Chaplains Ministering to Alabama After Devastating Tornadoes

By   •   March 21, 2018

Man wipes sweat from brow in front of apartment complex
Many students from Jacksonville State University face loss from the twisters.

The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (RRT) has deployed crisis-trained chaplains to Southside and Jacksonville, Alabama, after tornadoes raked through the areas March 19.

Moving southeast from Southside to Jacksonville, the storm produced at least three tornadoes, according to the National Weather Service. News reports say an off-duty Georgia state trooper was killed and several people were injured.

The twisters caused widespread damage in eastern and northern Alabama, with Jacksonville State University among the areas most affected. Fortunately the school was on spring break when the storm hit and many students had left campus.

Woman walking away from damaged apartments
Both Samaritan’s Purse and the Rapid Response Team are ready to help those affected by Monday’s storms.

Over a dozen chaplains are offering emotional and spiritual care between the two cities, which are less than 30 miles apart and have a cumulative population of more than 20,000.

The communities face a long recovery process with many buildings damaged or destroyed. Among those affected were a local church, university buildings, and multiple apartment complexes and homes.

The mayor of Jacksonville invited Samaritan’s Purse and the RRT to respond following the devastation. This marks the first RRT deployment to a natural disaster in 2018, and follows the passing of Billy Graham, founder of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA).

“Billy Graham was devoted to the proclamation of ,” said Josh Holland, assistant director for RRT. “The same mandate God called him to is the same message being carried out through this ministry.”

Recently, the ministry responded to shootings at a Parkland, Florida, high school where a former student killed 17 people; and Westerville, Ohio, where two police officers were fatally shot.

Please pray for these communities as well as those recovering across the Southeast due to the recent storms.

No matter what you’re facing, you can find hope in Christ.


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  1. John Bown says:

    Keep up the good work sharing the love of Christ.

  2. Amy Bennett says:

    Thank you so much for all your work, but especially this one since it hits so close to home. I attended JSU, my husband teaches there and my son will be attending in the fall. There is so much recovery work to do and every effort is appreciated. God bless you and your ministry and all the work you do!

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