Jordan (IMB/MNN) — Jordanian authorities have arrested a suspect in the murder of 55-year-old Cheryll Harvey, a Southern Baptist representative in Irbid, Jordan.
A veteran teacher, Harvey's body was discovered in her apartment on September 4. Police reports indicate a 17-year-old Jordanian man confessed to stabbing her to death when she caught him stealing from her purse. Authorities say there had been some association between the two, as Harvey paid him for odd jobs on occasion. A trial date has yet to be set.
A Texas native, Harvey worked in Jordan for 24 years teaching English and other subjects. She founded the ESL language center a decade ago, where she taught in Irbid–Jordan's second-largest city and home to several universities. Her work was in connection with the Jordan Baptist Society. Harvey also had taught primary school-age children at the Jordan Baptist School.
According to a press release from the Baptist Press, teaching was a passion for Harvey. For her, it was a way to express the love of Christ to generations of Jordanian students.
"Cheryll was known throughout the village," recalled a co-worker. "She visited in the homes of all of her students. She even showed up at students' homes when they weren't expecting her…. Cheryll was all about the people. She spent a large portion of every year visiting her students, making sure that she went into the home of every single student."
A colleague asked Southern Baptists to pray for the many people touched by Harvey's life. "Cheryll was a gentle person who loved Jesus," he said. "She showed that love to Jordanians: first to the many children she taught in Ajloun and their families, and then to those in Irbid as she taught English… She connected with her people at the heart level. We pray that her witness continues to bear much fruit… Cheryll's life has crossed the finish line. She was faithful through the end of this life and to the beginning of her real life."
IMB President Tom Elliff also appealed for prayer.
"We pray for her immediate family members in Texas and for her family members and friends around the world, but especially in Jordan," Elliff said. "The impact of Cheryll's life will live on for eternity. For Cheryll's assailant and his family, we pray God's mercy and grace to invade the dark corners of his heart. For us, Cheryll's death brings us face to face with the urgent importance of our work. With every word, thought and action we must glorify the One who purchased our salvation."
Harvey is survived by two brothers who reside in Texas. Funeral arrangements are incomplete pending the ongoing police investigation of her death. It was not immediately clear if she would be buried in Jordan, or if her body will be repatriated to the United States.