Billy Graham Rapid Response Team Deploys to Queensland Flooding
After devastating floodwaters rushed through over 2,000 homes, the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (RRT) has deployed to the city of Townsville, located 1,350 km north of Brisbane in Queensland.
The team is providing emotional and spiritual care to those affected by the flood, which was caused by an intense monsoonal weather system that began on Jan. 28 and sat on the city for more than a week, dumping 70-plus inches of rain in the northeast area. This massive, unusual rainfall is being called ‘a one in 100-year event’ and led to the overflow of the Ross River Dam, resulting in additional flash flooding in the city’s lower suburbs.
With thousands forced to evacuate their homes and some even climbing onto their roofs for safety, the RRT is offering comfort and a ministry of presence to those who have endured much in the last several days and now face the process of recovery.
“Cleanup has begun,” crisis-trained chaplain Stewart Beveridge said. He’s the first chaplain to reach Townsville, Australia’s largest garrison town. Two more chaplains will join him on Sunday, along with Samaritan’s Purse in coming days. Although the deployment’s duration is yet to be determined, the RRT will rotate its group of 25 chaplains with at least two in the area per week.
Beginning in 2013, the ministry first started in Australia as an expansion from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association headquartered in the United States of America.
“We treat each other as one big family who is passionate about Jesus and are committed to serving in any community where disaster has overwhelmed them,” Beveridge said.
Consequently, International Director Jack Munday is calling on all to pray for Townsville during this time: “Following the unprecedented flood, our hearts are with the several thousand families who have experienced great loss. Please join us as we pray for them and their communities. We know the road ahead for many will be long and could be very difficult. But we also know there’s a God who loves them, and has promised to be an ever-present help in their time of trouble.”
In addition, Beveridge specifically asked others to pray that those who talk with chaplains “will hear the truth the Holy Spirit brings them through practical actions and compassionate words.”
Although there’s church locations all across Townsville, he’s hoping more people will choose to turn to the Lord during this hardship.
“God is for them,” Beveridge said. “He has not abandoned them at this time. God is compassionate and kind and good even in the midst of crisis.”
Please pray for those in the city of Townsville as they continue to recover. If you would like to financially support the work of the Rapid Response Team, please click the button below.