the interview

Vicar of Baghdad Talks Jesus, ISIS, Donald Trump And So Much More

Nov 17, 2016 by Stephany Darling

HelloChristian caught up with Andrew White, the Vicar of Baghdad. Andrew has been working in the Iraqi capital for years, leading the only Anglican congregation in the country. He also set up The Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East back in 2005 as part of his reconciliation work in Iraq. He has been in danger for years, with ISIS putting a $56million bounty on his head. Many of his staff members have been kidnapped and killed, but Andrew remains faithful to his call to preach the gospel and care for his people. We talked about his kidnapping, Donald Trump, ISIS and so much more.

Check out this powerful interview below:

1. Many people view you as a hero, how does that make you feel
Andrew: "Well, they might see me as a hero, but my life doesn’t feel like a life of a hero. My life feels like the life of a despised rejected servant of God."

 2. What is your message for the church concerning persecution?
Andrew: "My Message is: we are one family in this together, and we have got to take risks for the sake of the Kingdom of God. What we are doing is for each other and it is not just for one person."

 3. You say it is important to take risks - how did you start taking risks in your own life?
Andrew: "Well, it is very interesting because I started when I was ten. I remember my teacher at school asking: “what do you want to do when you grow up”? I said: “I want to be an anesthesiologist and a Priest”. She said:  “you can’t do that, you can only do one thing, and you can’t be a Priest anyway because you are Pentecostal and they don’t have Priests”. So, I have always done things which people said I couldn’t do, I have never believed there was such a thing as: can’t."

4. Is life more amazing when you take risks?
Andrew: "Yes, because it's not boring!"

5. How do you feel the church responds to persecution? Do you find that people only follow and speak about the work you are doing, but don't actually do anything to help?
Andrew: "Well, they enable us to run this school, and to build the people up, as well as provide them with healthcare. That is all coming from the wider family of the church - so there is hope."

 6. Do you believe Donald Trump will have a good effect on the people in the Middle East?
Andrew: "It is difficult to know what effect Donald Trump will have. However, I hope that he is going to be a man of action. I hope he is not just a man who talks; but that he will try and get something done."

7. Did you ever have any personal contact with people from ISIS?"
Andrew: "I knew them before they joined ISIS. Many of them had been my friends before they were in ISIS. Many of them had joined movements like the Sons of Iraq to fight terrorism. But they lost their power. So then they tried to get power back ... by joining ISIS and by blowing people up."

8. What has been the most horrible act you have witnessed ISIS do?
Andrew: "The most horrible act I have witnessed was when they killed my children. One day, they said to them: “will you follow Islam? Otherwise we will kill you”. My children said: “no we follow Jesus, we talk to Jesus every day, and He talks to us too”. So, they killed them. They chopped off their heads."

9. Have they ever tried to kill you?
Andrew: "They tried various times. They have kidnapped me and shot at me."

10. They kidnapped you? How did that happen?
Andrew: "Well it was some of the bad guys. They did not leave us their cards so we don't know exactly who they were."

11. So, you stared into the face of death?
Andrew: "Yes."

12. What is the most valuable lesson you have learned about following Jesus in the hard times?
Andrew: "The most valuable lesson I have learned was from my children who were killed. When they boldly said: “Jesus loves us every day and we love him, we talk to him and He talks to us”. It is miraculous how the presence of God is with us all the time."

13. Do you experience Jesus more powerfully when you are ministering?
Andrew: "Yes, we have seen visions, angels and pictures. We see them all the time."

14. How did you feel seeing an angel?
Andrew: "Well, it wasn’t a one-off thing. It was a regular, everyday occurrence. One time, I was getting one of my adopted children to take pictures for my book, and he said: “Daddy, I can’t take any pictures, there are too many angels in the way!" I said “don’t worry just take a picture of them as well!" So he did."

Make sure to check out Andrew's organization, Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in The Middle East, here.

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