Billy Graham Rapid Response Team Deploys as Fires Scorch Southern California
Chaplains Announce Third Fire Deployment to Southern California in Five Years
In response to wildfires that have burned hundreds of homes, devastated thousands of acres and forced whole communities to evacuate, the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team of crisis-trained chaplains deployed this week to Southern California to bring hope and comfort to victims during this dire situation. The current deployment is the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team’s third deployment to Southern California in the past five years, following similar wildfire-related deployments in 2003 and 2007. Last year, more than 170 chaplains took part in the deployment, praying with approximately 1,900 people over four weeks. The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team will deploy in coordination with Samaritan’s Purse, the international relief organization headed by Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Together, the two groups will meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of those who have been affected by the fires. “Once again this year, our hearts and prayers go out to our friends in California who are facing the ravages of these fires,” said Jack Munday, director of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team. “The pain and despair are only intensified by the fact that next week is Thanksgiving and this joyous time of year is filled with so much heartache for the victims.” The deployment to Southern California begins as the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team continues their deployment to Texas following Hurricane Ike. Nearly 150 chaplains have prayed with more than 6,500 people since the deployment began on September 13. The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team is a nationwide database of more than 2,800 chaplains and ministry volunteers who are specifically trained to deal with crisis situations. Since the ministry was launched in 2002, it has deployed following dozens of natural and man-made disasters, including hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, fires and shootings. From its headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association runs a wide range of domestic and international ministries, including: large-scale festivals led by evangelists Franklin Graham and his son Will Graham; Dare to Be a Daniel, a youth evangelism training project; My Hope World Evangelism Through Television; the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team of crisis-trained chaplains; and many others through print, television, telephone, radio and the Internet.