Billy Graham team chaplain helps kids process grieving

Author Ginger Sanders has released two new books recently. They are children’s book Fireflies, and He Goes Before Us, which shares powerful and poignant experiences as a chaplain for the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team. I interviewed her recently.

ginger sandersThe Gadsden, Alabama, resident maintains a winter home in Florida. She and her husband Denny trained and served as chaplains with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association following their retirement from successful careers; hers in finance and his in law enforcement. As chaplain coordinators, they are on call in case of disasters, natural and manmade, to give emotional and spiritual care.

Fireflies: Sharing God’s Light in the Time of Loss. Published by Xulon Press, the book is available from major online booksellers, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books A Million. It is illustrated by Tracy Applewhite Broome.

The book deals with talking with young children about the difficult subject of the death of a loved one. Fireflies is based on her true encounter as a chaplain with a family who lost their 2-year-old son Trevor. She helped his 5-year-old brother Tyler process the grief in a way he could understand.

The back of the book has a “memory page” to place your loved one’s picture and write down information. Another page will help lead a child to Christ; two churches have asked permission to use that page in their children’s departments.fireflies book

A portion of the proceeds go to the Billy Graham team.

He Goes Before Us came about from journaling that Sanders did from serving as a chaplain. The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team sent her and her husband to such locations as Sandy Hook and Aurora. She saw things that only God could have brought about.

“We serve an amazing God,” she said. “Putting it down on paper helped me realize just how awesome He is.”

People encouraged Sanders to share her experiences. At 2 a.m. one morning, she woke up with the words coming to her from Deuteronomy 31:8: “And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.” It seemed to her that God was telling her those stories could be put into a book and He would take care of it.

She and her husband had a saying as chaplains: What you’re sent there for may not be what you’re sent there for. In other words, a chaplain may go to the scene of a tragedy to serve physical needs but the people going through the calamity were already experiencing storms in their lives spiritually.

Sanders’ first book, Round Eyes, is about an adopted son from South Korea who realizes he looks different from other children. It is OK to be different, the book says; it’s the love that matters. There are sprinklings of Scriptures.

To find her author page on Facebook, search for @Gingersandersauthor.

— Jason Reynolds

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