The Loss of a Hero is what the students of Jeremiah Small said about him when he was tragically shot and killed last Thursday morning, March 1. Our Grace Baptist Church family has been affected by events in international news recently—the shooting and death of Jeremiah Small, nephew of John Plumb at GBC. 33-year-old Jeremiah spent the last six years teaching history, literature and English at a private Christian school in northern Iraq and sharing his love of Jesus Christ with the primarily Muslim students in his classes. He was shot and killed in his classroom by a student who then killed himself. Jeremiah taught in the Classical School of the Medes in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq, 160 miles northeast of Baghdad. The school is one of 3 such schools in Iraq with an overall enrollment of approximately 2000 students, run by Servant Group International based in Nashville, TN. The following are links to a WORLD Magazine article and two news clips about Jeremiah.
Killed in Action(WORLD Magazine)
Cosmopolis Teacher Shot, Killed by Student in Iraqi School(KING5 Broadcasting Company)
Teacher Slain in Iraq from Religious Washington Family(KOMO News Network)
Jeremiah's parents and 4 of the 6 remaining siblings flew to Iraq last Saturday. There was already a memorial service this past Friday for both Jeremiah and the shooter at a mosque in Iraq, with hundreds attending. Jeremiah's mother, Becky, said that as far as anyone knows, it was the first time in Iraqi history that a memorial service for a non-Muslim foreigner has taken place in a mosque. A second memorial service will be held in Sulaymaniyah on Tuesday, March 6th. The body will be buried in Iraq. They will be trying to get a headstone with John 8:12 (Jesus Christ said, “I am the light of the world.”) and John 14:6 (Jesus Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: No man cometh to the Father except by me.”) engraved on it. They have received personal condolences from the Iraqi President.
Hundreds gathered outside Jeremiah's apartment to pray. The students at the Classical School of the Medes are rallying to Jeremiah's defense to correct the misinformation and misreporting about "an argument". The day previous to the shooting, Jeremiah was presiding over an open and lively history class discussion about Mohamed, and had brought the discussion to a close. The next day, last Thursday, Jeremiah was opening class with prayer, as was his custom, and was shot as he was ending the prayer. Earlier this year, Jeremiah had given a one-word title to what he wanted for Christ in 2012: "Increase."
The family will return from Iraq to Nashville, TN on Saturday, March 10th. A 3rd memorial service will then be held at Christ Community Church in Franklin, TN on Sunday, March 11th at 5:00pm. The family will fly to Seattle on March 14th for a 4th memorial service in Aberdeen, WA on March 17th, then a 5th memorial service in Yakima, WA on March 18th.
Jeremiah had wanted to see a library established for that region of Iraq. The Jeremiah Small Memorial Fund has been established at Timberland Bank in Aberdeen, WA and is going to be used to help build the library in Suli.
Items for prayer:
1) Wisdom in communicating truth without undue offense
2) Continued fruitbearing for Christ from Jeremiah's life and testimony
3) Safety in all the traveling