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Teams deploy to serve Alabama tornado victims, college ministry expands to HBCU campuses, Nazarene ministry serves displaced Armenians

The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team deployed chaplains to Center Point, Alabama, last week after a tornado ripped through Jefferson County, killing at least one, injuring others, and damaging homes and businesses. The crisis-trained chaplains will provide emotional and spiritual care to storm victims. This is BG-RRT’s third deployment of 2021—the other two are at Samaritan’s Purse Field Hospitals for COVID-19 patients in North Carolina and California

Also responding to the devastation in central Alabama, Mercy Chefs deployed two mobile kitchens to Fultondale, Alabama, where a 14-year-old high school freshman was killed as a result of the storm. Chef teams served their first meal at lunch on Jan. 27 and will continue to serve meals to tornado victims, first responders, clean-up crews, and other volunteers. This marks Mercy Chefs’ first disaster response team of 2021. The kitchens are partnering with Church of the Highlands.  

This year, Chi Alpha Campus Ministries, a college discipleship ministry sponsored by Assemblies of God, is slated to launch two new chapters on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), making for a total of eight. That’s up from just one HBCU chapter in 2015. Sir James Offord and his wife joined the Chi Alpha National Diversity Task Force three years ago to help launch the new teams after learning that of all U.S.-based missionaries, only 1 percent are African Americans—and of those, only a few are stationed at any of the country’s 104 HBCU campuses, according to Assemblies of God. Offord and his wife now lead a team at Prairie View A&M University.

Several Church of the Nazarene congregations in Armenia are partnering with Nazarene Compassionate Ministries to provide care to those displaced by the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Nazarene members are providing food, clothing, mattresses, blankets, and hygiene items to people sheltering in empty apartments and homes, where families are often packed together, sometimes without furniture or heating. See our November report of other ministries serving displaced Armenians. 

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Christina Darnell

Christina Darnell is a freelance writer who has contributed to WORLD, The Charlotte Observer, and other publications.

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