Billy Graham Evangelistic Association provides emotional, spiritual support to BC flood victims

    BGEAC's Rapid Response Team offers shoulders for Chilliwack residents to
    lean on

    CALGARY, Jan. 15 /CNW/ - The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of
Canada (BGEAC) is sending its Rapid Response Team of specially trained
volunteers to Chilliwack, BC. They will provide emotional and spiritual
support to people there after heavy snowfalls and torrential rains caused
mudslides and severe overland flooding.
    More than 200 homes in the Chilliwack region, 100 kilometers east of
Vancouver, have been damaged - some of them severely - by the flooding and
slides. At least 64 people in the community of 76,000 have been forced out of
their homes.
    The BGEAC's Rapid Response Team members are stationed in Chilliwack,
including at the flood information centre and hotels where victims are
staying. They will also go into affected areas and work alongside Samaritan's
Purse Canada volunteers and local volunteers who are helping homeowners begin
the arduous process of cleaning up.
    In crises, relief staff and volunteers are so burdened meeting victims'
physical needs that it's difficult for them to find time to meet the victims'
emotional and spiritual needs.
    "We're there to work alongside relief crews, to simply sit with
homeowners listening to what they are going through and, if they are willing,
pray with them," says Melanie Neufeld, the BGEAC's Rapid Response Team
coordinator. "We walk into some pretty devastating situations. People are just
looking for someone to care about them. It's simply about showing them God's
love and helping them work through the loss."
    Flood-related deployments are not new to Samaritan's Purse Canada's Rapid
Response Teams. In 2007, a team traveled to Terrace, BC, where 200 homes were
destroyed. In 2008, another team went to Fredericton, NB, where residents
awoke to the second-worst flood in the city's 223-year history. Teams also
responded to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

    Volunteers Needed for Olympics

    The BGEAC continues to recruit and train Rapid Response Team members.
Hundreds will be needed in Vancouver at the Winter Olympics in 2010 and the
World Police and Fire Games this summer. The BGEAC has been invited to provide
chaplains at both events. In preparation, the BGEAC is hosting Rapid Response
Team training sessions in Abbotsford, BC, on April 17 and 18 and in Vancouver,
BC on May 15 and 16. To register, or for more information, visit or call 1-800-293-3717.

    Donations Needed

    Donations are needed to help pay the costs of training Rapid Response
Team volunteers and the costs of deploying and accommodating them when their
services are needed. To support this vital ministry's ongoing work, visit or call 1-800-293-3717.

    About the BGEAC

    The BGEAC is well-known for the powerful outreach ministry of its
founder, Billy Graham. The BGEAC is non-denominational, partnering with
churches and Christian communities in Canada and around the world to share the
life-saving message of Jesus. We strive to use language and methods that
authentically resonate with people of all ages and cultures. Each of the
BGEAC's growing number of programs - for adults, teens, and children - is
prayerfully led by men and women with a passion to share their Savior's love.
Go to for more information.

For further information:

For further information: Media Inquiries: Melanie Neufeld, Rapid
Response Team Coordinator, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada,
(604) 615-1009 (cell),

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