When the Towers Fell
Today on the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11, many people can still recall where they were and what they were doing during that tragic day. On that Tuesday morning, the Lord led me to do street ministry in Springfield, Virginia (at the time I was living in the nearby city of Manassas). The first two people I prayed with were teenaged boys on their way to school. Later while browsing around a Barnes & Noble bookstore, I overheard someone talk about a plane crash. I figured if it was something serious, I would later hear about it on the news.
Not long afterwards, I walked into an electronics store and noticed people crowded around a big screen TV. It was then I heard about the planes crashing into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon (which is only ten miles from Springfield)! Increased boldness came upon me and I altered my evangelism approach for the rest of the day. First I asked people if they heard what just happened in New York City and Washington, DC. Then I asked if they would be in heaven had they perished in one of those attacks. Sadly, many of them were still oblivious to their need for salvation. One man in a military uniform walked away from me without saying a word. Fortunately, five more people prayed to get born again including folks originally from France, India, and Romania.
The next morning, the Lord woke me up at 4:00 a.m. and told me to go back to Springfield to do more evangelism. That day I prayed with eleven people to receive salvation. One in particular was by far the most memorable. When I returned to Barnes & Noble, the instrumental music playing in the background caught my attention. I asked an employee about it and we got into a lengthy conversation. Jaime was a Spanish immigrant who was very friendly and we eventually talked about the terrorist attacks. I found out Jaime literally saw the plane crash into the Pentagon on his way to work! He then asked why God would allow things like that happen to good people. I explained to Jaime that it’s the devil that influences people to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10). Jaime later prayed to get born again. It was definitely a divine appointment.
There were people I knew who had close calls related to the events of 9/11…
* The wife of my then-pastor worked at the Pentagon. Her office was in the very same section that was hit by the plane, which stopped one wall short of where she was sitting! Fortunately she didn't experience serious injuries.
* The father of a friend of mine in Virginia also worked at the Pentagon. He planned on getting cash at an ATM machine where the plane later hit. This man changed his mind at the last minute. That decision saved his life.
* Two ladies I know who lived and worked at Calvary Campground in Ashland, Virginia took a trip to New York and made plans to tour the World Trade Center on the evening of September 11. It was a good thing they didn't go there earlier that day before the planes hit.
* On the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance (September 14, 2001) declared by President George W. Bush, I felt led to call a friend of mine who lived in the Philadelphia area. Ellen told me a couple we both knew was visiting her and had ministered at a New York church the Sunday before. This couple originally planned on staying in New York two more days to do some sightseeing. But the wife felt a strong prompting to get out of New York sooner.
The next time a horrific event like 9/11 happens, use that as an opportunity to share the gospel with people. Some individuals need a serious wake-up call to realize their lives can suddenly end without warning. One minister I know in New York often says, “Meet your Maker before you meet your undertaker!”
“There will be on every high mountain and on every high hill rivers and streams of waters, in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall” - Isaiah 30:25