In the wake of deadly terrorist attacks last week in Brussels, Belgium, crisis-trained chaplains with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team have deployed to the area to offer emotional and spiritual care.
Jeff Naber, a crisis-trained chaplain with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (RRT), was looking for lighters Monday morning during his deployment in Brussels, Belgium. Nearby, a Spaniard named Jorge was walking his Siberian dog.
The brisk wind kept extinguishing candles lit by people at the memorial set up for victims of last week’s terrorist attacks. Visitors wanted to relight the candles, so Naber figured providing lighters was an easy way to help out.
But as he left the store empty-handed, his plans shifted from finding fire to sharing the Light with Jorge.
“Coming back from the store, and I run across this guy walking this huge dog,” said Naber, manager of chaplain development and ministry relations for the RRT. “One thing leads to another, and we start talking about God. He said, ‘I don’t know if you need to know Jesus in order to have eternal life.’ I explained the Gospel message using the Steps to Peace and he accepted Christ about an hour ago.”
Jorge’s story is one of several Naber shared Monday by phone as he walked through the Belgium capital. Five RRT chaplains, including Naber, are ministering in Brussels and four more arrive today. This deployment is a joint effort between Billy Graham Rapid Response Teams in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Naber, a U.S. chaplain, said the people they encounter are somewhat cautious, particularly if God’s name is brought up. Still, the chaplains have seen the hand of God as they’ve prayed with several people and reached out to support local churches.
Tensions there are high, though. It’s barely been a week since deadly bombings shook the airport and metro station, and Naber has learned from talking with locals that there’s an overwhelming perception that something else is coming. There is a strong police and military presence there, and precautionary measures are being taken.
As Naber walked down the plaza Monday, he shared that people were continually gathering around an outdoor memorial. Belgium Armed Forces, donning face scarves and toting machine guns, were patrolling the area. Two soldiers he prayed with told Naber they have been working 12-hour shifts daily since the terrorist attacks last week.
“No one expects things to just go away now,” Naber said. “Everyone expects something to happen soon, within days even. I hope that doesn’t happen. Everybody says they hope that doesn’t happen.
“There’s a lot of strife, but if you look at John 16:33 you’ll see where Jesus says, ‘In this world, you’re going to be faced with trials and troubles, but take heart because I have overcome the world.’
“And that’s our message.”
Please pray for healing in Brussels and that people there would not only be receptive to hearing the Good News but ultimately would invite Jesus into their hearts.