Jeremy Courtney is cofounder and executive director of the Preemptive Love Coalition, an international development organization based in Iraq that provides lifesaving heart surgeries to children in war-torn countries, helps families in Iraq who’ve lost everything to ISIS, and creates peace between communities at odds.
In the middle of the Iraq War, Jeremy and his wife, Jessica, 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 dove 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 of Iraqi children waiting in line for much-needed heart surgeries.
Anyone who spends even a brief amount of time with Jeremy and Jessica knows that a love for God drives their lives. They strive in each moment to submit to Jesus’ example and to fulfill Jesus’ mission of healing and reconciliation in the world. The Courtneys see their work through PLC as a way of living out their own identity as followers of Jesus— seeking to love the most down and out of the world’s people as an expression of their love for God.
Jeremy and Jessica have a daughter, Emma (born in 2005), and a son, Micah (born in 2007). In his spare time, after saving lives, Jeremy is a musician and songwriter. He is also passionate about discovering ways people can build meaningful bridges of understanding and reconciliation across cultures through music and storytelling. Jessica is a full-time mother and an avid quilter, seamstress, scrapbooker, and gardener.
PLC’S CORE VALUES
Yes, we all have our own politics. Yes, we have our own religion. Love anyway. Step out across enemy lines and embrace conflict rather than running. Your love has the ability to transcend guilt, shame, and indifference. Wrap your arms around those you fear, and invite others to do the same.
Presence matters. Whether it’s in the middle of a conversation, conflict zone, or operating room, love shows up. Healing happens when we choose to bring our whole self into the conflict, including our own fears, doubts, and biases (yes, we all have them). Ask questions, risk failure, be heard. Just don’t hide.
GET OUT OF THE WAY
Peace, healing, and sustainable change only happen when we allow others to own their futures. Getting out of the way means taking a step back after we show up so that others can stand on their own. Look past yourself. Step back and consider the bigger picture, and pass on the baton.
SEE HOW YOU CAN HELP
Check out PLC’s store here: http://www.preemptivelove.org/store One of PLC’s products is called Sisterhood Soap. Every bar of soap sold helps refugees in Iraq grow their businesses, feed their families, and put their children back in school—not through a handout, but through the work of their own hands.