FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – The administration at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary expressed their condolences and prayerful support over the death of Ronnie Smith, a former seminary student who was killed by unidentified gunmen as he jogged outside his home in Benghazi, Libya, Dec. 5. Smith, 33, was a student at Southwestern in 2007.

“Never do I cease in my admiration for young men like Ronnie Smith,” seminary president Paige Patterson said.

“He knew the dangers that he faced, but his care for people simply outweighed his thought for his own life. The world is not worthy of him. God bless his sweet family.”

Smith was an American chemistry teacher at Benghazi International School. Given the volatile political atmosphere of the country and a recent increase in shootings in the city, his death has received worldwide media attention.

Smith had lived in the country for the past year with his wife and two-year-old son. His wife and son returned to the U.S. a few weeks ago to be with family while Smith remained in Benghazi to give his students mid-term exams. He was scheduled to join them in the states for Christmas.

Prior to moving to Libya, Smith earned a master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Texas and served on staff at The Austin Stone Community Church in Austin.

A statement released on the church’s website said, “Ronnie and his family moved to Benghazi to teach high school chemistry and to be a blessing to the Libyan people. Ronnie loved Libya and was dedicated to his students to help them aspire to their dreams. Ronnie’s greatest desire was for peace and prosperity in Libya and for the people of Libya to have the joy of knowing God through Christ.

“Ronnie was a brother in Christ and a faithful servant of this church for many years. Although we grieve because we have lost a friend, a husband, and a father, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has a greater purpose than we can imagine right now. Though we don’t fully understand right now, we place our full trust in the one who does until we see our friend again.”