ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–Two months after their son, U.S. Army Capt. Joshua T. Byers, was killed in action in Iraq, North American missionaries Lloyd and Mary Byers are back ministering in the U.S. territory of Guam with renewed purpose.
“Even though we have not totally grasped the reality of losing a child and especially his giving his life for his country, I do know that God is going to use Josh’s life and his memory in a great way,” Lloyd Byers said.
In an effort to further advance their mission to reach Guam with the Gospel, the Byers have established a memorial fund called “Joshua’s Mission.” The fund will help finance an evangelistic camp for youth on Guam and neighboring islands as well as needed repairs on churches and homes damaged by a typhoon last December.
“This project will fund only the things that have a direct correlation to evangelistic projects,” Lloyd said. “We know Josh had a tremendous love and heart for youth, as he worked with the youth in his own church in Colorado. We have a great need here for reaching young people for Jesus.”
Lloyd and Mary Byers have been serving in Guam as missionaries of the North American Mission Board since January. A former church planter and pastor in Georgia, South Carolina and Nevada, Lloyd now serves as the director of missions for the Guam Baptist Association.
“Josh was very concerned about our work and always wanted to know the details of our work so that he could pray for the ministry here on Guam, so that definitely gives us a reason to carry on the work God has sent us here to do,” Lloyd said.
Mary added, “Our lives will never be the same as they were before July 23 when we heard the news of Josh’s tragic death in Iraq. It does put a stronger perspective on our ministry and service here because of the price that we now feel very personally has been paid for our freedom.”
Joshua, 29, a company commander assigned to Headquarters Troop, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, was based in Fort Carson, Colo. He was the only person killed when a remote-controlled bomb exploded on the side of the road east of Baghdad in July as a military convoy of about 50 vehicles passed by, according to family members.
In a recent interview with Christianitytoday.com, Joshua’s two younger brothers, Milam and Jared, lead guitarist and drummer, respectively, for the popular Christian rock band, Bleach, recounted stories of their older brother’s heroics as told to them by U.S. Army personnel.
“We’ve also heard stories about how Josh tip-toed through mine fields to save two kids, and in the process saved probably 150 of our American soldiers,” Milam said in the online interview. “He did things like that not because he was trying to be a hero, but because that’s the way his heart really beat.”
Milam also shared some insight about Josh from a letter his older brother wrote his parents the day before he was killed. “In the letter he talks about how our security is not in our circumstances but in God and a great faith,” Milam said.
A 1996 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and former aide to the commanding general at Fort Carson, Joshua is survived by his wife of five years, Kim, who lives in Fountain, Colo., near Fort Carson.
Lloyd Byers said a developer who is building a new subdivision near Joshua and Kim’s house plans to name a street in Josh’s honor. “It will be called ‘Josh Byers Way’ and the access roads to it will be named ‘Hero Lane’ and ‘Honor Lane,'” he said.
Joshua lived his life with an eternal perspective, his father said.
“He had such a compassionate heart and such a desire to see others come to know Christ personally that it’s easy to see that his death will be used to continue as a witness for Christ for years to come,” he said. “His name will live on through eternity and his influence will continue even greater than when he was alive here on this earth.”
Financial gifts to “Joshua’s Mission” may be made to the Guam Baptist Association, PO Box 326008, Hagatna, GU 96932-6000.
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: LLOYD AND MARY BYERS.