A year ago…

“Would someone please tell the Almighty that He dropped the ball?!”

It has been one year and the impact of those terrible words still hold heavy: “Arie de Carpentier, aka: Brother Andrew, has died after falling from an old balcony.” Br. Andrew said he needed another 10 years to fulfill his mission. Will someone please tell the Almighty that He has dropped a ball?!

Br. Andrew would often sit next to me in the car and tell stories that I eagerly listen to. Of course I have to write them down quickly, but I still can’t keep up. I am well aware of the fact that I am dreaming again, but at the same time I find great comfort in dreaming of his presence. Once awake, the painful truth takes hold again: the stories will no longer be finished and his work has come to a standstill…

Or maybe not?

We went searching for people who stood around him; people with whom he worked. And by ‘we’ I mean the board members of The Carpenter’s Son Foundation. This foundation was established over two years ago to give Brother Andrew’s projects a flying start and to make his words and deeds connecting Christians and Muslims known to the world. Looking back you can say: Brother Andrew wás the foundation.

Or maybe not?

There are literally thousands of Deaf people walking around who have received training at the Institute of which he was director for 40 years. Hundreds of employees carry on his legacy. Tens of thousands of people worldwide have been stirred up after he spoke his fiery words. We have been left without Brother Andrew, but there is so much of him in the people he impacted.

We visited some of those people in Jordan this past summer. We have tried to find ways to solve the jigsaw puzzle: How do we continue Br. Andrew’s work? The borders are laid, even some of the pieces of his many projects are clear. Can we already recognize the total picture? No, it is too blurry.

Or maybe not?

We will be working with partners in the Deaf world, involving government agencies, but above all work with individuals who have been fueled by the spark that Brother Andrew ignited. Who knows, maybe in the next 10 years, more Sign Language interpreters will have been trained than ever before? Who knows, maybe the story will spread like wildfire?

Has anyone already requested from the Almighty why those 10 years were not given to him? I have! And I’ve thought about it deeply. And I still regularly do. But after a year of grieving, I slowly realize that perhaps I expected too much from him. For a man like Brother Andrew, is his work ever complete? No, of course not. So maybe there never would have been a good time?

Yes, we miss his generous smile; yes, we miss his mischievous pranks; yes, we lack his visionary dreams, his daring courage and his inspiring perseverance. His spark may have been extinguished, but his light shines bright through the people who are still there. For his spark came not from himself, but directly from the fiery Spirit of God. Brother Andrew disappeared, but Jesus remains visible… The name of Brother Andrew we will remember, but the name that sent him we will continue to follow.

photocredits Guido Dingemans

Do you remember that Brother Andrew always wore a wooden cross prominently on his chest? His body was placed in a cave a year ago. Together with the wooden cross…

Or maybe not?

Of course not! The cross represents the resurrection from the dead. It can’t possibly stay in a coffin. It inspires those who continue his work. It represents eternal hope and remains a sign for new followers of the cross!

René Kolsters

Chairman of The Carpenter’s Son Foundation

photocredits Guido Dingemans

The name of Brother Andrew we will remember, but the name that sent him we will continue to follow.

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