When terror hit the United States on September 11, members of the Seattle Pacific University community around the world were affected. From New York to Seattle, Germany to Bosnia, many students, alumni, faculty and staff sought out their friends and professors at SPU, sharing their stories through phone calls, letters and the Online Response Bulletin Board. Here are excerpts from some of those stories.

Being abroad in such times as these is incredibly difficult. I am amazed every day at the outpouring of love, faith and prayer by the Oxford City community, let alone the whole country. I walk by signs outside community centers that read "Come pray for America" and hear about prayer meetings in churches, synagogues and mosques everywhere. I am grateful for such sympathy from strangers and members of the community here. Though saddened and somber, I know there is indeed Light in the darkness of this world.

Jessica Harmon, SPU student, currently studying with the Oxford Study Abroad Programme
Oxford, England

I am trying to pack because I leave home for school tomorrow. I have filled my days this week with task upon task to try and get my mind off of this horrific tragedy, but it never escapes me and I just weep every day. … My mom is from Manhattan and half of my family lives there. They are all okay, and so are my high school friends who live there, but none are Christians and I am the only one who has a faith that transcends circumstances. … I know school will be wonderful — Seattle is always good — but I'm having a really hard time thinking about leaving my mom during this rough time. If you could be praying for her, as well as my aunts, uncles and friends in NYC, I'd appreciate it.

Casey Robinson-Pierce, SPU student
Fresno, California

I currently am living in New York City right above the main morgue where they are bringing all of the bodies found so far in the rubble. I am right in the thick of everything and just want everyone to know how touching it is to see the whole nation, indeed the whole world, rally in support of my fellow New Yorkers. … I have been to Ground Zero to give eyewashes to firefighters and have worked with some of the families of missing people. It is heart-wrenching and surreal, even having seen the wreckage with my own eyes. I have a hard time wrapping my mind around it all. For those of us who are residents of New York, it is impossible to go on as normal. We appreciate your thoughts and prayers.

Jaclin Springer '01, New York University School of Medicine student
New York, New York

I am still in shock from watching those planes become bombs at the tops of our buildings; I am incredibly sorrowful that so many have been murdered in this city that I have called home for so many years. My heart aches for all the families who have lost loved ones. My heart aches with such evidence of hate and evil. The reminders are here that God's love and grace are with us, and the knowledge that nothing will separate us from our God is my hope.

Sandra Olson '84, marketing professional for School Evaluation Services, a division of Standard and Poor's
New York, New York

I am currently studying in the Middle East through a consortium. I would appreciate prayers because my group is a little concerned as to what our government will do and how Afghanistan will respond. Please keep all overseas students in your thoughts during this time.

Kelly Satrum, SPU student, currently studying with the Middle East Studies Program
Cairo, Egypt

I deployed to Bosnia on September 6 as a part of the medical task force that supports one third of Bosnia. On the 11th, I was waiting for the rest of my soldiers to arrive. I don't think that I will ever forget what I was doing that day, or how it seems that the whole world has changed since then. …

I am thankful to be here serving now. We train as if our lives depend on it, because other people's lives do depend on it. For everyone, there is a renewed willingness to do whatever is asked of us. We work hand in hand with people from so many different countries, and their support is unbelievable. On this base alone, there are Finnish, Danish, Russian, French, Italian, Turkish and other soldiers. … This is a new world, but it feels like one where people bond together and forget differences in order to reach a common goal.

Though we stand ready, I pray that we don't go to war. But I am glad to be serving here. I am lucky to be here with people I respect and can learn from.

Anne Marie Olney Sterling '00, U.S. Army Second Lieutenant, Task Force Med Eagle, Tactical Operations Center
Eagle Base, Tuzla, Bosnia

I am an Army Judge Advocate with the 1st Armored Division over here in Germany. Like all of you, we were stunned when we first realized what was happening and tried to process it. However, we soon turned to business and I was busy working long hours on force protection issues and coordinating with the Division JAG offices around Germany.

