CHARLOTTE, N.C., The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team is in Colorado and New Mexico as wildfires continue to torch large swaths of the nation’s west. Chaplains are currently offering emotional and spiritual care in the Ruidoso/Capitan area of New Mexico, and in the Fort Collins area of Colorado. Chaplains deployed to both locations on June 14, shortly after the fires began.
News agencies are reporting that the “Little Bear Fire” in New Mexico is 90 percent contained. The “High Park Fire” north of Denver, however, was reported yesterday to be only 55 percent contained, and estimated at more than 87,000 acres. The fire has destroyed more than 250 homes. Due to these circumstances, chaplains have begun reaching out to homeowners in New Mexico, but have had limited opportunities to minister in Colorado as the fire rages and survivors remain evacuated from their homes.
The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team deployed in coordination with Samaritan’s Purse, the international Christian relief organization headed by Franklin Graham, who is also president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
“Many of those who have been evacuated and unable to return home have told us that the worst part is not knowing,” said Jack Munday, director of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team. “They don’t know if their homes are still standing, don’t know if their pets are alive, and don’t know if they’ve lost all they own in this world. Our chaplains are there to encourage the ministry of local churches, and offer a listening ear, practical assistance and support to those affected. We want to bring the compassion and hope of Jesus Christ into this horrible situation.”
Previously, Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains have deployed following wildfires in California (2003, 2007 and 2008), Texas (2009 and 2011), and Melbourne, Australia (2009).
The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team is a nationwide network of chaplains across 44 states that are specifically trained to deal with crisis situations. Since the ministry was launched in 2002, it has responded to more than 125 natural and man-made disasters, including hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, fires and shootings.
For more information on the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, visit www.billygraham.org/rrt. For videos, photos and news articles from recent Billy Graham Rapid Response Team deployments, visit www.billygraham.org/crisisresponse. Ministry updates and photo galleries are posted at www.facebook.com/BGRapidResponseTeam.