Divine Appointments in Fort Smith

The crash of a small plane—just moments after takeoff—brought shock to the small Northwest Territories town of Fort Smith. Of the seven community members onboard, only one survived the accident. In the aftermath, crisis-trained chaplains with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (BG-RRT) arrived to offer comfort and prayer for those who are hurting.

God opened doors for the chaplains to minister at the local library, college, prison, coffee shop, municipal office, and even the grocery store. This is where the chaplains met the father of the only person who survived the accident. They took the opportunity to offer him prayer and a listening ear.

“He declared that it is a true miracle because no one can explain how his son survived with only bruising to his legs,” shared Wanda, one of our chaplains. “We prayed with him, thanking God for sparing his son, and asked for continued healing to his body and mind.”

“With Great Joy This Young Man Received Jesus”

The chaplains also regularly stopped by Fort Smith’s coffee shop, a popular gathering place for locals, especially in this time of grief. As they became familiar faces around town, residents felt comfortable coming over to chat. It was common for one guest to leave the chaplains’ table, only for another to sit down.

Over coffee, the chaplains made the acquaintance of a staff member at the local college. She invited them to attend an upcoming lunch, where they met a former student who is now employed at the nearby prison.

During the lunch event, Aaron* shared with the chaplains about his recent struggles with anxiety, and accepted their offer of prayer. Even though he was familiar with the Bible, he confessed that he’d never asked Jesus Christ to be the Savior of his life. After reading through our “Steps to Peace With God” booklet together, they prayed again—this time for salvation. “With great joy this young man prayed and received Jesus,” reported Wanda. The chaplains are connecting Aaron to a men’s group for ongoing discipleship.

That evening, the chaplains also led a young lady to Christ at a prayer meeting hosted by local believers. “She was from a very small community in the far north,” Wanda said. “She had never heard the Gospel message before. She was full of joy after praying to accept Jesus as Lord.”

Meaningful time was also spent with Fort Smith’s mayor, who expressed his appreciation for the chaplains being there to support the community.

Building on Past Relationships

In recent days, they’ve met former acquaintances from that deployment. “It was a wonderful reunion,” said Wanda. “They were grateful for the support.”

Will Graham also recently visited the town on his 2022 Northern Canada Christmas Tour. As he preached the Gospel in the community of just over 2,000 residents, more than 140 people heard the Good News of Jesus Christ.

“The people of Fort Smith are wonderful folks, and my heart hurts for them,” Will said. “Please join me in prayer for those impacted,” he said, “and for our chaplains as they minister in the midst of such great sorrow.”

Privileged to Serve in Tight-Knit Fort Smith

Thank you for making this ministry of comfort in Jesus’ Name possible. It’s a privilege to work alongside local believers in tight-knit communities like Fort Smith, sharing the hope and peace God offers. Please continue to pray for all those affected by this terrible tragedy.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).


*Name changed for privacy