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California Wildfires: Billy Graham Rapid Response Team Chaplains Deploy to Offer Comfort to the Displaced
Contact: Erik Ogren, 704-401-2117, eogren@bgea.org
CHARLOTTE, N.C., Oct. 13, 2017 /Christian Newswire/ -- The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team has deployed chaplains to the Santa Rosa, Calif., area to offer hope and comfort to those who have been displaced by the massive and deadly wildfires. It is being reported that more than 30 people have been killed in the fires, with hundreds more missing. Thousands of homes and structures have been destroyed, and countless families have been evacuated.
"The images we've seen are grim and shocking, and yet they don't even begin to provide the full context for the suffering that is taking place as so many have had their lives turned upside down in the blaze," said Jack Munday, international director of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team. "When people are evacuated they lose their safety net and comfort zone. In many cases, they don't know if they'll ever see that piece of themselves again, or if they'll return to an ash-covered slab. Our chaplains will share the hope and comfort of Jesus in the midst of the pain." 
It is anticipated that the initial effort will include ministry in shelters and alongside churches in the impacted areas.
The deployment to California is the latest in a two-month span that has seen an unprecedented series of natural and man-made disasters. The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team continues to work in five areas of Texas (Houston, Pearland, Rockport, Santa Fe and Victoria) following Hurricane Harvey and two areas of Florida (Key West and Naples) following Hurricane Irma. Ministry has been completed in Fort Myers and in shelters throughout both states. Chaplains who live in Puerto Rico continue to reach out to their churches and communities following the devastating impact of Hurricane Maria. Finally, Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains are also in Las Vegas following last week's shooting.
All told, some 380 crisis-trained chaplains have rotated into these deployments dating back to Hurricane Harvey's landfall in late August. They have prayed with and comforted more than 24,000 people during that time.
For more information on the ministry, including videos, photos, news articles and an interactive map of former and current deployments, visit www.billygraham.org/rrt. Updates can also be found at www.facebook.com/RRTChaplains.
About the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team:
The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team was developed by Franklin Graham and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It has since grown into an international network of chaplains in the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia who are specifically trained to deal with crisis situations. They have deployed to more than 270 disaster sites, including shootings, floods, hurricanes, wildfires and tornadoes.