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January 2002 – Update from “Ground Hero”

January 30, 2002 Leave a comment Go to comments

Thank you for your continued prayers.

Thursday, January 17th, Port Authority Sergeant John McLoughlin, a 22-year veteran of the department, was able to go home from a rehab hospital!  He is one of the two officers we requested prayer for.  He miraculously survived 22 hours trapped under a mountain of World Trade Center rubble, some 30 feet under-ground.  He was released after enduring 20 surgeries since his legs were crushed.  At a press conference, in a wheelchair with his 4- year old daughter on his lap, John said his wish was “to be walking as I used to, and get back to work and back to my precinct!”

Where do we start?  Ray has responded to the needs of the police and other emergency workers at the World Trade Center site in New York City.  He had been going down repeatedly, from September through December, 2001, and has been there each of the past three weeks of  2002.  Things are continually changing … for the better, perhaps, as far as the physical work is concerned, but not as far as the emotional, mental, and spiritual aftermath is concerned.

The heartaches grow … there is  multiplied depression, discouragement, and much disillusionment with all of the promises that were made, plus the inevitable separations, divorces, and suicides.  It is an incredible mission field, and hearts are open.

Just last week, a paramedic shared his experience on 9/11– that of running out of a building near Tower One to try to go to the aid of his co-workers who were trapped and screaming for help on the other side of Tower Two … only to be caught and buried under an emergency vehicle for several hours as Tower Two was hit.  It was late at night and cold as this 17-year veteran vented for forty-five minutes without stopping.  Nothing had prepared him for something like he experienced that day.  His wife left him, unable to cope with what happened.  He welcomed the tract and a New Testament, and said he would look up the questions-and-answers and help on our website.  Then, he sent an email and expressed his appreciation for Ray taking the time to let him talk.  There will be more follow-up with him.  There are others with similar stories …

A Verizon worker asked to sit across from me at a table in the respite that Calvary Chapel maintains just outside the perimeter.  I asked him how he was doing – that is all it took.  He stopped eating his hot meal and began to share how he was unaware that Tower One was hit … he was working in WTC 4, next to Tower Two, and was shocked to see burning papers and other debris falling from the sky when he went outside … then, Tower Two was hit … he and others just ran … he saw people falling … some holding hands … and he ran faster … somehow just talking about it helped.

There are many others, even after four months, who have never really spoken much about that day … there are few who will stop and listen.  An Italian shoe repairman who had a little shop near Broadway, several blocks from the disaster site, told how his shop and much of his equipment were destroyed … he was so kind to repair Ray’s boots – even to buy Ray a cup of coffee while waiting for the repair … just another traumatized survivor who will never quite be the same again.

Ray carries a large supply of ONLY ONE SON tracts, as well as New Testaments in his BDUs – black fatigue pants with six large storage pockets, as well as his field jacket!   He usually does not return with any left.  It just seems normal to speak to someone who does not have much hope for the future, and to point them to Psalm 18:1-3, where David speaks of the LORD as his“Buckler” – a Hebrew word that means “shield” or “protector” – and “my High Tower” (verse 2) – and then share that the Lord God Almighty is a “High Tower,” Who will never fall nor fail like the World Trade Towers did.  Ray had read that Scripture passage only an hour before Tower One was hit on September 11th, 2001.  God’s Word is powerful and pertinent!

Ray and Barb Payne

The Lord continues to give us opportunities to speak in churches, luncheons and other places for now.  How long with the theme be about 9/11 and survival?   A schedule was recently released to tell us that “Phase 2” is planned for later this spring, and will include the first round of formal debriefings, and “Phase 3” will be in September and will continue formal debriefings.  We wonder what God’s schedule is.  We do not know, but we are willing to be available as long as the need is there, and the Lord indicates we should be there.

We truly depend upon your faithfulness in prayer support!   “… praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;  and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds:  that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”
Ephesians 6:18-20

In Christ’s Love,

Barb and Ray

II Timothy 1:12

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  1. June 20, 2012 at 2:57 pm

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