How should people cope with tragedy? That’s a question Pastor Bruce Porter has had to answer again and again as a preacher, chaplain — and a good Samaritan who was heavily involved in helping victims of both the Columbine High School shooting in Littleton, Colo., and the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City.
Porter, the Colorado preacher who officiated Columbine victim Rachel Joy Scott’s funeral after the 1999 shooting, later found himself drawn to the scene of America’s most horrific terror attack, arriving at Ground Zero six days after the Sept. 11, 2001 assault to help minister to the afflicted. It was an experience that transformed his life.
“We all remember where we were and what we were doing [on 9/11] … the circumstances of our day,” Porter recently told PureFlix.com’s “Pure Talk.” “And I just sensed immediately that God was calling me with a sense of duty to respond to that, because I knew I had some skill sets that might be useful in New York.”
The pastor said that he was a good fit to help volunteer his time, considering his background as a local firefighter, pastor and chaplain. Porter also had plenty of experience helping people in Littleton, Colo., process grief after the Columbine massacre.
“I arrived on scene [in New York City] six days after the collapse of the Towers … the next morning I was on the pile,” he said. “What I saw, of course, was off-scale terrible. The rubble itself was just overwhelming … we were literally walking around in an open graveyard.”
Porter spent two weeks ministering to first responders who were forced to deal with the unthinkable — a deeply traumatic experience for all involved.
“It was really a mission of mercy, but I found myself really working more with the first responders … in counseling them,” he said. “Doing what I could to help them process what they were dealing with … the emotions were just overwhelming for people.”
Porter stressed the importance of being a light to help show others the Gospel, and said the experience at Ground Zero left him with some life-changing realizations.
“I think it reinforced in me the duty that every Christian bears to be responsive to the world around them, to be compassionate, to weep with those who weep, to rejoice with those who rejoice,” he said. “The good news and the love of Christ travels with least resistance over the golden wire of compassion.”
Porter also shared details of a dream that he had three months to the day before the Columbine shooting — a dream that he now believes was a foreshadowing of what was to come inside Columbine High School and at Ground Zero.
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Source: Christian Post