The churches near World Trade Towers in New York City were shaken but gave immediate sanctuary to victims of the terrorist explosions on Tuesday that destroyed the lower Manhattan neighborhood, an area now called by many New Yorkers "the Belly of the Beast." Communication with some churches remains cut off. The death toll in New York City alone is expected to be in the thousands.

Terry Vega-Ramiriz, a staffer at Primitive Christian Church, was walking out of the subway at 9 a.m. when she saw a plane flying extremely low. "The plane was silvery and smaller than a big jumbo liner. All of sudden there was an explosion that sounded like two big booms."

Running to the church, which is within walking distance of the trade towers, Vega-Ramiriz helped other staff members to open up their doors, set-up prayer groups and call for help. "People covered in ashes started walking in."

At the nearby Overseas Chinese Mission, the largest church in Chinatown, pastor Andrew Lee stayed over night Tuesday to provide what ever help was necessary. The church nestles right next to the court and police headquarters in downtown Manhattan. After the nine-story church building shook for several seconds, Lee ran up to the roof to see what happened. He thought that there might have been a construction accident with the huge cranes up the block. Instead, he saw "orange flames shooting several floors high out of the World Trade Center." Soon after, a church member in the U.S. Air Force Reserve came with the eyewitness news that it looked like the second plane's attack had angled precisely to cause maximum structural damage.

Lee started to prepare the church to help refugees from the attacks. "Within forty-five minutes of the first crash, church people started ...

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