A personal account of the Courtney family and the Preemptive Love Coalition, as they help children obtain lifesaving surgeries in Iraq using one simple but powerful tool: a love that strikes first.
In the middle of the Iraq War, Jeremy and Jessica Courtney found themselves with their two children caught up in the turmoil, just hoping to make a difference. After an encounter with a father whose little girl was dying from a heart defect, they began to investigate options for helping and learned that untold thousands of children across Iraq were in similar need, waiting in line for heart surgery in a country without a qualified heart surgeon.
With the help of their closest friends, they dived in to save the lives of as many as they could, but sending children abroad proved to be expensive and cumbersome, and it failed to make an impact on the systemic needs of Iraqi hospitals—the place where these children really should be saved. Despite fatwas, death threats, bombings, imprisonments, and intense living conditions, Jeremy and his team persevered to overcome years of hostilities and distrust in an effort to eradicate the backlog of thousands upon thousands of Iraqi children waiting in line for much-needed heart surgery.
“This true story of people coming together to live the doctrine of 'love first, ask questions later' by building bridges and saving lives is powerfully inspiring, touching, and, unfortunately, urgently relevant” (Publishers Weekly). “Courtney’s moving story gives us some of the best news to come out of Iraq in ages” (Los Angeles Times).
Courtney gives an honest, and at times poignant, account of his efforts to establish the Preemptive Love Coalition in Iraq, whose aim is to save children with life-threatening heart defects by selling klash, a locally made Kurdish shoe. He describes transporting patients to Israel and Turkey while under a fatwa calling for his death and while subjected to assiduous surveillance. Courtney relates his riveting story through the inner thoughts of both patients and adversaries, describing events like the chemical bombing of Halabja and the attack of a roadside bomber from a personal perspective. The narrative flattens when it drifts away from storytelling to point making, but these small moments are more than amply compensated for by Courtney's own self-deprecating admission that, "Knowing me, my tone was unbearably sanctimonious." Ending with the building of the Remedy Mission, which allows children to receive life-saving surgery in Iraq, this true story of people coming together to live the doctrine of "love first, ask questions later" by building bridges and saving lives is powerfully inspiring, touching, and, unfortunately, urgently relevant.
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Jeremy Courtney elegantly weaves together the story of helping children in need of life-saving heart surgery and the story of mankind's deepest longing. The real truth that comes from this inspiring book is that we are all one need of heart surgery. We all need our hearts of stone to be replaced with hearts of flesh. We all need love to preemptively strike in our lives, and then pursue that love in the lives of others. There is a greater Love that can cover all of us. Jeremy alludes to that greater Truth. The story of the Cross of Calvary, preemptively attacking our sin and drawing into a greater story, one far bigger than politics and hospitals and nationalities.
Read this book and see for yourself. We were loved first and we should love first.