American Christian Keith Broomfield was killed last week while fighting ISIS alongside the Kurds in Syria, and his pastor says he would smile at Muslims who were hostile toward his faith and make a cross over his heart.
Pastor Gary Moritz of Twin City Baptist Church in Massachusetts, where Broomfield, 36, used to attend, told The Christian Post on Friday that Broomfield "wanted to serve the Lord" and traveled to Turkey and Syria in order to help the Kurds.
"The Kurds have been calling him the first Christian martyr to fight against ISIS," said Moritz.
He wasn't sure what Broomfield would do when he got there and the last time they spoke was in February via email.
"He [told me] he was keeping his Bible open and walking around. He couldn't speak the language. He said it's amazing what happens [with the locals] as they either want to know more about the Bible, or you have a devout Muslim who gets totally angry," said Moritz to CP.
Moritz spent time with Broomfield praying about the decision before he finally left for Turkey.
The pastor described Broomfield as a dedicated Christian and said he found Christ after doing jail time. Broomfield regularly attended church service and was heavily involved.
"Keith definitely had some [demons] from his past, but he also focused mainly on his future and how he can impact the world for Christ," said Moritz.
News of Broomfield's death at the hands of ISIS was "heart wrenching" for Moritz who said he now understands why Broomfield felt called to help the Kurds.
"That was the purpose God had for him," continued Moritz. "Our church definitely looks to him as a patriot. To stand up for the Christian faith and to fight against the evil that's coming against our countries and other countries. He was willing to make a difference."
Broomfield left for his journey that ended in Syria four months ago, according to his family. His death was confirmed by the U.S. State Department on Wednesday.
Hundreds of people lined the streets of Kobani, Syria, on Thursday waving flags and applauding while Broomfield's body was delivered over the Turkey border.
Broomfield's parents learned of his death on Tuesday, according to NBC.
"I went to my kids and I just cried with them about it," said Keith's father, Tom, to NBC. "It's tough, but we have peace about it."
Broomfield is the first American volunteer soldier to be killed while fighting with the Kurds against ISIS.