may be affected by Dorian.

“The models vary, but as we track what Hurricane Dorian does, we can pray that it continues to move out to sea,” Holland said, extending his arm outward. “Just continue to pray for everybody in evacuation areas that are leaving their homes, worried about their property, that they would take necessary precautions to prepare and keep themselves safe.

“We’re prepared for the worst while praying for the best.”

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