With Harvey still pouring rain over Texas, it’s hard to say how great the devastation will be—or how soon before residents get a break. But one thing’s for sure—the damage is widespread and overwhelming, affecting some of the state’s most popular cities.
To put things in perspective—Houston gets an average of about 50 inches of rainfall a year. In the past two days alone, 25 inches of rain dumped on the city. With more rain expected and evacuations still taking place, anxiety has set in for many.
“People are shocked. They’re full of fear,” said Jack Munday, international director of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (RRT). “They’re concerned whether or not they’ll have a home to move back into. In some cases, they’ve left medications behind. In some cases, they’ve had to leave pets behind.
“This is a terrible, terrible situation for people to have to live with.”
Hoping to offer those affected some comfort, RRT chaplains arrived in Texas over the weekend to provide emotional and spiritual care. Monday, the team of crisis-trained chaplains spent time ministering to homeowners at a food and supplies distribution center in Victoria, Texas.
“So many times, people start asking the ‘God questions,'” Munday explained. “We don’t pretend to know all the answers, but we know Who does.
“When we talk to people, it makes no difference who they are or their religious background,” he continued. “They still need to know that God loves them, and that’s our mission in a time like this: to help bring them comfort.”
The ministry is assessing five other areas to send chaplains, working alongside Samaritan’s Purse. More than 250 chaplains are on standby (many of them retired military or first responders) to continue to minister once other safe areas are identified.
Munday assured his team is “in this for the long haul.”
“We’re there to provide that emotional and spiritual care, to encourage them, to support them and help them any way we can,” he said. “This is a time of incredible tragedy, and for many, this could be the darkest hour of their life.
“… You can replace the home. You can replace the furniture,” Munday added, but only God can change the heart.
As the RRT has seen while deploying in similar events, many people are in need well before tragedy strikes.
“There are a lot of lonely people. And our records would tell us that 80 percent of the people we’ve talked to following a disaster such as this already had a personal disaster in their lives,” Munday explained.
“All around us, there are people who are suffering, and it’s welcome [from those affected] to know that people care.”
Please continue to pray for those affected by the wrath of Hurricane Harvey as well as for Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains in the area.
Do you have ‘God questions’ in a time of crisis? Find answers here.
The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team is an international ministry of crisis-trained chaplains ready to deploy at a moment’s notice to natural and man-made disasters. Since its inception in the wake of 9/11, hundreds of chaplains have had the honor of praying with hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, all in the Name of Jesus.