PHOTOS: Chaplains Hold Sharing Hope in Crisis Course in East St. Louis, IL

By   •   June 22, 2017

The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team facilitated a Sharing Hope in Crisis course recently in East St. Louis, Illinois. Almost 150 people attended the one-day seminar designed to equip people to share God's love in the midst of crisis.
Cancer diagnosis. Death in the family. Divorce. Nearly 95 percent of the people in attendance raised their hands to confirm they had dealt with some type of personal crisis in the last six months. “These are things that cut across communities,” said John Galvin, assistant director of the Rapid Response Team. “Everywhere in the country, in the world, there are hurting people.”
Some people attended so they could share the in their immediate community. East St. Louis, just across the river from St. Louis, Missouri, is situated in St. Clair County, which deals with rampant drug use and a high crime rate. In 2015, the county averaged more homicides per capita (12) than Chicago's Cook County (10.2).
“I loved hearing their stories and their perspectives,” attendee Sherry Hurst said, referring to seminar leaders John Galvin and chaplain manager Kevin Williams (pictured). Hurst lives 15 minutes from East St. Louis, where her parents grew up. “I loved the tips on what to say and what not to say. Honestly that’s really what made me go.”
“If we just have the eyes to see, there are ministry opportunities all around us,” Galvin said. “A big part of this, I think, is really energizing the church to be the church and equipping people to do what you know in their hearts they want to do."
People were eager to share with one another during session breaks.
Many expressed an interest in volunteering as chaplains, with a quarter of those in attendance taking applications. More than 60 signed up to faithfully pray for the Rapid Response Team.
What better way to share life than by flipping through some precious photos on your phone?
"Biblical teaching is really the answer because to the problems in this world,” said Galvin (right), pictured next to his wife and fellow chaplain Suzanne. “The reason that we have sorrow and sadness, the reason that we have sickness and death, the reason that we have crime and things like that is because sin has been introduced into the world. The only antidote for sin is forgiveness provided through Jesus Christ. What this training does is bridge Biblical principals with clinical principals."
Conversations spilled over from the sessions as attendees discussed with one another what they were learning.
Sherry Hurst noted that she was overwhelmed to see what God is doing in this area. “The tears are coming to my eyes right now. We’ve had so much hate and civil unrest in St. Louis and East St. Louis and just to watch God healing and working in all that, it was overwhelming," she said. "I would like to see [the chaplains] come back. I think what they’re doing is important, and I’d be really excited to go back there in a year and see what’s transpired since then."

Would you pray that God would be glorified in East St. Louis and the surrounding area?