Sunday, March 11, 2012

Jeremiah Small ~ A Modern Day Martyr

"Why do you always say martyred instead of murdered
when you talk about Jeremiah?"

Great question for a 9 year old, who learned the hard way the definition of martyr.
She had started the conversation by saying,
"Mom, I've been thinking about Jeremiah a lot.  It's so sad."

She was referencing Jeremiah Small, a Christian teacher in Iraq,
 who was killed March 1st by one of his students
in  the classroom after opening the class with prayer.

(One of the early reports about the death of Jeremiah Small.)

I explained that because of the Internet the world is hearing he was martyred,
 and automatically are exposed to the Gospel. 
I explained  his death is preaching the Gospel.

But, it still is sad.
 Our family was touched by the martyrdom of Jeremiah Small,
a man known to our family since he was in his early teens.
Yet, I cannot pretend that our pain is anywhere close to the loss
his very loving, close, faithful family is feeling.
(listen to his father's interview the night his son was martyred)

We met him at Box T Bible and Saddle Camp in Hurdsfield, ND
run by Florence and Lewellyn Tewksbury where my husband was the Bible teacher.
Even as a young man, his faith set him apart from the other campers.
I was able to spend hours with him in the garden pulling weeds
and picking his brain.
Since the Bible camp was on a farm, every afternoon the activity was farm work.
Some weeded.  Some cut firewood.
Some shoveled manure.  Some branded calves.

Based on Jeremiah's life, I figured  his mom, a homeschooling mother of 7,
must have been doing a great job, so I plied Jeremiah with questions.
My kids were young and I knew I had much to learn.
We worked together for serveral years when Jeremiah returned as a counsellor.

Ten years later, when our family moved to WA,
we learned the Small family had also moved there to work at Shiloh Bible Camp.
I was thrilled to finally meet the parents of this amazing young man.
His parents have continued to prove faithful through the death of their son.

For some reason, both the martyr and the shooter were memorialized together,
something that wouldn't happen in America.
Dan and Becky Small, along with four of their children,
stood on stage with the family of the student who shot their son.
They hugged the parents of their son's murderer.
There was nothing fake or phony about this action,
their searing pain did not hinder them from acting as a Christian should.
That is amazing grace.
It's also amazing that Jeremiah was the first Christian memorialized in a mosque.
That is amazing.

An article was written about this preemptive love that shocked
a land used to vengeance and hatred.
They had not expected the family to come bury their son with love and forgiveness.
The original news reports like to emphasize there was an argument,
anybody who knew Jeremiah for more than 15 minutes,
knew he was incapable of that. 
Others may argue with him, but he would listen patiently and give a calm answer. 
A truthful answer, an answer that would never tickle ears or deny the Lord,
but he would answer graciously.
Here's a better article that describes the events that led up to
Jeremiah being shot by his student in the classroom.

Jeremiah's family will accepted his death in the same way he lived his life,
with strong faith, a victorious testimony and a growing love for their Savior.

A beautiful tribute  was published by the Kurdistan Tribune,
and written by a student who is grieved that a man
who came to serve, was killed by one he came to serve.
Read "What It Means to Kill A Teacher."
Jeremiah was only 33 years old.
Who does that remind you of?

A student's YouTube tribute.

This is another student's tribute, but it includes some scenes from classroom. 
Skip from 54 seconds to 1 minute 13 seconds is blood bothers you. 
I didn't know it was coming when I found this on Facebook
 and it made me weep.

Pray for the family as they learn to live without their
Death leaves no sting for the one going to their eternal rest,
the sting is for those left behind.

Pray for the students who were in the classroom at the time.

Pray for the power of the Gospel to go forth.

John 12:24
Unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies,
it cannot bear fruit.

May much fruit come from the death of the Lord's precious saint,
Jeremiah Small.


  1. Wow! Not something we have heard here in the news. What courage on that families' part to show Christian forgiveness and love in such a desperate time of grief. Thanks for posting about this modern day martyr and the Lord comfort you too, being his friends. You have heavy griefs to bear, my friend,but the light of Christ burns bright in each post you write.

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this. He sounds like an amazing man, and I will be looking forward to meeting him in heaven. Keep writiing and encouraging people in their faith!

  3. He taught me for three years... he was my mentor... and he was shot in my class... He truly was an example of righteousness, selflessness, humility, mercy, and love...
    What a man he was...
    He left a legacy; he left a legacy of love and productivity.
    Jeremiah Small is definitely one of the greatest men who ever lived.
    Even his death influenced thousands..
    He was ready to die for love and truth, and that's what happened.
    Rest in eternal peace Jeremiah Small

    1. I am so sorry you had to experience Jeremiah's death firsthand. But, I am thankful you had the chance to be impacted by his life. I am praying that many will pick up where Jeremiah left off and preach that glorious love of Jesus and the truth of the Word of God. You were so right - those are the two very things Jeremiah died for! Blessings to you, dear friend, may your heart be healed of the pain and may you find your true purpose and calling in life.


Thank you so much for dropping by my blog. Your encouraging comments are much appreciated. I love hearing from others.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.