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9-11 reshaped her internship at ministry to U.N. workers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–When Amy Davis was praying about a fall internship nearly a year ago, she had no way of knowing that she would spend a semester at the epicenter of the worst terrorist attack ever on American soil.

Davis arrived in New York City the last week of August. Her assignment was to be an intern at the office of Christian Ministries to the United Nations. It had been arranged through seminary President Phil Roberts’ connection with the office’s executive director, Ken Welborn. Roberts previously has worked at the Christian Ministries office.

Davis’ duties included assisting with plans for the ministry’s biggest event of the year — a banquet set for Sept. 20 — and assisting with Bible studies for workers at the U.N.

But her job description changed on the morning of Sept. 11, when Davis was attending a prayer breakfast sponsored jointly by several Christian ministries which work with the U.N.

“The prayer breakfast ended at about a quarter to 10 and that’s when we first heard about the attack,” said Davis, a third-year master of divinity student originally from Boulder, Colo. “We immediately went to the Christian embassy — Campus Crusade for Christ’s ministry to the U.N. — to have a time of prayer.”

Davis and several other workers from Campus Crusade and other Christian ministries soon were looking for ways to minister to the streams of people who were walking in the streets. The Christian Ministries to the U.N. offices are located in the Midtown section of the city, about 45 to 50 blocks north of ground zero.

“The street was full of people trying to exit out of Manhattan, and we could see big clouds of smoke,” she said. “By the time people got to us, they had been walking about 40 blocks. The panic was gone, but everyone was in a daze.”

Davis and other workers put on badges that read, “Can I pray for you?” and handed out water to the people walking by on the street.

“We wanted to try to comfort and share what we could,” she said. “Mostly, we gave out water, and we had clipboards to write down names of people to pray for. I spent most of my time carting water and passing it out, but I also passed out some tracts.”

That day changed her intership. The banquet was canceled. She and other ministry workers and visitors to the U.N. were not allowed inside the building for about a month after the attack because of heightened security.

But the Bible studies for the permanent U.N. workers continued. The permanent U.N. staff members (not staff who work for the various nations) go to the Christian Ministries office about a block away from the U.N. building.

“They come to us. Ken Welborn and the other staff person, Laura Gilbert, both lead Bible studies during the week — a ladies study during lunch on Tuesdays and a co-ed one on Thursdays.”

Davis said she does not yet know exactly why God placed her in New York this fall.

“I probably won’t know a lot of why I was here until later,” she said. “I am glad I was here. I have been challenged personally in some areas of trusting God.

“I had in mind an idea of what this intership would be like, but it was dramatically different than I anticipated,” she said. “The support I’ve had from Midwestern and my church [First Calvary Baptist Church in Kansas City], the prayers and encouragement, that’s meant a lot to me.”

Davis will be back on the Kansas City campus for the spring semester.

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  • Stacey Hamby