In the Aftermath of Ike, Rapid Response Team Prepares to Serve
September 15, 2008 - The remnants of Hurricane Ike moved into Canada early Monday after the storm left a trail of destruction and 27 people dead from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes.
Deaths related to the storm were reported in Louisiana, Arkansas, Indiana, Missouri and Ohio as well as Texas.
Galveston city leaders on Monday urged the 15,000 to 20,000 residents left on the hurricane-battered barrier island to leave, saying they cannot provide essential services.
"Sometimes the aftermath of the storm is worse than the storm itself," Galveston Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas told CNN.
Sept. 13, 2008 — Even as Hurricane Ike's storm surge flooded Galveston's historic district Saturday, sparking fires and knocking out power, chaplains from the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (RRT) prepared to pull out of Charlotte.
“We are just minutes away from leaving to go help those folks so devastated by Hurricane Ike,” said Jack Munday, director of the RRT, at a press conference held at BGEA headquarters Saturday.
“The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team will provide spiritual and emotional care to those along the coastline of more than 300 miles. We recognize that although the sun has come up, it will be a long time before those folks see daylight,” Munday added.
Hurricane Ike is affecting a large geographic area. It has shattered dozens of windows on Texas' tallest skyscraper, the 75-story JP Morgan Chase Tower in downtown Houston. Nearly every window on one side of the tower's first 30 floors was blown out.
"As we speak," said Munday, "they are getting the back side of the storm, which is the worst. We've been in communication with churches there and will finalize plans once we set up a temporary base in Baton Rouge."
This deployment to Texas occurs as both the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team and Samaritan’s Purse still have workers and volunteers operating in multiple areas of Louisiana following Hurricane Gustav’s landfall on Labor Day.
Ken Barun, senior vice president at BGEA, explained why the organization devotes time and resources to disaster relief: “This is obviously a very devastating storm so we are trying to send as many people as we can there to share the love of Jesus Christ. Evangelism is part of everything we do and certainly, this is a vehicle for evangelism. By counseling people, we’ll hopefully lead them to the Lord Jesus Christ.”
While the Rapid Response Team will attend to the spiritual and emotional needs of victims, Samaritan’s Purse will meet the physical needs brought about by Hurricane Ike.
Also speaking at the press conference, Kirk Nowery, the chief operating officer of Samaritan's Purse, explained that the SP team will dig people out, take trees down, put plastic on roofs, deliver water purification systems and generators, and provide help and relief in a very difficult time.
"The real heroes are the thousands of volunteers who will join us in providing relief in the disaster zone," said Nowery.
He also passed along a message from Franklin Graham, the president of both BGEA and Samaritan’s Purse: "We’ll get as dirty as we have to get to earn the right to share the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ just one time."
Urgent Prayer Requests
- Pray for the families of those who died in the storm, that they turn to the Lord in their grief.
- For those who lost their homes and everything they owned, pray they will find refuge in God.
- Pray for the emergency workers, police and first responders.
- Pray for the Rapid Response Team as they determine how and where to best serve.
- Pray for the leaders in Texas, that they will have wisdom, compassion and courage in the aftermath of Ike.
- Pray that many will come to know Christ in the midst of fear and possible tragedy.
By supporting the Rapid Response Team, you can help us respond to emergencies like Hurricane Ike and tell of the One who “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3, NIV). Please consider sending a gift today »