Porterfield heard God's call to the city in a Messiah College chapel while listening to an Amish farmer tell how God had plucked him off the farm and dropped him into the inner city.
More and more Christians were fleeing the city to suburbia, this speaker continued, and Porterfield's heart was stirred with the needs of those left behind. This passion was fanned in classes and by participating on service teams. After college, he served as a city host with the Center for Student Missions, first in Philadelphia and later in Los Angeles. The poor now had names, face and stories. He read the Bible with the eyes of an urban dweller, affirming his calling to live in the slums of Asia among the urban poor. Following Mother Theresa's example, he had found “his Calcutta.” Now, with his wife, Laura and daughter Mikayla, he is living out his passion to love the oppressed of this world.