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A life lived for others

"A life lived for others" Continued...

Bodrog also devoted himself to a neighborhood Bible study he helped start 11 years ago. Fred Schwien, who has attended the Bible study since the beginning, said Bodrog was often quiet.

“But when Marty spoke up everybody listened because we knew it would be profound and discerning,” Schwien said. “He was a rock of a man. Just calm all the time.”

The study group doesn’t solely read Scriptures. Members often spend time together outside: camping and hiking during a trip to the Shenandoah National Park or sitting around a fire pit and looking at the stars through a giant telescope. But the study members knew they would not see Bodrog on Fridays in the fall. Instead, you’d find Bodrog at the high school football game, supporting his Young Life students.

“He never talked about himself,” Schwien said. “You’d have to draw stuff out of him because he was always more concerned with drawing stuff out of you.”

The Navy was so high on Bodrog, according to Schwien, that when he retired, the Navy converted his job from a military position to a civilian one and hired him back. He had just moved from the Pentagon to the Navy Yard offices earlier this year.

This is not the first time Immanuel Bible Church has experienced such tragedy. The Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the Pentagon killed one church member and severely burned another. Holley said the church learned how to be “spiritual first responders” to families struck by such unexpected violence.

When the news first broke about the Navy Yard shooting, Holley tired to get a headcount of church members who worked in the area. That night, he learned that Bodrog had never called home to check in. Schwien called Bodrog’s cell phone at noon and got his voicemail. Then Schwien called again at 3 p.m. After work, Schwien went to Bodrog’s house to sit with his family.

Holley said pastors in this situation must be prepared to answer the question: Why would God allow this to happen? Part of his answer, Holley said, is admitting that we might not know or understand or like what happens. But believers must trust that God “has an ultimate purpose in all of this.”

Holley is praying that nonbelievers might hear about Bodrog’s life of service and come to a deeper understanding of what it means to live out the Gospel. Christians may read about how Bodrog served his church and community and strive to deepen their own bonds and commitments to individuals and groups around them, ignoring the easy temptation to say they are too busy.

Nunes said Bodrog wasn’t pushy, just very in touch with who God wanted him to be: “He was just a Young Life leader to everybody he was around. From coworkers to church members, he was always out doing contact work.”

Edward Lee Pitts
Edward Lee Pitts

Lee is WORLD's Washington Bureau chief. As a reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, he was embedded with a National Guard unit in Iraq. He also once worked in the press office of Sen. Lamar Alexander.

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