TipriTV.com My life journey started in the city of Calcutta in the nation of India. I thought my calling would be in business, so I ended up with a bachelor’s in business, and a MBA in business. Then I meet this young girl, fall in love, and get married in January of 2000. In February of 2001, I pack up my bags and leave Calcutta, India for a new life in America. I left home with 2 suitcases and $50, in my wallet. I landed in NYC on a cold day, and a few weeks after landing in America, I find work on the 81st floor of the north tower of the World Trade Center. My wife, Mary, finds work on the 71st floor of the south tower of the World Trade Center. Everything now was going so well for us; and then rolls in September 2001. This is an exciting time for us. My wife is now 4 months pregnant with our first child. But I happened to also pick up a book the first week in September, The Prayer of Jabez. That book really got me to thinking, and I started asking questions—“God, what is your purpose in having me move to America? Is it all about the success and fame that I can find in this country? Or is there something more?”
It is a most beautiful, clear day on the east coast. I am on the 81st floor of the north tower. I sent out an email to someone that goes to my church saying, “Something is happening to me this morning, I know there is a call of God on my life. I have just been chasing stuff in America, but I want to be used of God.” It’s 8:05 in the morning, and I hit the ‘send’ button on my email. I’m standing by the fax machine, trying to send some documents out to our office in Philadelphia, and I hear this incredible explosion. This huge jet plane had now come crashing into our tower. What followed was the building started shaking violently, the walls began to cave down, I started seeing things fall all around us. Jet fuel by then had made its way down onto our floor. Fire breaks out all around us. So we start fighting our way to the stairwell. Thousands of people are now joining us into that stairwell. The fear of death is written on the face of everyone. We hear another explosion that is the second plane crashing into the second tower. I am trying to reach my wife through my cell phone. I borrow the phones of the people who are with me, but our cell phones just wouldn’t work. I say to God, “If this building is going to go down with us, I’m never going to see my wife, I’m never going to see the child she is carrying.” I get to this level which is called the plaza, but now this place of life, this place of exuberance, has been turned in to a place of death, a place of destruction, as I see hundreds of bodies of people that jumped out of the buildings, people who were in those planes. I start walking toward the south tower. I had no idea what was about to happen. I was fifteen or twenty feet away from this building, when I suddenly realize that the ground that I was standing on, the ground around me was shaking. I felt like I was being sucked in to some kind of vacuum that was being created around me. I heard another incredible roar; I thought it was a bomb, but this was not a bomb. The building that was the south tower was finally imploding and going down.
When I was about nine years of age, I watched my only sister die from leukemia, and it did not make sense to me. If there is a loving God, if there is a God who is interested and involved in the affairs of men, then why is there death, why is there suffering? Now I looked around, and there are 15-20 people around me, and by then we had huddled together. And now this thought comes to my mind, “These people that are with you, where are they going without Jesus?” And up until that moment in my life, I was a closet Christian. I would never be very vocal about my faith, but facing death, I feel this boldness to speak up for Jesus and I started crying out to Jesus, and I asked those 15-20 people to call upon the name of the Lord. The most incredible thing happened. Not one tried to argue with me or debate with me. But as I started calling upon the name of the Lord, they followed in unison, and I could hear these people cry, “Jesus,” with me for a few minutes. After about 20 minutes I am surprised that I am still alive. I am plastered with soot and ash, and I could not breath because the soot and ash were getting in my lungs. I decided to crawl and feel my way back to the place where I prayed with those people, only to realize that those people who had just prayed with me did not make it out alive. Their bodies were smashed and crushed.
I said, “God, they just called upon your name, and how come did they not make it?” And I felt God saying, “Sujo, they made their peace with me in their dying moments and they are resting with me in my presence.” And now something amazing happens, a red light begins to flash through the soot and through the smoke, and the light now leads us out of the pit, and I am trying to run out of ground zero, when suddenly I hear another roar and I look back and this is the north tower collapsing. I am out of the debris and by now the towers have collapsed, both of the towers have collapsed. Dust, smoke, ash, balls of fire rising out of ground zero, and I’m sitting right in the middle of one of the streets of New York City wondering, “God, why did you spare my life? For sure my wife is dead and I have now given up hope about my pregnant wife.”
I felt impressed that I should walk in a store that is right across from me. A young girl from the store comes out, and pulls me in and started removing glass from my hair and says let me call your family for you. I tell her what I thought has happened to my wife, and she takes my cell phone, and as she is trying to pull some numbers out of my cell phone, my cell phone rings for the very first time that day in that girl’s hand. She hands me back the phone, and I flip the phone and see my wife’s caller ID on it. I’m thinking it’s someone else calling me with the news that my wife is dead. So I picked up the call with a lot of fear, thinking that would be the worst news of my life. But when I said, “Hello”, it was my wife on the other side. Her life was spared. She tells me what happened to her. She wanted to go to work early that day. But that morning she was late to work, and now we meet each other later that day. It was the most amazing moment. From the sheer fear, that each of us thought that the other is dead, to now finally be reunited. That night I said, “God, I am done chasing things that have been on my heart. I have been chasing success, fame, financial security, but from now on I want to be chasing that which is in your heart. I’m convinced that all that is in your heart is people. People from all over the world, many of them have never heard your name even once. So God, I want to be a proclaimer of the good news of Jesus Christ. I want to redeem my time. So God, here is a surrendered life, would your rewrite the story of my life?”
My name is Sujo John and I am second.