ABOUT BROTHER ANDREW
Find hearing, be seen and be silent?
Who was Brother Andrew? The short answer: a servant of the Almighty. The long answer: a servant of the Almighty who took following Jesus Christ very literally. And it is the latter that made him so special. Even after his retirement, at 71, he worked passionately to help people. A tragic accident on a restoration site brought an untimely end to the life of this intrepid Follower of the Cross. His legacy is particularly visible in the lives of thousands of (Deaf) people, but is also reflected in the publication of (sign) books and in organizations that support Deaf and disabled people.
At a young age, as Arie de Carpentier, he came into contact with alcohol and drug addicts. He spent a great deal of time with them: talking; helping; sharing the Gospel; singing and playing the guitar along with others from the Youth for Christ group.
One Sunday afternoon, as a teenager, he hears a Voice and experiences the calling of the Almighty. He has a dream and sees himself walking through the desert in a priest’s robe. Later, in a church service, he has a vision of himself “at the cross of Jesus”. From this moment he calls himself a Good Friday Christian: a Follower of the Cross, and commits the rest of his life to God.
His training as a construction engineer seemed to be in vain, but this is a common thread throughout his life. After a detour through America, he ended up in Israel, where he started working in the Garden Tomb and began redesigning it. A few years later, Brother Andrew, who had since been appointed an Anglican priest, ended up in Lebanon as an employee in a Deaf club. It was here he became enchanted by Sign Language.
The civil war left deep scars, he was kidnapped twice and became convinced that there had to be a reason why he survived the war. He made friends with a priest who points him in the direction of the Deaf, who had not yet heard the stories of God. Ultimately, he was appointed as director of the HLID (Holy Land Institute for the Deaf) school in Salt, Jordan, where he remained for 40 years.
Under his leadership, the school grew from dozens of students in a dilapidated building to one of the best schools for the Deaf in the Middle East. The school now has 150 students across lower and upper years, a boarding house as well as an outreach service covering the Jordan Valley and refugee camps. With his trademark humour and easy manner he built a network of contacts, including the Royal Family, providing a voice for the very poorest, the marginalised and the underprivileged.
As God’s Kingdom became more visible throughout the school and new buildings and departments were added, Brother Andrew started to travel the world promoting his work, growing his network and fundraising. With this came a sort of fame not only for the school but also for him; and this was a struggle for him as he battled to remain humble and a servant of Jesus Christ for the good of the children. This process brought him ever closer to the Carpenter’s Son, who originally called him to the Middle East, and as he remarked once “Sometimes I feel that the Almighty is doing his utmost to teach me humility”.
The latest addition to the school was a department for deafblind children. He was intrigued by the question of how God becomes “visible” to deafblind children, but was also driven by the mission to enable multiple deafblind people to communicate with each other. Through his global network he continued his mission to help the Deaf and the Deafblind, focussing on technology-led solutions that would also reduce the price of hearing aids and so be increasingly accessible to more disadvantaged people around the world.
His 40 years in the “Holy Land” taught him a great deal about the cultural context of Biblical stories, as well as the relationship between Jews, Christians and Muslims. His view on these complex relationships had an enlightening and connecting effect, but always pointed to the cross, which he always wore visibly around his neck.
He was never going to retire – it was not in his make-up. After leaving HLID he threw himself into other work that continued his mission to help the marginalised and disadvantaged. Project plans were created, a new office was renovated and new contacts were made until in October 2020 a third floor balcony, in a church he was helping restore, gave way and he tragically fell to his death. He who gave voice to others was silenced … This “Carpentier” may now rest in peace.
With the same Easter resurrection power the Message continues. The now deceased Brother Andrew was a follower of the Living Word. And we can trust that the Spirit will inspire others to become “Followers of the Cross” like Brother Andrew and will make His Kingdom visible.
“Sometimes I feel that the Almighty is doing his utmost to teach me humility.”
Brother Andrew: 'Be the message'
Brother Andrew gives a passionate talk on ‘Faith and Society’ at the 2013 COEXIST event in Amman, Jordan. His key point: ‘Be the message!’. The Youth Association for Reality & Awareness (Y.A.R.A.) aims to make the world a better place to live.
Memorial Brother Andrew
“A Sign from Above”. Under this heading we want to commemorate Brother Andrew during an online gathering on Saturday, November 28. The commemoration in English takes place from 20:15h – 22:00h (UK time) via YouTube live stream.
The 5 Deaf and 3 hearing representatives from the Jordanian Higher Council for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities are safely back in Jordan. They completed the intensive 8-days program with visits to schools and organisations for deaf education and interpreter training.