9/11 survivor speaks

Sujo John spoke at Convocation and inspired students to trust God

Seven years ago, Sujo John spoke to the students of Liberty University.

On Friday, Sept. 9 he was on the stage in the Vines Center to share his story with a new group of students.

His story is one of realizing God’s call on his life, surviving a horrific event and then following that call. It started when he was in the World Trade Center Sept. 11, 2001.

Sujo John said he and his wife came to America from India and found jobs in the World Trade Center.

He worked in the North Tower and she worked in the South Tower.

The morning of Sept. 11, he went to work while she decided to have a late morning at home. He reached his office, pondering what the call on his life was.

TESTIMONY — 9/11 survivor Sujo John shares his story with students at Convocation.  Photo credit: Michela Diddle

TESTIMONY — 9/11 survivor Sujo John shares his story with students at Convocation. Photo credit: Michela Diddle

He described how he sent an email at 8:05 a.m. to a friend in India telling how he felt that God wanted to use him and asked for prayer.

Forty minutes later, he heard an awful explosion. The first plane had hit the north tower.

Survival instinct had everyone on his floor frantically looking for a way out. Then they heard another explosion. The second plane had hit the South Tower.

A mass of people streamed down from the 81st floor, where John worked. When they reached the 41st floor, a new sight hit them, but it wasn’t one of destruction and terror.

Everyone coming down the stairs saw firemen and policemen working their way up.

“It is a sight I will never forget,” John said.

He shared his appreciation for the men and women who showed that they were willing to sacrifice themselves to let men like him live.

It was an amazing sacrifice as well as an embodiment of a biblical principle, John said.

When they made it to the ground floor, they were shocked by the destruction and death that the attack had caused.

“I was confronted with my mortality,” John said. “My soul has an eternal destination.”

He knew that if he were to die, he would go to heaven. It struck him at the base of the tower that it is Christ who saves.

In the face of destruction and with death surrounding him and the people with him, he did something that he had never done before.

“I started crying out to Jesus … No one argued with me,” John said.

That day changed his life forever. His wife, who was pregnant at the time, had delayed her arrival to work and survived the South Tower’s collapse.

John had retained everything precious to him and believed that God had called him to ministry.

John used his story to encourage students to “sail away from safe harbors.”

He said life is full of stories that should be experienced and expressed, and that God has a specific plan for every person.

John told students that they should jump in and follow God.

He said his story should be an example of how God can bring someone through a horrible event and then use him or her.

“I loved the passion he had behind his message,” Liberty University senior Leah Melcher said.

“A lot of people talk about the unsaved, but there’s a lot of Christians who are ‘closet Christians’ like he said.”

“The part of his testimony that stuck with me the most was how he had been basically praying for something to happen to deepen his faith and God brought him through this event,” Liberty University senior Emily Compton said.

Surviving the attacks of 9/11 happened through the grace of God. John expressed that to the student body.

He felt the Lord call him to “get out of a building and look for broken hearted people.”

Now residing with his wife and three children in Dallas, Texas, he runs a ministry against sex trafficking called youcanfreeus. More information can be found at campaign.youcanfree.us.

John’s story is a powerful one that expresses the power of God and how He can have a plan for your life.

He called for the student body to fearlessly follow God and see where it leads. According to John, God won’t let you fall.

Bordelon is a news reporter.

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