BGEA Chaplains in Snohomish County, Wash., Scene of Deadly Mudslides

By Trevor Freeze On March 27, 2014

The news reports continue to paint a bleak picture in the state of Washington.

Massive mudslides have claimed the lives of at least 24 people and another 176 are still reported missing.

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But in the midst of much hopelessness and chaos, the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team has sent chaplain coordinators to assess the situation in Snohomish County, ground zero for this Pacific Northwest tragedy.

"The chaplains are assessing the area to see where we can fit in and help," said Al New, deployment manager of the Rapid Response Team.

Oso and Darrington are the two neighboring cities most affected in Snohomish County. Normally, a short drive connects the two small neighboring towns, but after the disastrous mudslides, it takes up to two hours to get from one town to the next through alternate roads.

"What the mudslide has done is cut those two towns in half," New said.

Ray and Suzanne Thompson, the two chaplain coordinators currently in Washington, met up with Howard Lewis, a police chaplain in Snohomish County and also a crisis-trained Rapid Response Team chaplain, to help assess the situation.

"The only personnel they're allowing in that one square mile is essential personnel for search and rescue," New said. "Everybody seems to be overwhelmed and that's understandable."

The Thompsons have been invited to a prayer meeting tonight and a 10 a.m. chaplain meeting in Arlington, Wash.

The Rapid Response Team asks for continued prayers for those missing along with the families of the victims.

©Billy Graham Evangelistic Association