Wednesday 6 July 2011

The Job the Vicar of Baghdad gave me to look after the Judge who sentenced Saddam Hussein

  By Elaine Waterfield
Although Elaine has been over a few times we haven't been able to share until now what's been going on surrounding the West End news a few weeks ago.ACW

I sat at the computer one afternoon and noticed that Canon Andrew White had emailed me to phone him up, although he didn’t say what about, so I was quite intrigued. I was a little taken back actually because I had only met him once when Nigel and I went to listen to a lecture by him in Leicester University back in 2009. I remember at the time I was very impressed with him as he said it as it was, there were certainly no flies on this Vicar.!!!!!!!!

He also answered my question “did he see Jesus at work in Baghdad” he replied that when he prayed for healing everyone was healed not one or two but everyone. Andrew also stated that when Muslim converts to Christianity were going to be baptised they knew that they would be murdered by their family the next day, but they still went ahead because they loved Jesus (Isa) and had a strong faith. I also remember how he actually sent me a nice birthday message on Facebook and told me that his congregation in St Georges had prayed for me. What made this more special was because Nigel had died that year and I was feeling alone in bereaved. It truly blew me away and I wrote on Andrews Face book wall about it.

Anyway back at the computer I rang the Vicar of Baghdad up and he said

“hello Elaine its Andrew White here,"

"Yes” I replied and he went on to ask if I knew Sadam Hussein? Well obviously! But then he went on to say that the judge who sentenced Sadam to death, was coming over with his family to Southampton as he and his wife were having operations. The judge had a neck problem and his wife she had a problem with her foot. However when Andrew was praying about this God had told him to ask me to help the judge, his wife his family to support them in hospital..

“Can you run that past me again” I thought to myself, this was a bit too much for me to take in and I sat and cried feeling very, very humble as I was just a cleaner / relief project worker for ex offenders I was certainly no one special, but as the Canon pointed out it was extraordinary that I worked for ex offenders and God wanted me to now help a judge the judge who sentenced Saddam.

Well of course I would as I love adventure living my life on the edge and on the front line as I have a gift of helping those who many people wouldn’t dream of helping as I love the lost the poor the broken the needy and the marginalised.

Actually it was a chance to give back when Nigel and I were stranded in Southampton after our van broke down at Winchester on the M3 on the way to a Transformed ministries meeting for ex offenders after wining an award in London for our own Ministry “Watering Hole” helping drug addicts and ASBO kids on a deprived estate in Leicester. As Nigel couldn’t walk we had to go to a hotel in Southampton we knew nobody there and yet after Rev Frank Brookes who was the founder of Transformed prayed all these Christians came to our aid with food and fellowship and also someone paid for our hotel bill, I could never ever repay this so in this way I could give back to someone else what we received which I shall never forget as long as I live.

Andrew did say it was top secret but I could tell my Pastor and some of my friends from my church. Elaine is no good at keeping secrets how was she going to keep this quiet? I rang up Sanjay our pastor from Mumbai and a friend who knew me quite well but I got the distinct feeling they didn’t really believe me or like me it hadn’t really sunk in at the enormity of all of this. All I kept thinking was why me Lord, why me? I know I was moaning about my cleaning job and how I wanted some adventure but this is awesome.... God says in his word that he uses the weak to confound the strong.

Weeks past and I heard nothing from Andrew and I wondered if he was winding me up as I still couldn’t quite believe that the judge was coming here and if he was I would have quite simply told him what I thought. However Andrew did contact me again and told me to phone a member of his team called Gehad. As soon as I heard the name Gehad I thought of suicide bombers but realised I had to be sensible and phone him I did. I must admit I did like his accent and found myself praying with him about the whole event. One thing I did find frustrating was the fact that he said the judge was coming one day and Andrew said something else, but I expect that was to do with security.

It was a bit of a waiting game to know what time to meet them and but eventually I got a phone call and soon found myself with a friend from church Trevor, waiting for the group at a posh hotel in Southampton. I was nervous I really was wondering what to expect, God did tell me to take gifts flowers for the Judges wife and chocolates for the others in the group and later on I discovered why because it’s a Middle Eastern custom to do so.

As I looked up I saw Canon Andrew White, this man who looked like Kojak and the other looked like Colombo both television detectives and a very tall big man with glasses who looked like a body guard. Kojak was indeed the judge and Colombo was Gehad the interpretor and the bodyguard was Ken Andrews’s driver. There were also two beautiful looking ladies who were the judge’s daughters and an English man who looked quite well to do. I really, really was in ore of these people and had to pinch myself to be honest to think I was drinking chocolate with these people.

