Nearly 20 crisis-trained chaplains with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (BG-RRT) were serving alongside Samaritan’s Purse volunteers just 48 hours after tornadoes ripped across central Mississippi and northern Alabama overnight on March 24.
The storm system killed 26 people and stretched 170 miles, leaving the small town of Rolling Fork, Mississippi, along the Arkansas and Louisiana borders, decimated beyond recognition.
Samaritan’s Purse deployed two of its U.S. Disaster Relief units—tractor-trailers loaded with relief supplies and equipment—for Rolling Fork and neighboring Amory, where volunteer teams will be deployed from local host churches.
BG-RRT has also positioned a Mobile Ministry Center in each town to provide on-site prayer and encouragement.
“The most important thing right now is prayer,” Franklin Graham said on Fox News. “People need prayer, that God would just comfort their hearts, and He’d put His loving arms around them during this very difficult time.
“Houses can be rebuilt after time, businesses will come back after time, those things can be fixed with time,” he continued, “but the loss of life, that’s so difficult, so it’s going to be felt for a long time.”
On March 27, while canvassing neighborhoods devastated by the tornadoes in Amory, Mississippi, a BG-RRT chaplain visited with a couple while Samaritan’s Purse volunteers used chainsaws to cut and remove a fallen tree from near their home.
The chaplain asked the married couple, “Could it be that God spared you from the storm so that you could have this opportunity to speak with me today?” A few minutes later the couple held the chaplain’s hands and prayed to receive Christ as their Savior and Lord.
Chaplains had prayed with and encouraged nearly 130 storm survivors during their first day on site of the deadly tornadoes.
“The amount of destruction and loss of life in Mississippi are truly devastating,” said Josh Holland, international director of the BG-RRT. “We simply cannot even fathom what these residents must be going through right now. We want to make sure residents know they are not alone and not forgotten.
“In the midst of the storm, there is hope—that hope is in Jesus Christ. We are sending our crisis-trained chaplains to pray, listen, and share God’s love with those who have been impacted by these devastating tornadoes.”
Photo: Joel Bonner / Genesis Photos