I was saddened today to learn of [the death of Preston Newby], a college classmate of mine. We had a special bond in that we were the only two students in fourth year Greek together, and we had nearly all of our classes together my senior year. Preston was a great friend, and he always had a way of encouraging others. Here is an email he sent to me among others in February of 2006: > Hello! I have failed all of you in that I have not kept in touch with > the people that God has placed in my life as much as I should have. > Whether you are part of my family or my friends from various times in > my life, or part of my life even now... I just want to say that I love > you guys and I do not want to take all of your friendships for > granted, or forget about them. God has blessed us in this life with a > remarkable reality: the body of Christ. I am learning how to get my > focus off of myself and shift it towards God ultimately, but also to > my neighbors...my friends... my family... even strangers. My prayer is > that we would all do the same. In this country, it is completely > natural to live for ourselves and to forget about the relationships > that we have had with incredible people... Let us not forget the body > of Christ! Let us continually lift each other up in prayer! Eph 1:16 > "I do not cease to give thanks for you when I remember you in my > prayers." Paul was our role model....Jesus also prayed in John 17 on > behalf of those who were "given to Him". I want to remember all of you > in my prayers. Thank you for your friendships and relationships... > They have had a vital role in shaping who I have become and who I am > becoming. May God bless you all in your families, your work, your > ministry.... I love you guys! In Christ, Preston Preston has left the land of the dying. > That it may please you to give him joy and gladness in your kingdom, > with your saints in light, We beseech you to hear us, good Lord.