I did learn that he needed major neuro surgery on his cervical vertebrae and the very best consultant who happened to be Kurdish was in this particular Southampton hospital. This was really amazing Gods plan as it turned out later.


One of the highlights of the meeting was when the eldest daughter gave Andrew a Kurdish rug of the last super. It was absolutely awesome that a Muslim would honour a Christian like this it was indeed historic and momentous as its meaning was certainly one of reconciliation and friendship, fellowship etc. God had most certainly got a plan and purpose and I knew that I had to pray for the Judge and Minister of Justice and his wife for their salvation and healing.

Over the weekend Andrew asked me to look for a Kurdish restaurant to take the Judge and his family too, I looked in the phone book and came up with one in Saint Mary’s but Brian said it wasn’t the best place to go and I came up with the Thai restaurant in Southampton Docks.

That weekend Andrew my hero was speaking at Cosham Baptist church and I had to meet a man called Brian who knew Andrew from his work with the Kurdish people as he was coming along to the Hospital appointment and the meal with us on the Monday.

On the Sunday night I arrived at the church early and had a coffee and some biscuits as I spoke to people from the church who were going out on mission. Afterwards I went and sat in the chapel to listen to the worship which was quite wonderful and in the meantime Andrew and Ken arrived. Whilst Andrew was chatting away I met Brian he wasn’t how I expected but a small man with glasses and who wore shorts which I believe he is quite famous for.. However Brian had a real heart for the Kurdish people and also for God.

I must say Andrew gave a wonderful talk about how the Ayatollah had an ordinance with him asking him if he had any money and Andrew said he had only twelve dollars left in his pocket. Then the Ayatollah asked him to pray for food for Iraq as there was a shortage at the time and he knew Andrews prayers would work.

. Andrew said yes he would pray when he read from the Book of Common Prayer that night However Andrew forgot until, the very end of his prayers and the Holy Spirit promoted him just said “oh yes the food”.

. The next day Andrew was approached by an American man who asked him if he could do anything with approximately 145 tons of meat which he had to give away and he also had a number of with refrigerated vans WHAT AN AMZAING GOD WE SERVE.

Anyway the following day I drove to the hospital in my clapped out Volvo and boy did I feel embarrassed as I found it hard to drive into the parking space. As I sat opposite Andrew and the Judge, Brian and Ken and the Judges nephew I had to pinch myself because I couldn’t believe what I was doing here with such prominent figures and wondered again Lord why me.

As we talked Ken and Gehad started laughing and joking and the atmosphere was really amazing the joy of the Lord was indeed our strength humour became so apparent and broke the ice. Especially after the Judge appointment we all went on convoy to Portsmouth to a Kurdish Restaurant. The venue was changed because there was so little time to get to the Thai one. Anyway Gehad had to help me get out of the parking bay and I felt so stupid, I expect nerves took over, and then Brian in his Jesus van and me in my clapped out Volvo followed Gehad in his car and Andrew in a blacked out four wheel drive. I thought this was hilarious I just thought if the guys at Elderfield could see this as they are always joking about my driving. It was a bit crazy but before I knew it we were heading into Portsmouth and Brian put a Kurdish Flag on top of his car and I had my Christian music blaring away “ Our God is Greater “ I just wondered what passers by must have thought?

Before we go to the restaurant we passed an Antique shop where Brian worked and on the window was a board with Jesus written on it, it was great but I wondered what the Judge was thinking? I had a bit of a problem parking and but anyway we all trundled into this Kurdish restaurant and sat down at two tables pushed together.

The food was truly amazing first of all we had this yoghurt drink, I have had some before in Turkey and Tunisia salt, water and yoghurt and in Tunisia they added mint. It was nice but the first taste was ever so salty, most likely why Andrew put sugar in his and plenty of it. But after a while you got used to it. Brian said Grace and then we had the starter which consisted of lots of dips and flat bread like Indian nan and salad, then we had more salad and lots of halal meat chicken, lamb etc. but no pork for obvious reasons as they were Muslim. I of course had to drop yoghurt down my top making an utter mess of it all.

I got on well with Gehad and ken they were very funny and it made me feel like a family something I hadn’t felt since Nigel died. To be honest I didn’t want the time to end there.

