CHARLOTTE, N.C., Oct. 30, 2019 – With two chaplains serving the area since Tuesday, additional Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (RRT) chaplains are en route to the Santa Rosa, California, area to minister to evacuees as the state battles another wildfire outbreak that has already caused widespread devastation.
“Wildfires are so destructive, but the impact goes beyond the structural damage to homes, land and property. Emotionally, wildfires take such a toll on people; whether in regards to loss of friends, family, or possessions, or being displaced and not knowing what you will find when you return,” said Josh Holland, assistant director of the RRT. “Our crisis-trained chaplains will work alongside the local churches to bring God’s peace and hope during this time of hurt and grief.”
While RRT chaplains will be mainly focused on evacuees around Santa Rosa, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection website shows as many as 10 wildfires currently burning across the state.
“We have our chaplains praying for all of those who are impacted,” said Holland. “We can’t imagine how emotionally difficult this is and we are ready any time a door opens to come alongside people who are hurting. We are also praying for firefighters and their families as they put their lives on the line.”
The deployment to California marks the second deployment in as many weeks and the fifth active deployment for the RRT after sending a team of eight chaplains to Dallas following an EF-3 tornado Oct. 20. Chaplains are also serving in two locations—Freeport and Man-O-War—in the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian; as well as in Rockport/Pearland, Texas, as the area continues to rebuild following Hurricane Harvey’s devastation in 2017.
For more information on the ministry, including videos, photos, news articles and an interactive map of former and current deployments, visit BillyGraham.org/RRT. Updates can also be found at 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 400 disaster sites across the globe, including shootings, floods, hurricanes, wildfires and tornadoes.
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