Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains deploy to Shawnee, Oklahoma, after deadly tornadoes

CHARLOTTE, N.C., April 20, 2023 – The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (BG-RRT) is deploying to Oklahoma after at least eight tornadoes touched down Wednesday night. The tornadoes caused widespread damage throughout the state, and three people have been killed as a result. Shawnee, one of the hardest hit areas, is 38 miles outside of Oklahoma City.

“The amount of devastation we are seeing in Shawnee is heart-breaking. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost loved ones and whose homes have been destroyed,” said Josh Holland, international director of the BG-RRT. “We want to make sure residents know they are not alone and not forgotten. In the aftermath of this storm, there is hope and that hope is in Jesus Christ. We are sending our crisis-trained chaplains to pray with, listen and share God’s love with those who have been impacted by these devastating tornadoes.”

The team of crisis-trained chaplains is working in conjunction with disaster relief organization Samaritan’s Purse to help meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of those impacted by the severe storms.

BG-RRT chaplains are now providing emotional and spiritual support in six locations:

  • Shawnee, Oklahoma (tornado)
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida (flooding)
  • Cyrus, Minnesota (officer shooting)
  • Wynne, Arkansas (tornado)
  • Little Rock, Arkansas (tornado)
  • Ukraine (conflict)

For more information on the ministry, including videos, photos, news articles and an interactive map of former and current deployments, visit the BG-RRT press kit or Updates can also be found at

Media Opportunities:

  • Interviews with:
    • Josh Holland, international director for the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team
    • Chaplain coordinators on the ground in Shawnee, Oklahoma
  • For B-Roll, photos and media inquiries, please contact Christine Batchelder at, (704) 724-6851.

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 700 disaster sites across the globe, including shootings, floods, hurricanes, wildfires and tornadoes.

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Media Contact:
Christine Batchelder

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