From the Ranch

From the Ranch

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Uncommon Men

There are men among us who walk where the rest of us can't or won't.  There are men among us who live very serious lives, engaged in work activities that often place them at risk, and they do so without fear.  They are enabled and empowered because their faith and trust lies entirely in God's will for their lives, and the work they do each day is extremely significant that day, and it will be significant in a hundred years, and it will be of great value still in a thousand years, and it will still be spoken of in a million years.  When time is no more, their daily activities in this present world will be adding to God's Kingdom, and therefore will still be of note when that Kingdom is our eternal home.  Their everyday efforts at a vocation are efforts which carry out God's plan for spending eternity with all who will choose to love and serve Him.  It is assumed by such men that any given situation they find themselves in is due to God's Divine Plan, and therefore they are by God's own promise equipped for the situation.  Their confidence lies in God, whom they love and serve.  This attribute of fearlessness is available to all of us, but few of us choose to live in this state of grace.  We may give being fearless lip service, but in truth we are fearful of the least threatening of things and situations.  Our son Brian is another of these "uncommon men" in the making, and he was home for the holidays to visit with us and Brother Andrew.  As I listened on Saturday to Brother Andrew White, known as the Vicar of Baghdad, talk about the work that he leads in Baghdad at St. George's Church, and the people who worship and serve God there, I knew why he and my husband are such good friends, and once again realized one of the reasons God sent Randy to Iraq was to support this work.

You might think that the seriousness with which these kind of men pursue their life's work, would tend to make them dull and too reserved to enjoy life, but that same belief that makes them fearless also makes them full of fun.  There is scripture that mentions "joy comes from the Lord," and so it is that when you have a dinner party with such men, there is much laughter, banter, and you feel the true joy of friendship, the bond of an eternal family, and the knowledge of how important each moment of our lives are.  Every opportunity to fellowship with those who love and serve the Lord should be relished and enjoyed as the gift from God that it is, and we did when Brother Andrew White arrived at our house in Austin County, Texas last Saturday.



 When I offered Lina the opportunity to try on any of my "Texas cowgirl" hats, she wasn't particularly excited about this ridiculously large one... however Brother Andrew's eye twinkled, and he offered to help her try it on!  Turns out she makes the hat look great!

  

For a long while now Cannon Andrew White has been Randy's pastor in Iraq.  He is the chaplain for American Embassy there in Baghdad.  Over time they have formed a close friendship that stems from the two attributes they share, that fearlessness I spoke of, and the love of being happy and living life in the "fun zone," no matter how serious their work is.  Randy and I both greatly adnire the work Brother Andrew does toward peace in the Middle East, and his leadership of the ministry at St. George's Church, which is also located in Baghdad, but we are not alone in our admiration.   The following is a list of some of the international honors Brother Andrew has collected over the years of his devotion to God's purposes in the Middle East:

 - International Sternberg Prize
- Honorary Doctorate, University of Gloucester
- US Cross of Valour
- International Council of Christians and Jews (ICCJ) Prize for Intellectual Contribution to Jewish-Christian Relations
- Three Faith’s Forum Prize for Inter-Faith Relations (2003)
- Tanenbaum Peace Prize (2005)
- Grand Commander of the Order of Merit of the Knights Templar of Jerusalem (2003).
- Woolf Institute Peace Prize (2007)
- Companion of the Community of Cross and Nails from Coventry Cathedral for his work on reconciliation in Israel and Iraq
- Train Foundation Civil Courage Prize
- International First Freedom Award (2011)
- Ultimate Christian Library Book Award (2012) for "Faith Under Fire"


I hear so much talk from people who believe the situation in the Middle East is hopeless, and that there will never be peace there.  Some men know that God is willing and able to bring peace to the Middle East, and that He has a heart of love for all who live there.  May God's message and hope of peace go forward, and may those who bring the message be blessed and empowered this message to bring to the world.  We feel so privileged to know Brother Andrew, to call him friend, and to support the work there in Baghdad.  Visit the page that describes the work at  www.frrme.org, and learn about how God is moving in the Middle East.