On the way back Brain took the group to South sea by the beach to a monument put there by his association remembering the place where Saddam gassed and killed many families in Halabja Kurdistan and this was very dear to the Judges heart as he comes from this town It would be very difficult to truly understand their deep routed feelings at such mass genocide. When you think about it , it was Gods Justice to allow a man from this place to Judge Saddam as he knew the devastation and wickedness of Saddam’s doing. Only an Iraq man could have sentenced him that’s my belief. But as a Christian if Saddam had, have repented to the Lord of what he done from the heart then he would have been able to enter the Kingdom of heaven. We often praise Paul and all the evangelism and teaching he did but we forget that he was responsible of killing Christians and the stoning of Steven. Such is the power of the cross and Gods forgiveness why we need to forgive others.

The day of the operation I had told Gehad that I wanted to pray for the Minster and could he tell me when the best time would be this time the misters wife came and the two daughters they enjoyed all the humour and it broke the worry and the dread of an operation as it was quite a complicated operation and procedure as the surgeon had to start at the front of the neck to get to the vertebrae. I had bought some more presents the Judge a pen and the wife also a pen and the daughters some purses; plus a card for the judge and his wife to get well soon and I added some scripture in this too. I just wanted to share the love of God. It wasn’t about trying to impress just show love.

I met the Judges wife for the first time and I could see her worry and felt for her as I know what its like when Nigel went for an operation to have a pace maker fitted I spent all the time in the Chapel praying and singing Godfrey Birtill songs.

The Judge went up stairs to get ready for his operation and his wife two daughters and nephew went with him and Gehad and I stopped down stairs for quite a few hours chatting away and laughing and he is so funny he has an amazing sense of humour. After a while Gehad went upstairs and then I followed him, normally in the NHS ward its quite dismal and boring but here we always several people in the room and food was always around. The Ministers wife told me to sit down and gave me some salad and what looked like meat balls and brought out a bag of fresh herbs still on their stems and I thought does she really want me to eat them like that? But surprisingly enough they were very tasty in flat bread. Then we all had hot chocolate the Middle Eastern people seem to like this drink. You would never have had imagined in a million year we would be all having such a lovely time waiting for the judge to come back from his op, it was bizarre, but apparently in Kurdistan the whole street come out in support. In England the only time neighbours come out is to moan about where you placed your car and where you put your dustbin.

As time progressed I asked Gehad if I could get him to translate a prayer for the Judge and his wife. I mean I am not only a Christian but a woman and they are Muslim so it was a bit of a worry but then God had told me to do this so really everything was in hand.

Gehad asked the lady and she said it was OK and so I began to pray for the Judge that everything would be fine and that he would be healed and that the judges wife would also be healed and things would go well. She was quite emotional about this and I felt a shift in the spiritual atmosphere. The Judges wife also spent time in prayer for her husband and used her prayer beads quite a lot as did the Judge use his, they were both very spiritual people.

When the Judge came out of surgery the most amazing things happened again as I was allowed to pray for him with the help of Gehad’s translation skills. Gods amazing to think I got to pray for the Judge who sentenced Saddam Hussein but at this point he longer was a Judge but my friend who I thought highly of and honoured in fact his whole family were quite amazing and also Gehad and Ken. It was like a family which I hadn’t experienced for a long time. I hated leaving to be honest.

Andrew rang me at some point afterwards and told me that the Judge had experienced God in the operating theatre and that was amazing also his operation went really well. God was so present in that room it was truly wonderful the joy of the Lord came down

I went quite often to see the Judge when ever I could and each time I was able to pray for him and his wife and got to talk to his daughters and wife’s sisters’ family. One God event was when during this time I was very short of money I had money to buy food and things but had not enough to pay my rent and God told me to sell my Jewellery wedding rings and Nigel’s gold bracelet and this particular time when I left the hospital the Judges wife gave me one of her rings and it was like God had acknowledged what had happened and what I had been doing and I was just so blessed so very blessed.

The Judges wife also gave me her beautiful scarf with gold threads in but I came to realise that God had done this so I could take it to the Warrior Bride Conference near where I live. It was a prophetic conference where we were going to pray for the city and the nations.

Mrs Thampy was booked from India she is a well known prayer warrior who has her won TV programme and also many other Prayer warriors from all over the place. It was indeed a power house for the Lord the glory of the Lord came down Shekinah glory. I was praying in the spirit and singing in tongues and the lord said to me to place the Judges scarf on the Israel flag and the cross on the top and I did and lay prostrate over all of this. I just thought the Judge would think I was ten pence short of a pound if he saw this because Israel and Iraq aren’t exactly the best of buddies. I also got everyone to pray for the Judge and his wife and I mean everyone. I also prayed for Iraq and the Middle East and for the Judge to give his heart to Jesus because if he did imagine what would happen and how powerful that would be and what a testimony he would have..

