Photo from flickr by Bianca Dagheti (CC BY-ND 2.0).

Rapid Response Team chaplains from Canada arrive in Paris

CALGARY, AB---The first three members---all of them Canadians---of a multinational team of French-speaking, crisis-trained Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (RRT) chaplains have arrived in Paris. They will provide emotional and spiritual support to heart-broken Parisians after ISIS terrorists killed 129 people and injured 352 others on Friday, February 13, 2015.

“We’re here to provide comfort and support on the Name of Jesus during one of the most tragic periods in France’s modern history,” says Laurent Trabadello of Calgary, who is leading the RRT team in Paris.

The RRT arrived at one of the sites of the tragedy---a restaurant called La Belle Equipe (or “the beautiful team”) where 19 people were killed, including (according to a wire story in today’s Calgary Herald) the restaurant owner’s wife.

"The team is conducting itself in a very respectful and sensitive manner---meaning we are quietly praying alongside many grieving Parisians," says Trabadello. "We will gently introduce ourselves when the circumstances seem appropriate---not pushing ourselves on anyone. There is a large crowd of people at the restaurant site, with many of them weeping."

Local churches are organizing a large meeting tomorrow to begin planning how they can assist so many heart-broken people, and the Billy Graham RRT chaplains have been invited to the meeting to provide input and help where possible.

More RRT chaplains from Canada, the U.S., and United Kingdom will be arriving in the French city soon. They will be serving in partnership with a local church and other local Christian organizations.

The chaplains are responding to the worst violence France has experienced in more than 70 years. Armed ISIS terrorists attacked six sites on Friday night in the heart of Paris, including a concert hall where more than 80 people died, plus a national soccer stadium, and two restaurants.

BGEA President Franklin Graham, who directed that RRT chaplains be deployed to Paris, has asked Christians worldwide to “join me in praying for the French people—all those injured and the loved ones of the victims of these barbaric attacks.”

“We are grateful for Canadian donors and their ongoing support of our RRT chaplain ministry,” says BGEA Canada executive director Fred Weiss. “That support has enabled our chaplains to provide emotional and spiritual support in response to more than 30 crises and tragedies in Canada and the U.S. in the past 10 years. In each situation, the chaplains offer the compassion and hope of Christ.”

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