… Perhaps the most moving thing I've seen is how our German neighbors have shown their support of us. Our gates have become drop-off points for flowers and candles. I participated in a walk from one town nearby where we have some of our military housing to our main gate here in Friedberg. It was set up by the Germans, and it was good to walk with them and remember and honor those who died and those who have worked so hard to meet the challenges in NY and the Pentagon. My wife, Melody Fields '94, got a call from friends of ours in France who had been watching on French TV and wanted to express their sympathy and their support for us. It is so encouraging to see how America, and the world, have united together after this effort to tear us apart. It makes me proud to wear this uniform.

Geoff DeWeese '94, U.S. Army Captain, 1st Army Division JAG
Friedberg, Germany

As a Christian, I'm called to see the pain in my midst that is always there, particularly the sorrows that without media attention are so easy to overlook. I'm challenged to live mindfully, remembering it is always important to have compassion, to give blood, to have candelight vigils, to pray and, as difficult as it is, to let my heart be broken.

And that's why I must fill my soul with God, so that I will not be overwhelmed, and why I also love praying collectively each week the prayers of my Episcopal tradition: Comfort and heal all those who suffer in body, mind or spirit; give them courage and hope in their troubles, and bring them the joy of your salvation.

Cheryl Ginter '87, Master Gardener
Sammamish, Washington

I started my new internship at the White House on September 11, 2001. I came in at 9:00 a.m. and noticed that everybody was huddled around the TVs as they watched the planes crash into the WTC. The reality of the circumstances did not really set in. It was very tragic, but we continued the day and I met my new boss and learned of my new schedule when we got a call to turn to CNN. We did not know what we were looking for until we saw a message at the bottom of the screen saying the Pentagon had been hit. The next thing we heard was, "evacuate the building."

This was so new to me as I ran with everybody through the halls as the Secret Service invaded the building. The main image that stuck in my mind was when I ran out the gates hearing the sirens and smelling the smoke and then looking up and seeing a big white plane circling the White House. … Please continue to pray for our leaders as they handle this situation in the correct way. God has put me in an amazing place right now. My position is handing all of the religious aspects of this event. It is an incredible time to witness about our faith in Jesus Christ.

Will Miller, SPU student, currently working at the White House through an SPU internship
Washington, DC

I was woken by a knock on the door the morning of the 11th. A friend told me of the attacks and we watched CNN in disbelief as the buildings came tumbling down. Not much later my Marine Corps Reserve Unit gave me a call to inform me of our 24-hour standby status. I knew that I would be deployed at some time during my eight-year contract with the Reserves, but not so soon, not while I was still in school.

Since I have returned to start Autumn Quarter at SPU and gotten back into the routine of work, school and play, it has been odd to have thoughts of going to war in the back of my mind. I wonder how it will be to put my life on hold at the instant that they call me in, and what it will be like to come home and see life a little differently than before. …

We are still on standby and awaiting further orders. I know that God's plan for me includes a ministry in the military. He has used me to have open arms to others seeking Him while in training. Please pray that I can continue to be a light to my fellow servicemen and women if I am deployed.

Steven Campbell, SPU student and U.S. Marine Corps Reserves Lance Corporal
Jackson, California

… Man, I'm angry. Every morning I wake up with a pit in the gut. It's not flying that bothers me. Instead, it's the realization that when I drive to work I have to look at a mass grave. It truly is grotesque. My profession has been defiled. I grieve for the crew of those four aircraft. This was the ultimate sucker punch. Just the thought of passengers hurt is hateful to the airline pilot.

In light of all this I want to share with you that Dave, my co-pilot, has found great strength in his faith in Christ. As he watched the attacks in person from the Newark Airport, he prayed and worried for his family. His cousin led a regular Bible study at Cantor Fitz-gerald. Dave told me that as his office in the WTC filled with smoke, his cousin called his family to say goodbye and to give his love. He knew the Lord was with him.

What can we do? Well, we can pray. Jesus loves us and longs to heal our hearts and souls. Pray for the victims. We can pray for our president and his cabinet as they make some truly momentous and difficult decisions. We can love our neighbors, whoever they may be. We can pray for the twisted hearts of our enemies. We can also support our troops and steel ourselves for the battle ahead. …

Ed Kennedy '87, Continental Express pilot
South Glen Falls, New York

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