Chaplains Ministering in Michigan After Historic Flooding

By   •   May 21, 2020

Rand Bowman, chaplain with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, helps take work orders for disaster-relief ministry Samaritan's Purse. Chaplains deployed to Midland County after historic flooding devastated the area.

Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains are ministering in Midland County, Michigan, after historic flooding, alongside disaster response ministry Samaritan’s Purse.

The flooding overtook two dams, submerged homes and washed out roads in the center of the state, displacing thousands. The Tittabawassee River crested at 35 feet on Wednesday, over 10 feet above flood level, according to local reports.

Muddy waters overwhelmed neighborhoods, particularly in the Sanford area where chaplain coordinators John McGuire and Rand Bowman ministered on Saturday. Additional chaplains will join McGuire and Bowman in the coming days. The RRT’s Mobile Ministry Center (MMC) left the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Friday. Upon arrival, it will be parked near the area as waters recede. The MMC is available as a hub for chaplains to gather and to talk and pray with anyone who may stop by

From where he stood on Saturday, McGuire said the once-paved street was covered in dirt.

“It’s real dusty, and people everywhere are trying to recover,” McGuire said. “The streets are closed where we can’t get into communities right now.”

The bulk of the immediate effort is centered upon pulling damaged items from houses. Finished basements must be torn out entirely. It’s a heartbreaking scene, but one the residents aren’t backing down from.

Kylie Yancer, 11, grabs a sweater from a neighboring porch as she helps her mother Melissa McCann and aunt Kendra Tucker, all of Sanford, Michigan, search through floodwaters. (Photo: Jake May/ Flint Journal via AP)

“Many people are wearing Sanford Strong t-shirts and are out assisting others so there is a strong and positive spirit of neighbor helping neighbor,” said Bowman, a native Michigander from Kalamazoo. “We’re here to bring the hope that’s within us to the community as we speak to those who are available to us.”

The chaplains agreed there will be substantial ministry there in the coming days. Chaplains will spend their days going site-to-site alongside Samaritan’s Purse once they are able to access homes and start filling work orders.

“While we are thankful that the Tittabawassee River didn’t crest as high as expected, we are deeply saddened for all of those who sustained damage from this historic flooding,” said Josh Holland, assistant director of the Rapid Response Team. “Our prayers are with the community and we are sending our chaplains to listen, talk and pray with those who have been impacted and to share the hope that can only be found in Jesus Christ.”

Please pray for all the those who have been affected by recent flooding.