"I never thought this would happen to us"—Chaplains Comfort as Uncertainty Burns in Colorado
Aimee Herd : Jul 3, 2012 : Trevor Freeze - BillyGraham.org
"We try to get to the point of their faith, ask them where they find a source of strength." -Chaplain Jim Giannestras, Billy Graham Rapid Response Team.
According to a report by the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains—dispatched to Colorado recently to help minister hope and comfort to victims of the state's "most destructive fire in history"—those who have lost their homes in last week's inferno have a common bewildered statement; "I never thought this would happen to us."
The Waldo Canyon Fire roared through western Colorado Springs last Tuesday, charring 347 homes and claiming the lives of at least two.
As those residents who were evacuated return for a first look at what remains of some of their homes, many seem to be overcome with despair.
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association sent a team of chaplains to the area to pray and talk with those who've lost—in many cases—all they owned.
The chaplains report that they provide a listening ear, and sometimes more, for thousands who are asking questions like, "What's next?" and "Where is God in all of this?"
"We've had a chance to visit and comfort," Jim Giannestras, one of the chaplains, said. "We try to get to the point of their faith, ask them where they find a source of strength.
"Some don't want to deal with that at all. Some are very open. They'll tell us, 'If it wasn't for God in my life, if it wasn't for the faith in my life, this would be so hard.'"
A report from Trevor Freeze of BillyGraham.org stated: One of the many people the chaplains have been able to minister to was a woman named Kim, a former Montreat College student, who as soon as she saw the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team logo, got off her phone and introduced herself. She had heard so much about the Graham family from Montreat professors.
"I think I know more about Franklin Graham than my own family," Kim told the chaplains, who were able to pray for Kim, a Christ-follower.
"The one thing that's different (than other disasters) is that people don't have any sense of closure or knowing what has happened," Giannestras said. "They're not quite sure how to respond. They're just as open as any other situation."
According to DenverPost.com statistics, on Monday (7/2) the Waldo Canyon Fire was 55% contained, however fire officials warned that "this fire is far from out. It's shown us it can go from all to nothing pretty quick."
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