Chaplains Finish Up New Jersey Deployment
April 4, 2011 - The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team spent nearly three weeks comforting, encouraging and praying for flood victims in the Wayne, N.J., area.
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life. – James 1:12
By Trevor Freeze
Over 20 days in and around the flooded Wayne, N.J. area, the Holy Spirit moved and dozens made first-time commitments for Christ.
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Rapid Response Team finished its deployment in New Jersey where they supported, encouraged and shared Jesus with the hundreds of flood victims.
Among the commitments over the three-week stretch included four husband-and-wife couples, two foster brothers, a grandmother and granddaughter, a woman battling breast cancer and a recent widow and her teenage son.
All of those making decisions received a Billy Graham Training Center Bible, appropriate BGEA literature and have all been referred to local churches for follow-up and discipleship.
Here are a few examples of how God used the Rapid Response Team chaplains to spread the message of hope and healing. The names have been changed.
THIS NEIGHBOR SOWED THE SEEDS
John and Rhonda were two of the 1,300 displaced people in the Wayne, N.J., region. Samaritan’s Purse cleaned out their house and a couple days later, two chaplains came to visit the couple when their neighbor Phil struck up a conversation outside.
Phil told the chaplains how he had been talking with John and Rhonda about the Lord for some time, but to his knowledge, they were not Christians.
He introduced the chaplains to the couple and during their visit, both John and Rhonda accepted Christ into their lives. Phil immediately invited them to church with him and they said they would.
The chaplains couldn’t help but feel that it was a divine appointment.
EM-BARKING ON A NEW LIFE IN CHRIST
The dogs were barking. All five of them.
But Janet, the dog’s owners, completely tuned them out.
Rapid Response Team chaplains were talking with her upstairs as Samaritan’s Purse volunteers were busy cleaning out her basement.
This was one of the lowest points Janet has ever experienced.
Two years ago, her sister passed away from breast cancer. Janet herself was diagnosed with the same cancer 18 months ago and had become very ill during a year of treatment. She’s also had a double mastectomy.
So as the chaplains ministered to Janet, telling her how God had a plan and a hope for her life, the dogs continued to yelp. Janet wasn’t hearing it.
The Holy Spirit had her attention and she was listening to the message of Christ.
At one point, one of the chaplains picked up the dog responsible for the loudest barking, which defused the noise somewhat.
Janet not only received Christ into her heart that day, but the next day while Samaritan’s Purse was back continuing to work, Janet was overheard telling her neighbor that it was not by works that you get to Heaven, but through inviting Christ into your heart.
FROM SYRIA TO SALVATION
A year ago, just after Frank and Helen moved to New Jersey from Syria, their home flooded and it was costly to repair.
A year later, just a few weeks ago, the couple had another flooded home on their hands. And another costly repair.
Two Rapid Response Team chaplains visited with Frank and Helen while Samaritan’s Purse volunteers cleaned up their home, for which they were very grateful.
Over coffee, Helen expressed her loneliness to the chaplains, while being vague about her faith background. She did say her faith has not been very helpful.
The chaplains shared with the couple “Steps to Peace with God,” and explained how God will never leave or forsake them, someone they could count on in difficult times.
After further spiritual conversation, both Helen and Frank asked Jesus into their lives as their personal savior.
A few days later, the chaplains blessed the couple with a box of food and you could see the surprise and thankfulness in Helen’s face.