Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

3.13.2012

Don't Die Asleep

me in the mouth

You may have read about him in the Washington Post, Reuters, The Huffington Post, The Associated Press, World, or one of the other hundreds of newspapers, magazines, and websites that picked up the story. Jeremiah Small: an American Christian shot to death in Iraq by one of his own students in his own classroom. For me and my family, though, this event is not just another news tragedy--it is a tragedy that has happened to our friends. And while I never met Jeremiah (he started teaching English and history at the private school in 2005, a year before I met his family), I have mourned with his dear family as the realization that the world lost an amazing man on March 1st dawns on me.

dancing on 
My spirit is kindled by this man of thirty-three years who was so submitted to God, he chose to minister in the one place I have always hoped to circumvent. He hazarded peril over safety, exchanged comfort for the unfamiliar, and left family for friends he had not yet met. He lived in war-torn Iraq the way I want to live in my corner of the world. "'Inside and outside the classroom, Jeremiah made clear that he loved Jesus Christ,' said his former student Amed Omar, 'but he never demanded that we read the Bible or become Christians. You did not have to be a Christian to be a part of what he was doing, but Jesus Christ was ubiquitous everywhere in his life.'[1]" Ubiquitous ("existing or being everywhere, especially at the same time; omnipresent [2]"): will my epitaph testify that Jesus Christ was ubiquitous in my life?

mygirlsJeremiah loved his family and friends deeply. He was passionate about Medes School, he was fond of the Kurdish culture, and he avidly pursued hiking. He loved life, certainly--but he loved God more, knowing that "he who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life (John 12:25)."

Mr. Dan Small, Jeremiah's father, had long ago given his son up to the perfect and sovereign protection of God: "'Every time he went through the airport scanner we knew we were having to let go, not knowing if we would ever see him again. He was doing what he loved doing and his students are testifying to that. He told his mom at Christmas that he didn’t want to die in his sleep.'[3]"

Jeremiah emulated the archetype in living his life, "Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28)." I, for one, hope to be as worthy a servant as Jeremiah Small. To serve in the little things and the great. To love the lovely and the unlovable. To live with abandon in the ministry of reconciliation to our Savior. To die with courage and prayer as Jeremiah's students testified he did: "'Mr. Jeremiah’s hands were still folded in prayer when he fell,'[4]."


climbing and conquering




All photographs from jeremiah in iraq.

[1] Belz, Mindy. "A Rush of Life." Editorial. World Magazine 24 Mar. 2012. WORLD Magazine. God's World Publications, 24 Mar. 2012. http://www.worldmag.com/articles/19280.

[2] ubiquitous. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ubiquitous

[3] Tracy, Deborah. "Harbor Teacher Killed in Iraq." The Daily World [Grays Harbor] 1 Mar. 2012. The Daily World. Stephens Media Group. http://thedailyworld.com/sections/news/local/harbor-teacher-killed-iraq.html.

[4] Belz, Mindy. "A Blessed Legacy." WORLD Magazine. God's World Publications, 5 Mar. 2012. http://www.worldmag.com/webextra/19250

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

2 comments:

  1. Wow.....what a testimony - and encouragement!!! Definitely makes me look at life again!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sure does--praise the Lord for Jeremiah's faithfulness!

    ReplyDelete

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