Why would someone take his whole family, pack them up, and move from their small town in Texas to Iraq? Jeremy was concerned about the targeted killing of Christians in Iraq, the Kurdish-Arab tension and the Sunni-Shia civil war. But could one family make a difference?
was focused on helping war widows, concentrating largely on writing
grant proposals, when he was asked to help a little Kurdish girl get
a needed heart operation. He did what he could, passing on the
paperwork. And then he saw that file on top of a stack of others.
Children were dying, waiting in line for surgery. That event changed
stepped out on a long journey of loving first and asking questions
later. Jeremy writes, “...we began to experience for the first time
how imaginary the distinctions between 'East' and 'West' actually
are, how some of the world's most liberal activists are Muslims and
its nastiest terrorists are sometimes Christians.” (38)
tells the stories of others who joined his efforts. They began
generating funds by selling klash, the handmade shoes of the
Kurds. He created a web site and their business boomed. The money
went to pay for heart surgeries. (The business was eventually rolled
into the Preemptive Love organization.)
all was not well. A fatwa was issued against them and their (they
were sending kids to Israel for surgery). Families of the children
needing surgery were intimidated. They were later able to send
children to Turkey but that also caused discontent as Turkey had not
helped the Kurds during the 1988 genocide by Saddam. (They were
eventually able to bring a surgery team into Iraq.) They were
blindsided by a naive funding move. There was a fellow who came into
their office with a bag who they later found out was probably
planning to blow them up with the bomb in the bag. The office and
their home were bugged and subsequent accusations made against them
(that they were “missionaries”). One of his team was arrested and
and his team persevered. It is estimated that congenital heart
defects are eight times there what they are in the U.S. They have
come to the place of being the leading organization in Iraq for
children needing heart surgery, having been able to establish surgery
training programs in Basra, Najaf and Nasiriyah.
is an incredible story of one American family making a difference in
Iraq, one heart at a time. I really liked the way Jeremy tells the
story through his personal experiences – the successes and the
writes that his experiences have exposed how far they are from being
the people they want to be. They can only rely on God's love to
overcome the hate and help them give out preemptive love. You can
to find out more about the work.
Courtney is the cofounder and executive director of the
Preemptive Love Coalition, an international development organization
based in Iraq that provides lifesaving heart surgeries to Iraqi
children and training for local doctors and nurses. Jeremy, his wife
and two children live in Iraq.
Books, 230 pages.
received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the
purpose of this review.