Connecting with Hagar’s story

On May 3, Fort McMurray, Alberta was evacuated due to a massive wildfire that engulfed the city of 80,000.
Over 2,400 buildings were destroyed in the fire. Residents have begun returning since the evacuation order was lifted June 1. Our Rapid Response Team chaplains have been helping since the outset. Municipal authorities have invited us into the city to provide support, encouragement and prayer to all who need it.

As Rapid Response Team (RRT) chaplains spread the love and compassion of Christ around the fire-ravaged city of Fort McMurray, AB, even members of other faiths are finding themselves touched by the One who is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6, NKJV).

A chaplain accompanied Samaritan’s Purse volunteers to help a women whose car had broken down. Chaplains listened as she wept and shared some of her story—she had escaped brutal violence in Somalia, was a survivor of domestic abuse, her children were far away, and she feared being laid off from her job.

Chaplains opened a Bible and shared with her the Old Testament story of Hagar, a concubine who bore Abraham’s first child and was later cast out into the desert. She was in despair before being rescued by God.

Even though the Fort McMurray woman was from another faith, she was able to relate to Hagar’s story. She even asked for a Bible and consented to the chaplain and the Samaritan’s Purse volunteers praying for her, that God would become real in her life.

“We are all praying that she will come to know the one true God,” said Patricia Kanwischer, leader of the Rapid Response Team in Fort McMurray.

In another instance, a chaplain met a Fort McMurray man who works as a pipe fitter. He committed his life to Christ when he was young, but later turned his back on God. He was waiting for emergency housing when the chaplain approached him.

As the conversation began, one of the man’s first comments was “I need to get back to God.” The overjoyed chaplain led him in a prayer of rededication and gave us permission to pass his contact information to a local church for mentoring and discipleship.

We expect the chaplains to be in Fort McMurray for at least five weeks, making this the largest RRT response since the 2013 southern Alberta floods. Because of the size of this response, we will need more donations to help as many people as possible.

To support the Rapid Response Team with your prayers and gifts, please click the “Donate Now” button or call 1-800-293-3717.