Franklin Graham's Samaritan's Purse Reach Out to Tornadoes-Devastated Nebraska Town

( [email protected] ) Jun 18, 2014 09:23 PM EDT
Samaritan's Purse, a Christian relief organization led by Franklin Graham, will head to a town in Nebraska devastated by two tornadoes. While the mission team plans to help rebuild the community through physical efforts, they also hope to minister spiritually and emotionally to victims of the disaster.
Samaritan's Purse is sending help to the area ravaged by deadly twisters associated press

The tiny town of Pilger in northeast Nebraska town was left in ruins after two tornadoes swept through parts of the state, killing two people and wounding dozens more.

In response, Christian relief organization Samaritan's Purse has deployed disaster relief teams to the area, bringing generators, heavy-duty plastic tarps, and others tools to help rebuild the devastated community.

"The reports we've received about yesterday's storms are devastating," said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan's Purse, in a statement. "This community lost everything including their town's business district and fire station. We will be there for as long as it takes to support them and help them begin rebuilding their lives."

Monday night, twin tornadoes destroyed Pilger's fire station and reduced between 40 to 50 homes to rubble, Stanton County Sheriff Mike Unger said, according to USA Today. One of the people who died was a 5-year-old, while the second was from a weather-related traffic accident.

All the residents of Pilger evacuated their homes, many leaving for shelters in nearby towns.

"More than half of the town is gone - absolutely gone," Stanton County Commissioner Jerry Weatherholt said. "The co-op is gone, the grain bins are gone, and it looks like almost every house in town has some damage. It's a complete mess."

Faith Regional Health Services in Norfolk added that 16 people were critically injured in the storms. Severe weather also caused damage in Madison, Wisconsin, and nearby towns, but no deaths were reported there.

Samaritan's Purse staff will work alongside local emergency officials, the National Guard and local churches in Pilger to clean up debris, salvage personal belongings, and rebuild leveled houses.

More importantly, the mission teams plan to provide emotional and spiritual support to victims of the tornadoes.

The organization's website states: "As our teams work in crisis areas of the world, people often ask, "Why did you come?" The answer is always the same: "We have come to help you in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ." Our ministry is all about Jesus-first, last, and always. As the Apostle Paul said, "For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake" (2 Corinthians 4:5, NIV).

The Christian relief organization led by Billy Graham's son has helped over 28,000 families in 31 U.S. states that have suffered hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, fires and ice storms. The group is currently also helping flood victims in Pensacola, Florida.