“We were really blessed”

Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplain Merle Doherty (right) provides spiritual and emotional care to Fort McMurray AB flood victims Charity and Garry Jimenez. “We really needed spiritual healing,” Charity said.

Fort McMurray residents Garry and Charity Jimenez felt like they’d taken two punches in the gut. But then God worked through Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains—and supporters like you—to spiritually rescue them.

After two rivers in the area flooded, Garry and Charity returned to their home in this remote northern Alberta city to find six feet of dirty water in their basement. Furniture and children’s toys were covered in mud and the flooring, drywall, and insulation were waterlogged.

Then they found out that their home insurance policy, like most policies, does not cover overland flooding.

‘I felt so down’

“I felt so down,” Charity said quietly as she and Garry sat on the front steps of their home and explained the situation. They were especially concerned for their daughter, who went through the trauma of being evacuated in 2016 when a wildfire devastated parts of Fort McMurray.

Then God sent Garry and Charity help from two directions. They learned Samaritan’s Purse was in the city doing cleanup work. They made contact and soon a team of orange-shirted volunteers was on their property, cleaning out the basement and preparing it for repair at no cost to Garry and Charity.

Along with the volunteers came two crisis-trained Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (BG-RRT) chaplains. They spent time with Garry and Charity, listening to their story and compassionately offering prayer and emotional support.

“We were really blessed,” recalled Garry, as signs of hope returned to his weary voice. “I told the chaplain that even just talking with us and praying for us takes a load off—especially when they prayed for our daughter.”

Most powerful kind of help

Garry noted that ultimately, the chaplains’ support was the most powerful kind of help he and Charity could have received: “If you’re emotionally and spiritually down, your body won’t work.”

Added Charity: “We really needed spiritual healing.”

Prompted by the Holy Spirit, the BG-RRT chaplains inquired about their faith life and discovered that although Garry and Charity regularly attend church, they didn’t fully embrace the truth that “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9, ESV).

“Our faith was not deep enough,” Garry admitted. “We weren’t lost, but our faith was weak.”

‘We feel differently now’

So the chaplains offered to lead them through the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s Steps to Peace with God evangelistic booklet. The Garry and Charity agreed, and when they were given a chance to pray the sinner’s prayer, both were eager to do so. Praise God!

“You’ve discovered Jesus isn’t about religion it’s about a relationship,” chaplain Steve Taylor told them after. And the Jimenezes agreed, saying “yes!” almost in unison.

“We feel differently now,” said Garry confidently. “And now I’m going to be bold (about sharing my faith).”

We praise the Lord for how He is using chaplains for His glory. Through your donations and prayers, you can be used by God to transform lives in Fort McMurray and around the world. Please continue this vital work.