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The smell of death and the aroma of Christ

Like martyr Tom Little, we carry both

By Mindy Belz

12/18/2010 Afghanistan (World Magazine) – Sometime after Taliban affiliates gunned down Tom Little in northern Afghanistan, the FBI visited his wife Libby to give her personal items recovered from his body.

Included was a small notebook, and in between the pages listing medical equipment and supplies for the team he led to the upper reaches of Nuristan province last summer were what looked like penciled sermon notes. “They were stained with blood and blotted with sand,” said Libby, carefully unfolding them before an audience of several thousand at Cape Town’s Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization in October. “Were these some of the things he shared with the team on that last Sabbath rest before they were killed? I’d like to think so.”
There were several notations from Ephesians and a reference from 2 Corinthians 2:15, where Tom wrote, “For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing, to one we are the smell of death and to the other the fragrance of life.”

Think of Tom Little with his colleagues, hiking mountains and fording rivers in Nuristan and Badakhshan provinces last August, reeking of Christ as they delivered medical care to remote villages—before militants killed them one by one in a forest. The Taliban accused them of spying and proselytizing. Dirk Frans, the head of their organization, International Assistance Mission, insisted both charges were “out of the question” as they were “against the laws of this country and the rules of our organization.”

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