Christians provide a listening ear, help during US disasters

(Photo: Reuters / Brian Snyder)Police officers take position during a search for the Boston Marathon bombing suspects in Watertown, Massachusetts April 19, 2013. Police on Friday killed one suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing during a shootout and mounted a house-to-house search for a second man in the suburb of Watertown after a bloody night of shooting and explosions in the city's streets. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

The United States has had a difficult week with both real and suspected terrorist activity.

As would be expected in a nation with a large Christian presence, the followers of Jesus  have been reaching out to those affected by the events. 

Tuesday brought the bombings at the Boston Marathon. There were many heroes who responded to the massacre which occurred there killing three and maiming many others.  They tore down barricades and rushed the wounded to get medical help.

U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle on Thursday attended an interfaith service of some 2,000 people in Boston's Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Cross for the victims of the Boston marathon bombings.

On Friday Boston residents woke to find themselves under siege as they faced a lockdown.

Police carried out a manhunt for a terror suspect after another suspect was killed in a shootout. One of the suspects killed a police office Thursday.

Authorities identified the dead suspect as 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnayev. He was killed in a confrontation with police in Watertown, Mass. The manhunt for the second suspect, identified as Dzhokhar Tsarnayev, aged 19 years and brother of the man killed, continued.

Reports said both  brothers involved in the fatal shooting of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus police officer Thursday night.

The victims of the calamitous events needed counselling, while some needed spiritual help.

One of those dispensing it was Bill Sitka, a regional director of Young Life, a Christian organization that ministers to youth.

Sitka is being called a Good Samaritan because he gave his Boston Marathon medal in a gesture to a fellow runner, a woman who was weeping in relief after she learned her boyfriend and family were safe.

According to, 25-year old Laura Wellington was a half mile from the finish line when the bombs exploded. Sitka spotted her and asked her if she had finished the race.

When she told him 'no', Sitka gave her his medal. He told her that "you are a finisher in my eyes". 

Wellington did not know who her Good Samaritan was, but when she posted her story on Facebook and it went viral, Sitka was revealed as the man who demonstrated kindness to her.

"She needed it more than I needed it", said Sitka."I just wanted to let her know that 'you're worth it."

"With everything that has happened, the world is looking for hope", he said. "My whole life is about loving God and loving others."

"That's who I am."

The day after the Boston bombings, a fertilizer plant in Texas exploded, killing and injuring dozens of people. 

In addition, dozens of homes and businesses  were damaged or destroyed. This destruction included damage to a nursing home.

Seven chaplains from the Southern Baptist Convention of Texas (SBTC) were deployed to West, Texas, the town where the blast occurred. They are now on hand to minister to emergency personnel and affected families, according to Baptist Press.

Darryl Cason, director of chaplaincy for SBTC Disaster Relief said that the  chaplains are providing a listening ear and spiritual support.

One of the chaplains counseled a family who lost a son in the explosion.

The explosion is not thought to be terrorist-related at this point. However, until authorities know for sure, the factory is being treated as a crime scene. 

In addition to spiritual support, churches are opening their buildings as a place of refuge and hosting emergency responders. 

The Salvation Army has also set up five feeding canteens said Cason.

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