Chaplains offer comfort in Brussels

The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains were in Brussels to offer emotional and spiritual care. Here, a chaplain talks with folks on the steps of the Brussels Stock Exchange.

Leise is a volunteer Rapid Response Team chaplain (RRT) who served in Brussels. Afterward, while speaking to BGEAC staff in Calgary during one of our regular morning chapel times, she described some of her experiences in Brussels.

Hi, I’m Janet. I didn’t write something down. I probably should have because instead, I’ll babble. I got in late last night from Brussels at 6:30 p.m. That was like 3:30 Brussels time, just so you know.

You know, God is good. That’s all I can say. We don’t know what we (RRT chaplains) are going into (when we’re deployed). We don’t know what to expect when we get there, but God’s got it all mapped out. He’s got it all planned out. You know, it’s really cool when you’re part of a team because everyone has different gifts and everyone has different abilities.

We can see His hand working, and Brussels was a unique situation. I have heard there was similarities with Paris for those of you who were at Paris and I’ve heard there was a lot of differences with Paris. One of the really strange things that was probably very similar to Paris is very few people knew the name of Billy Graham. Very few. When they did, they came running up and hugged us and they thought that was really cool. But very few. Very few.

They didn’t know who he was in Europe. And Europe is a very (spiritually) apathetic country—well, Brussels, Belgium is very apathetic. There is very little relevance for the church. It doesn’t mean a lot. And then you’ve got the refugee crisis. Anytime on the street, there was probably 45 per cent of them (who) were 17-year-old to 25-year-old single male Arab men coming from all different walks of life.

And that’s who we ministered to. We ministered to them. We ministered to the people of Brussels. It was just a really cool experience to be able to go up to them and be able to really point blank ask them. They’re really looking at these things and their going: “This is horrible.” And we’ll say “Yes. Do you know where you go when you die?” and they go: “Well I’m sure I’m going to go to heaven. I’m a good person.”

We were able to use the Steps to Peace (Gospel presentation booklet) and show them that that (simply being a good person) is not going to get you there. This is what you’ve got to do. You need Jesus Christ. So we were able to proclaim His name in a really mighty way, much to the dismay of some of the Muslim people there. They were not really happy with us with that.

But you know, one of the coolest experiences that I want to share is we went on a Sunday afternoon to the international Baptist church. And that Baptist church was made up of, I figured, probably about 40 different countries. It kind of gave me a little glimpse of what it’s going to be like when we worship Jesus when He comes again, because every tribe and tongue (was there).

We had goosebumps as we’re worshipping with these people and then after, the young adults, which they call the Prime-Timers . . . it’s the College and Career. Those are the ones that are excited for Jesus. They’re the ones that want to make a difference on their streets. They invited us out for lunch. We got the opportunity to go in groups and pray for each of them and then after they came back and went on the streets with us. They watched what we did and they just jumped in!

We knew that we could leave that day and our job was done. We had already passed that torch to someone else. Which is what we’re meant to do there. We continued to go and we continued to minister to the people. They caught a spark and we know that now they want to be trained and they want to continue, and they see the need for Jesus in their country. And to be a small part of that, what an honor! It was, I’m going to say the word one more time. It was awesome!