My brother is a rather busy man. He owns a tree business and is out in the cold of winter and the heat of summer climbing and cutting and working with the men on his team. He comes home rather tired most days. He is very active in his church, faithfully attending services, teaching and preaching whenever asked. Until last year, he was teaching a Bible Study every Sunday evening in his home for whoever would come. Early every Friday morning he is at the local IHOP teaching a Bible study for the men who work for him and whoever else wants to listen and learn (One year for Christmas I went and bought him a gift card at the IHOP. When the ladies at the cash register found out who I was they were thrilled and told me that my brother is their "Bible Man" and that they love him dearly).
My brother is very active in a local community of Christians. At the semi-annual four-day weekends, he is actively participating in teaching, leading, praying, counseling and comforting. He usually works the men's weekend one week, helps as Spiritual director for the women's weekend the following week, then flies out to Northern California to help them with their weekends. It is not unusual for me to meet folks in our area, find out that they are a part of that community, and then hear all about how they have been blessed by my brother when they find out who I am.
My brother is a man of prayer. He spends a lot of time interceding for people he knows. He is a minister of God's mercy and grace. If God asks him to reach out to someone, he obeys.
My brother is a husband, a father, a father-in-law and soon to be a grandfather.
With all of this, for the past six years he has worked hard at the study of Akido. He has seen it as one more opportunity to minister God's grace to another group of people. During this six years he has managed to tear the meniscus in his knee. He had surgery, went to physical therapy, and got busy back at the Dojo. Last October he had a heart attack. Yes, the brother who works outside cutting down trees, works with a trainer every week, watches his diet and works out at the Dojo ~ that brother had a heart attack. They were able to stint the lesion and once he recovered, he was back at work with Akido.
Last January his teacher suggested to him that he might want to put Akido on hold. My sister-in-law's cancer had come back and chemotherapy was going to be grueling. The Sensei thought that perhaps my brother needed to be at home with her, rather than working at the Dojo. When my sister-in-law heard that she called the Sensei (who had by now become a close family friend). She told him that seeing my brother receive his black belt was one of her goals. She would rather have him working toward that so that she could see him get his belt, than have him at home those evenings.
Last week, my brother's manager and chief climber got sick. Knowing that he had his black belt testing coming up, my brother had to go to work and do most of the climbing. We were praying earnestly that he would not be injured!
This past Saturday my brother invited us to come to his Dojo. We had the honor and privilege of watching him successfully test for his black belt.
I am very proud of my big brother for a lot of reasons. This is one of many.
Way to go, Robert!