On June 16th, 2008, Jeremy Earnshaw, a native of Alaska, and his friends were enjoying a day off from their ministry work with Youth With a Mission in Newcastle, Australia. They were visiting Fraser National Park on the Central Coast of NSW, along a rocky coastline spot called Snapper Point. Jeremy and his friend Jesse knew the waters were rough that day, but these were guys who loved adventure. As the men climbed their way along the rocks, a rogue wave rolled in and washed them both into the sea. Their friends on shore immediately sought help, and it took 45 minutes for the rescue helicopter to get to the site. Jesse was rescued with hypothermia, but after days of searching, Jeremy was never found.
Jeremy had made numerous trips to Australia since 2003, working with the youth and studying at the Newcastle Youth With a Mission base. As part of his training, Jeremy participated in a mission excursion, working in orphanages in Cairo, Egypt. Before he left for Cairo, Jeremy decided to put a tattoo on his chest of Philippians 1:21, “For me to live is Christ, to die is to gain.”
Jeremy loved working with youth in and around Newcastle, and was passionate about skateboarding. Following his accident, a memorial tribute was held for Jeremy in Australia. The youth that Jeremy befriended made lime green armbands in his honor. Written across them in plain magic marker was the wording 1.21, in reference to Jeremy’s tattoo. The following week, several Newcastle youth wore the armbands to school, where numerous students were intrigued about 1.21 and its message. The armbands gave youth the opportunity to tell Jeremy’s story and to share about the love of Jesus. Armbands led to wristbands and then to postcards telling Jeremy’s story.
Requests first came from friends, but then poured in from youth groups, churches, and people around the world, including India, S. America, Costa Rica, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and Indonesia. Because of a simple tattoo on a simple guy who loved Jesus, people around the world have accepted the Lord and lives have been redirected. Cards with the 1.21 story are available in Spanish, Hindi, Telegu, Kannada, Arabic, Indonesian, Urdu, Fante (Ghana), French, English and soon Nepali.
Darryl and Ruth Earnshaw, Jeremy’s parents said, “The loss of our son has been one of the hardest things that we have ever walked through in our life. If you have had or you are facing similar loss and would like encouragement, please feel free to contact us using the contact link above.”
Cards and wristbands are mailed for free but donations are encouraged and appreciated. To order wristbands/cards, please use the contact form above. Donations can be made online on the donate page, donations are used to reorder wristbands, postcards, translations, and postage.
For additional information about Jeremy’s life and the accident, please visit the following internet news sites: