Christian aid worker Chris Leggett is being remembered as a man who deeply loved the people he served.
More than 1,000 people gathered in Tennessee to pay tribute at his memorial service Tuesday.
For six years, Chris Leggett lived and worked in the West African country of Mauritania.
The 39-year-old teacher worked with Foundation Noura which means "light" in French.
Last week, Leggett was shot and killed by Muslim extremists with links to Al-Qaeda.
"What he believed had a lot to do with why he died," longtime friend Stan Gibson said.
The murderers claimed Leggett was trying to convert Muslims to Christianity.
"You know, a lot of just what Chris did was love people. He just helped them in practical, everyday things," Gibson added. "And so, a lot of times, certainly it's easy for us to think about things in eternity. But, you know, you see what Christ did, and a lot of times what he did, was he just met practical, felt needs in order to share his love."
Jay Leggett, Chris' father said his son did not die in vain.
"Our family's great hope has been that Chris will not have died in vain, but that through his physical death, thousands will continue to be challenged passionately to join him in demonstrating God's love," he said.
Leggett leaves behind a wife and four children. His family issued this statement.
"In a spirit of love, we express our forgiveness for those who took away the life of our remarkable son despite this terrible event. We harbor no ill will for the Mauritanian people. On a spiritual level, we forgive those responsible, asking only that justice be applied against those who killed our son."
At his son's funeral, Chris' dad fought back tears as uttered difficult, yet faith filled words of hope.
"To God be the glory. To God be the glory," he said. "Great things He has done and great things He will do."