CHARLOTTE, N.C., Aug. 12, 2023 – The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (BG-RRT) is deploying to Hawaii after a wildfire tore through the heart of Maui Tuesday, killing at least 96 people. Several fires are still raging through the area and the governor has declared a state of emergency. One of the areas hit hardest is historic Lahaina Town in West Maui, a popular tourist destination.
“The devastation we are seeing on the ground is just unimaginable. It is heartbreaking. This was my home. This is where I lived for many years. My parents lived here and now their house is gone. Their church building is gone,” said Richard Brown, senior manager, deployments and operations of the BG-RRT. “But I know and see how God’s people are holding onto their faith during these tough times, and the BG-RRT wants to come alongside them.”
Ten BG-RRT chaplains live on various islands in the state of Hawaii and will be serving on Maui. 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 these wildfires.
“Our hearts are heavy as we learn more about the total devastation on Maui and the rising death toll,” said Josh Holland, international director of the BG-RRT. “As we pray for all those impacted, the BG-RRT has chaplains on the ground in Maui now to minister to the people impacted and assess how we can offer more support in coming days.”
BG-RRT chaplains are now providing emotional and spiritual support in two locations. Besides Hawaii, chaplains are also ministering to families who have been forced to flee their homes in war-torn Ukraine.
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 BillyGraham.org/RRT. Updates can also be found at Facebook.com/RRTChaplains.
- Josh Holland, international director of the BG-RRT
- Richard Brown, senior manager, deployment and operations of the BG-RRT (in Hawaii)
B-Roll and photos (please use with credit to Billy Graham Evangelistic Association)
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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 730 disaster sites across the globe, including shootings, floods, hurricanes, wildfires and tornadoes.
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