Offering Christ’s Peace After Highland Falls, NY, Flooding

By Kali Zakariasen   •   July 26, 2023

Chaplains share the steps to peace with God with a resident of Highland Falls, N.Y., after the community was one of many in the northeast that recently experienced devastating deadly flooding.

Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (BG-RRT) chaplains are ministering in Highland Falls, New York, where extreme flooding last week left miles of devastation. Thousands of people were affected—many losing their homes in the floodwaters—and the community is grieving the loss of a 43-year-old woman who drowned as she tried to escape her flooded home.

Chaplains have been ministering in Jesus’ Name, comforting residents and offering hope that can be found in Him alone.

Chaplain team coordinators in New York, Dwight and Roxanne Wolgemuth, recently shared stories from fellow chaplains about the tremendous amount of ministry that’s happened in just a short time.

A Family Finds Salvation

BG-RRT chaplains Anthony and Cathy Angilletta had an opportunity to share the Gospel with one family as volunteers worked to clean out their flooded home.

As they opened up about the struggles they have faced after the flooding, the Angillettas explained how we can have peace with God by accepting Him into our hearts and having a personal relationship with Him. Apprehensive at first, the grandmother’s demeanor began to soften as she shared her burdens with chaplains and listened to the message they shared. As God worked in her heart through their conversation, she decided she wanted to receive Christ and prayed to commit her life to Him.

Her son and teenage granddaughter also accepted Jesus Christ into their hearts that day. The teen’s face shone with joy as she clutched the Bible that chaplains presented to her and her family. She told everyone she encountered, “Jesus is my Savior!”

He Left With Hope

Another resident, Brad,* approached chaplains at the point of exhaustion after averaging just four hours sleep every night that week. As a Highland Falls paramedic, he was on call while other employees scrambled to take care of their own emergencies due to the flooding. Meanwhile, his own home was full of mud and debris.

“He could hardly talk because he was just so overwhelmed and stressed by everything,” said Roxanne. Seeing this, chaplains arranged to have a team of volunteers help clean Brad’s home.

When Dwight and Roxanne mentioned that they are both retired paramedics, Brad locked eyes with them. “Oh! You get it,” he said, excited to meet others who could relate to his challenges.

Tears flowed down his face as chaplains prayed with and encouraged him. “His stride leaving was different than his stride coming in,” Roxanne explained. “He was beaten and defeated when he came, and he had hope when he left.”

Leaning on Jesus

Wendy* felt as though she was carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders when she came to Billy Graham chaplains seeking help.

As a healthcare worker, she loves helping others. But between caring for her neighbors and elderly parents—as well as losing her home in the flooding—Wendy was discouraged and tired.

“Life doesn’t stop,” said Roxanne, as she recounted her conversation with Wendy. The chaplain described the immense stress that an unexpected disaster can cause. “The things that were going on before the storm hit are still there and everything becomes catastrophic.”

When Roxanne asked Wendy how she was holding up, the woman broke down in tears and sobbed as the chaplain prayed with her. Chaplains encouraged her that Jesus Christ is present in times of trouble and that He alone offers true peace.

>>Will you pray for Brad, Wendy, and so many others affected by this disaster, that they will find hope in Jesus Christ?

*Names changed to protect privacy