Founder of Sujo John Ministries
Author, Do You Know Where You Are Going? (Lantern 2002);
Featured on: BBC, Billy Graham Special, TBN, Associated Press, CBC, The New York Times, The Times- London, The National Post
Education: Bachelor in Commerce and an MBA in Business
Married to Mary, 2 children, Jeremy (8) and Sophia (4)
Sujo John: September 11, 2001... A Survivor's Story
The 700 Club
September 10, 2010
September 11, 2001... A Survivor's Story
In February 2001, Sujo and his wife Mary moved from India and started their new life in America.They were expecting their first child and lived outside of New York City. Both of them had good jobs at the World Trade Center. Sujo worked on the 81st floor of Tower 1, Mary worked on the 71st floor of Tower 2. Though he had many blessings in his life, Sujo began to feel a deep sense of emptiness. He knew there was a great call of God on his life, but he didn’t know what it was or what to do about it.
The morning of September 11th, Sujo commuted to work early that morning. When he arrived at his office in Tower 1, he decided to e-mail his friend at church telling him how he felt and how he was looking for purpose in his life. Sujo sent that e-mail at 8:05 am. After that, his life was never the same.
At about 8:45, he heard a loud explosion and the building rattled and shook. People on his floor started to scream. American Airlines Flight 11 from Boston to Los Angeles had just crashed into the building. Debris from the plane flew into the office and everything started going up in flames. Everyone in the office tried their best to stay calm. Around them there was twisted steel, smoke, and fire quickly spreading. Sujo’s thoughts shifted to Tower 2 where Mary was. He wondered if the plane hit her building too.
A Way of Escape
Sujo and others in the building made their way to the stairwell through the fire. As he was coming down the flights of stairs, he tried to call his wife on his cell phone. Unfortunately, cell phones were not working. He stopped at the 53rd floor desperately trying to make some calls from the land line, which were unsuccessful. He continued his descent from Tower 1 and saw hundreds of policemen and firemen passing him and the others making their way up. This gave hope that there was a way out of the building. However little did they know the firemen and policemen were going to their deaths.
As Sujo and the others descended to the lowest level, there was death and destruction all around. There was debris from the crashed plane, burning materials, shattered glass, and bodies all over the courtyard. Sujo decided to make his way to the Tower 2 to look for Mary.
Prayers from the Rubble
As he approached the building, there was a massive explosion and the ground around him was shaking. All 110 stories of Tower 2 had collapsed and Sujo was standing near the foot of the building. The debris of the building was falling all around. Sujo and the people around him huddled together at one end of the building. He prayed for the blood of Jesus and asked God to give His strength. Sujo felt challenged to tell the people around him that they were going to die and if anyone didn’t know Jesus that they should call on His name. Then, everyone around him started crying, “Jesus!” By then, the whole building collapsed and they were in the debris.
Sujo found himself in three feet of white soot and glass, but no debris fell on him. When he got to his feet, it was silent and he saw dead bodies all around him. God lead him to a man lying face down in the rubble that had a flashlight on him. Sujo told the man that only Jesus could save them and that they had to live. When the man stood up, Sujo saw that the jacket he was wearing had “FBI” written on it. They held hands as they walked through the rubble. The visibility was bad. It seemed like a blizzard. Sujo saw a flashing ambulance light and told the man they should walk toward it since it was on the street. From there, they were able to find their way out.
Sujo was still worried about his wife in the other building. He and the FBI agent walked for an hour. Sujo continued to try to call Mary, but his cell phone still didn’t work. Finally, his cell phone rang. It was Mary telling Sujo that she was alive. Apparently, Mary had not made it to work because her train arrived at the World Trade Center subway stop five minutes after the first crash and was not allowed into the buildings. Mary was hysterical walking on the streets worrying about Sujo and thinking he was dead.
They each made it to 39th Street near the ferry. They looked back and saw the remains of their buildings, which were piles of smoking rubble and ashes. Throughout the tragic day’s events Sujo and Mary prayed that the other would survive and fully dedicated their lives to God if they survived.
A New Lease on Life
Since that morning nine years ago, Sujo and Mary have kept their promise to God. Their lives are dedicated to share their testimony of surviving 9/11 and sharing the Gospel full-time. Sujo has travelled to churches all across America and other nations and ministers in different churches weekly. He has a special place in his heart for India, where he travels at least four times a year. His ministry has even started a rehabilitation house in the red light district of New Delhi called the House of Rahab for women and girls formerly in the sex industry.
Sujo says about three years after 9/11, there was a move of God and there was revival. In the last five to six years there has been a change. People have turned from God. The church seems to be slipping away. Sujo says the simple Gospel needs to be preached and he challenges the American church to share its faith. Christians need to “come out of the closet,” make the Gospel seen and live it out loud. We need to give and be Jesus in our communities. Sujo says that there is a mandate over this generation – to be Jesus’ hands and feet. Christians need to ask themselves, “How can this nation become 'One Nation Under God’ again?” and pour into the next generation.
Sujo hopes people will find out the simple truth about Jesus as he learned at age 15. Sujo grew up in Calcutta, India in a Christian home, but he didn’t have a personal experience with Jesus. When he was nine, his younger sister died of leukemia. This troubled Sujo and did not make sense to him. He wondered why God would allow this when his parents were so involved in church and “did everything right.” He struggled with the question of why God allows suffering for several years. In an attempt to find some answers, he turned to the religions that were around him Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, etc.
At age 15, he attended a Christian youth group service, because he wanted to befriend someone in that group. The missionary speaking said something about God that Sujo never heard before – that Christianity is not a religion, it is a friendship that God offers to mankind. Those words affected Sujo deeply. He decided that his fight with God was over. During the altar call, he told God that he wanted to start on a friendship journey with Him.
Though he was faced with the question of “Why?” again during 9/11, Sujo shares that it is okay to ask why. He’s also learned and shares with others to trust in God.
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