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Ministry to PAPD
2002 Lisa Chilson-Rose

Port Authority Police Department -- who are these guys? Most people outside New York City don t know that there is a whole separate police department in the area that has a big job. The Port Authority PD safeguards the bridges,tunnels and airports in the Tri-State area. On September 11, they were there, right alongside the FDNY and NYPD helping others get to safety. And they were still down at Ground Zero months later working faithfully 12 hour shifts, 6 days a week to recover bodies.

There are 1100 Port Authority Officers, and 37 of their men and women perished on September 11. That is the largest percentage lost based on the number of people in a department. Many of their officers had families and children just like everyone else, and the down side was that for a while, no one really recognized that they were hurting just like the FDNY and NYPD families. That is, until a NAMB employee met with one of the lieutenants and asked him how he was and what was needed! That opened up a door for MNYBA and Southern Baptists that we never dreamed about. The first outreach was a duel effort between a few NAMB employees and MNYBA staff taking gift bags to reach out to the PAPD wives and widows and bringing a meal to the guys who were working down at Ground Zero at the Command Center. That day, staff of both groups sat and listened and visited and didn't necessarily talk about September 11, but just about their families and their wives outside of Ground Zero. They all missed their wives and kids a lot, and it was hard at home as their wives had to carry the load of parenting for many months. It was good day, and many relationships were built. The guys said they enjoyed visitors, as it was hard when they had 12 hour shifts and no one to talk to except each other.

Volunteers from MNYBA have since begun visiting on a bi-weekly basis and built an even closer relationship. Another meal, cookies and more listening have been welcomed, and, in fact, on the last visit, one of the police officers received the Lord into his heart. One of the volunteers sat down to talk to him, and he opened up and began to share his own heartache over this tragedy and was very receptive to needing something greater than himself.

The guys are now allowing volunteers to pray with them and pray for them as they work hard each day. Doors are opening up like never before. MNYBA staff were even invited to a barbeque that the Department hosted and got to meet some wives and some of the higher ranking officers. God is good, and we are being able to be a ministry of presence through food and fellowship.