UPDATED: Young teacher to the Middle East dies after flu battle in Orlando
Jan 30, 2014

DEDICATED Megan Cribbs, 25, a member of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Pensacola, died Jan. 21. She taught school in Amman, Jordan for two years and returned to the U.S. to attend seminary. Photo by Joni B. Hannigan
PACE (FBW)—A former Christian teacher to Jordan, Megan Cribbs, 25, died Jan. 21 in Orlando of complications from H1N1. She contracted the flu virus and was hospitalized while visiting relatives over the holidays.

Cribbs, a member of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Pensacola, was living in Houston, teaching elementary school, and taking classes through the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary distance-learning program—before her death. 

Dozens of family members and friends learned of her hospitalization in early January through her Facebook account and posted updates, photos, prayers and memories of her international work as well as recollections of her character and passion for her faith.

A Jan. 25 memorial service for Cribbs was held at First United Methodist Church in Pace where Cribbs grew up and where her family members attend church. 

After graduating from Pace High School in 2007, Cribbs earned a bachelor of arts degree in elementary education from the University of West Florida in 2010. Following graduation, through a partnership with the church she joined during college, Hillcrest Baptist, she spent two years teaching English and other subjects in the Middle East, first at The Baptist School in Amman (Jordan), and then at Whitman Academy in Amman.

Jim Locke, pastor of Hillcrest Baptist, characterized her as a young woman who was “passionate about both the Gospel and about children,” something he said was evidenced in how she followed God’s call to the Middle East.

“A pastor is always blessed when he sees the fruitfulness of genuine faith expressed in the life of a Christ-follower. Megan Cribbs lived a life worthy of the Gospel of Christ. I was ever amazed at how such a demure, soft-spoken personality could live so boldly and courageously for Christ,” Locke said. “She represented both her Lord and her church with grace, integrity, and a fervent spirit, and Hillcrest was proud to call her one of our own.” 

Photo by Joni B. Hannigan

Finally, Locke referenced the Apostle Paul’s prayer that “’Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.’

“This was the obvious testimony the brief life of Megan Cribbs, who honored Christ both by her life as well as by her death. Though we are both shocked and saddened at Megan’s death, we realize that our loss is heaven’s gain,” Locke said.

Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, told the Witness he had been praying for Cribbs and her family.

“Megan Cribbs was a born missionary,” Patterson said. “She studied at Southwestern for one reason, to prepare herself to lead people to Christ in a cross-cultural situation. Why did God take her at such a crucial point in her life? That we cannot know.  We can only miss her, thank God for her witness, and praise God that we know where she is.”

Friends from around the world posted pictures and notices of comfort and condolence on her Facebook wall. They show a young woman with curly dark hair and wide, inviting smile that reaches to bright, sparkling eyes. She’s riding a camel, tossing snowballs in the air, hugging family members, holding toddlers, and surrounded by friends. 

Playful, winsome, and adventuresome, comments describe her as “kind-hearted,” “a woman of God,” “an ideal youth worker,” “a light and encouragement to many,” “a lover of the nations,” “an example to others,” and “a brilliant and brightful person.”

One woman left the message: “She’s dancing in heaven. Comfort and peace to all who loved her.”

Brian Barolow, missions pastor at Hillcrest Baptist, told the Witness Cribbs is one of a number of young people answering the call to missions.

“It gives me great hope for the future that this generation will be the ones that will finally be able to witness to every unreached people group and accomplish the Great    Commission,” Barlow said.

Friends still teaching in Jordan indicated she had planned to return.

An ABC Channel 3 news affiliate in Pensacola aired a brief news report Jan. 22, acknowledging Cribb’s death from complications related to H1N1. The report said Cribbs fell ill during a trip to Disneyworld at Christmas.

The International Church, which meets at The Baptist School in Amman, held a memorial service “in loving memory of our dear teacher Megan Cribbs” Jan. 29.

Megan is survived by her parents Larry and Susie Cribbs of Pace and her brother, Joey Cribbs, of Panama City; grandparents Johnny and Frances Cribbs of Pace and Judy Miller of Pensacola; Aunt Linda Michelle (David) and cousins Shanna and Laura Daniel of Missouri City, Texas. Uncle “Bobby”(R.C.) Miller (Teresa) cousins Tabitha, Reggie, Rusty of Pensacola; Aunt Kimberly (Joe) and cousins Blake and Howard (Nicole) Leonard, Joseph and Jonathon Robinson, Trina and   Trisha Adams of Pensacola. Megan is preceded in death by her grandfather Ronald C. Miller of Pensacola and her  great grandparents George Henry and Sarah Frances Paulsen of Pace, and her brother John Henry Cribbs of Pace.


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