Sunday, September 11, 2011

My 9-11 Story

My September 11 story began in June of 2001. We were missionaries to Romania on furlough. We were in New York trying to raise support to return to the field. We had a day off and decided to go to the Statue of Liberty. This was my first time there; the kids too. I remember standing there looking across the skyline of New York City. I had always wanted to go there. I made up my mind right then and there that we would go on our next trip to New York which was coming up in September. Ten year old Gabriel didn't seem as impressed as I was with the skyline. One comment about the world trade center buildings was, "They're not twin towers. One has an antenna on top."

Three months later we found ourselves in New York again. We were busy visiting several churches and spending time with John's family. John asked at one point, "What do you want to do on Tuesday?" I forgot about my determination to go to New York City. I forgot about the Empire State Building and the Twin Towers. It never occurred to me that we would be only an hour away on Wednesday and it would be a very feasible trip on Tuesday. All of that completely slipped my mind. Instead I said something like, "I don't know. I think it would be a good idea to stay at the mission apartment and do some homeschooling with the kids." And that is exactly what I did. John had heard about a preachers' meeting going on that day and so he left early to do that. I was there in that church apartment, prophet chamber as it was called. We pulled out our books and I was so glad to get some much needed school work done.

It was a nice place to stay. There were two bedrooms and a bathroom. There was an old TV on the dresser. The kind where you pull the knob out to turn it on and it takes a while to warm up. We didn't bother turning the TV on. We had school. Did I have a cell phone? I don't remember. I would say probably not because John had not contacted me. Neither did anyone else. We were pretty much in our own little world that day. As far as we knew, it was just your run of the mill average day. How very wrong we were.

It was about 2:30 PM when a lady from the church came over. She was also a homeschool mom and we had made plans to fly kites together that afternoon. She came into the church kitchen with a distraught look on her face, "Have you heard what happened?" she asked me. By her facial expression, I knew it was serious. I had no idea that it was an event that would forever change all of our lives. As she shared the impossible news, I wondered what had happened to our country. How was it that our security was so lax that so many planes could be hijacked?

We went to the room with the old fashioned black and white TV and pulled the knob to turn it on. It wasn't hard to find a channel broadcasting the news. By that point, both buildings were long gone and they showed over and over how they had collapsed. It was then that I saw the antenna on the one tower - and I remembered! I remembered Gabriel's words on how they weren't really twins. I remembered my desire to visit the city. Oh how I had wanted to go! And that was our free day, the day that it would have been possible to go - and I had forgotten.

Why did God spare us, and not others, from possible death and certain calamity? (Just being in the city that day must have been a nightmare.) I am sure I will never know as long as I live on this earth. For His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. We are blessed by His mercy and His grace. Our hearts are grieved by the tragedy that touched all of our lives. I hope that as Americans we will never forget what has happened; that we will continue to be a strong nation that will fight for our freedom. And I pray that as Christians, we will love God with all of our heart, soul and strength and share His mercy and grace with all. May God bless America!


  1. So glad you forgot and didn't go into NYC that day...God knew. He has his protective hedge around your family.

  2. Wow, Karen. That was surely God keeping you for a greater purpose!