The Alliance Remembers—An American Tragedy

The following is a compilation of reflections received from several Alliance workers after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

I have seen the earthquake-torn ruins of Colombia, the war-ridden remains of the Congo, and still nothing compares to this. Words seem silly in describing it, like a two-year-old who knows only fifty words, describing the complexities of DNA. As I walked up to the site, trying to breathe through the dust and smoke that is still thick in the air, my heart turned to cast iron and sunk deep within my chest. It is hard not to groan physically at what you are seeing.

If God is the Master of creation, then what I saw is the most diametrically opposed to that that I ever hope to see. Yet, one block from hell stood the Billy Graham staff handing out tracts and praying with people on the street. I saw many people intensely reading the tracts and several going to those passing them out, asking for prayer. I wonder how many souls are being saved at this site where so many lives were lost.

—John Bucher, former Alliance videographer, from Ground Zero

International Workers Reflect

Two days after the tragedy, I wrote down some thoughts on the attack, using Psalm 46 as a backdrop. This I sent by e-mail to many of our Chilean friends. The National Church Missions Department decided to include it in its monthly newsletter (reaching an even wider audience).

An interesting response came from Juan Roberto Perez, an Alliance pastor in the southern city of Temuco. “Sunday, September 9, we felt that we needed to change our prayer meeting to Monday. We gathered on Monday night to pray and received a word from Isaiah 9, asking that the Prince of Peace  be manifested. We had a time of prayer against violence, keeping our country in mind and also the world as a whole. In another church some young people were praying on Monday. As they concluded, one of the girls said: “I am feeling a deep pain, something sad is going to happen today or tomorrow.”

I believe that intercession helped hold back some of the tragedy; but there remains a feeling of pain, that if Christians would take seriously the “ministry of prayer,” things would be very different. We will keep praying for you and for the nation.”

—Alliance worker in Chile

Everywhere we go we overhear people talking about the terrorists attacks on the United States. People are frightened and wondering what’s going to happen next. Our neighbor, who is a flight attendant and had just finished a run to New York a few days before, is traumatized.

Manuel, a believer in the Madrid church, waited eight hours on September 11 before hearing that his son, who was working across the street from the Twin Towers, was safe. The doorman of the building we live in poured out his heart and his fears about the mess the world is in. It’s almost as if the attacks had been on Spain.

Through the tragedy, Alliance workers and Spanish believers have had many opportunities to share the message of hope through Jesus Christ. Not only are many people in Spain more prepared to listen, but also the believers here sense the urgency to tell their fellow countrymen about the one and only way of salvation.

—An Alliance worker in Spain

In Paraguay, we learned about the tragedy in the United States during discipleship ministry. In the days that followed the incident, our phone rang constantly as Paraguayans called to express their sympathy and to see if our family members were okay.

Since that date we have found a greater openness to the gospel than before. People are interested to hear what the Bible has to say about the end times, and [we] have been speaking on biblical prophecy in many meetings. The first weekend in October we are having a mini conference on what the Bible has to say about world peace.

Paraguayans are curious to see how Americans are coping and reacting. This curiosity opens doors, allowing us to preach the gospel in places that previously were unavailable to us.

—An Alliance worker in Paraguay


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