Crisis-trained chaplains from the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (RRT) are serving in Nassau, Bahamas, at a Samaritan’s Purse Emergency Field Hospital following a COVID-19 outbreak.
With a steep recent uptick in coronavirus cases, Nassau is beyond its medical capacity on the island. While Samaritan’s Purse runs a 28-bed Emergency Field Hospital, the Rapid Response Team is offering emotional and spiritual care to medical staff and patients. In the wake of so many unknowns, they are offering prayer and sharing the eternal hope of Jesus Christ.
The first team consists of Billy Graham chaplains Jason and Damaris Scalzi. No strangers to the pandemic, they ministered in Cremona, Italy, a COVID-19 hotspot this spring. Dozens of other chaplains served amid the mass spread of the virus, including in the global epicentre of New York City — where Samaritan’s Purse had another temporary tent hospital.
Created in the aftermath of 9/11, the Rapid Response Team’s network of nearly 2,000 chaplains has always offered emotional and spiritual care following man-made or natural disasters. This year, though, the chaplains have found themselves ministering amid this new kind of crisis — a pandemic.
“These coronavirus deployments are groundbreaking and different than anything we have done before,” said Josh Holland, RRT’s assistant director. “We have deployed to more than 450 natural and man-made disasters, but until this year we had never responded to a health crisis.”
Last year, more than 100 Billy Graham chaplains served in four locations across the Bahamas following Hurricane Dorian, a Category 5 storm that killed at least 70 islanders.
“We consider it a blessing for our chaplains to return to the islands to serve alongside Samaritan’s Purse with the opportunity to share the hope found in Jesus Christ with the doctors, nurses and the community,” Holland said.
Please be in prayer for the COVID-19 patients, medical staff and chaplains.