Evangelical preacher and author Billy Graham may be 98-years-old, but he’s still as sharp as a tack.
As families and friends grieve the deaths of loved ones in the shooting massacre in Las Vegas, pray for the recovery of the wounded, or search frantically for news about their loved ones, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has made a quick move that could save souls.
They’re deploying chaplains to minister and grieve with those impacted by the horrific shooting.
The Rapid Response Team is flying out to the scene — it was created after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and has ministered to people following more than 300 acts of violence and natural disasters since that time.
Just this year, chaplains responded to the Berlin truck attack, terrorism in Barcelona and Manchester, and in the wake of deadly hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
Its mission is simple.
“We do it to share the love and compassion that we know comes from the only God that we serve and comes through His Son, Jesus Christ,” said Jeff Nader, manager of chaplain development and chaplain relations at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Monday morning, the group immediately made plans to help in Las Vegas.
“We stopped everything else we were doing in the office and dedicated every minute to moving chaplains in this direction,” said Nader. “Today we have 18 chaplains here on the ground, many of them just landed. We had chaplains out near the site of the shooting last night and around Mandalay Bay until midnight.”
Nader says the Rapid Response Team ministers in multiple ways, but he says the biggest focus is on the ministry of presence, literally just being there for hurting people.
“Most people can probably look back on a time when they were sitting in an emergency room waiting area or someplace else, wishing someone else was there with them during their lonely time. Having a chaplain walk up just to be there with them is over half the work that we do,” said Naber.
“That’s going on right now and I ask you to pray at this very moment for people who are talking with and for people who are standing next to one of our chaplains, that they would feel the love and they would feel the compassion that flows from our chaplains to them from Christ,” said Naber.
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