At this point I wanted to share that whilst I was at the conference I met the couple who paid for my hotel bill when we were stranded in Southampton and they were so fed up down in the dumps feeling they did nothing for God. Well I had news for them and said they had inspired me by their kindness when I was stranded in Southampton that I have been able to repay this by helping the Kurdish Judge and his wife and a lad also at the conference came up to them and said when he went with Bob Lights congregation on a weekend out from the Flowers Estate to Lee Abbey he gave his heart to Jesus and thanked them and they were so blessed and encouraged. Amen and Amen. So this adventure has been effecting others too and what God has been doing.

But what really blew me away at the conference was to see several children come to the Lord without going to church they just met with Jesus and God gave signs he was real by sending a dove to one lad and another lad found a sword in a bush and they all blew my Shofar at the end of the conference...... God is bringing Revival Amen.

Anyway back to the story at hand I asked a lady what was happening and she said I was interceding for them and leading them to the cross and salvation. WOW the next day I went to my old church Portsdown Community Church and got Peter Stott to pray for them too and wrapped the scarf around the cross with the Israeli flag and redeemer flag and I am flag and prayed again. It was so powerful I could never explain for one minute. I so longed for the Judge and his wife to become Christians and be healed I was carrying an enormous burden for them and for Baghdad. So much so I didn’t know what to do but only God and the Holy Spirit could orchestrate this.

But do you know what got me the most that every time I tried to share all of this nobody wanted to know I wanted the whole church to hear what God had been doing and pray as a whole congregation. I could have shouted this from the roof tops but people just didn’t get it they really didn’t. They didn’t see all of it as I did and as God had lain on my heart.

I realised I had to give this back to the Judges wife the scarf as it was like Pauls anointed hanky, so the day that the Judges wife went for a pre –op appointment and the judge his after operation I asked Gehad to help with a point of time when we could give the wife the scarf back and explain about all the prayer for her healing etc. To make this a little easier so she wouldn’t take offence managed to get a copy of Warrior Bride Conference and the photos of those who had prayed for her.

This time we all went to the Thai restaurant in Southampton I drove Gehad and the Judges nephew and Ken took the Judge and his wife and all daughters and niece I was still really embarrassed about all of this as my car was a wreck and I did have a few funny incidents one time I went to park and there was no room so I parked on the curb over the rockery and little did I know there was a land slide with two great big boulders under the Volvo, I couldn’t drive forwards or backwards and when I looked under the Volvo I couldn’t believe it. What was I going to do? Thankfully Ken came to my rescue and told me to move this way and that and edged the car away and then he picked these huge boulders up I was gutted I really was totally to think I had done this.

Anyway the Thai food was great it did help the ambiance with the view of the sea . We had all sorts of things dips and fried vegetables and chicken, lamb and rice. There was also more humour and the Joy of the Lord fell upon us.

After the meal Gehad explained to the Judges wife about the scarf and she seemed to be blessed and understood because when she finally did have the operation she placed the scarf over her legs and when they took off the cast a few weeks later her foot looked so much better and like the Judge the operation was a success. She apparently had a car accident five years ago and she had problems with her foot ever since and had ben in a tremendous amount of pain because her ankle wasn’t in the right position.. (Well something like that)

It was quite strange when the Judges wife was having her operation as their roles were reversed, this time he was worrying and she seemed glad to be having this OP as she was indeed in so much pain. The joy of the Lord fell upon them again and we were laughing and joking this time about Street Pastors they couldn’t understand when I told them about Street Pastors and the work they do, why they give out flip flops, they thought this was terrible as they believed we were encouraging the girls to drink alcohol. Where I was trying to explain we were meeting a need at the time to save the girls cutting their feet on the glass or damaging heir feet.

I asked the Judge his thoughts and he stated that when an act of kindness comes from the heart it can’t be a bad thing. So I thought what a very wise man indeed. In fact he was a very wise man, I spoke about how ex offenders give their lives to the Lord and he said that they needed to have a 180 degree turn around to change and he actually got it even though he is a Muslim and he is the most amazing man I have ever come across.

Once the judges wife came round from the anaesthetic and he knew she was Ok the Judge went back home to Iraq and he asked me to look after her, which I did to the best of my ability. We had quite a nice time me and the wife and her eldest daughter, talking and laughing and praying and the Lord told me to take some flowers from the grounds of where I work and a bowl of blackcurrants, gooseberries and raspberries which they enjoyed.

Since this time I did visit the family and what an amazing time I had with them again. They made me some lovely Kurdish food and took me out for the day and they were even happy come to church with me and enjoyed it WOW.Whilst I was there I even got to meet a Minister of Kurdistan and prayed with him too. Lord you are amazing.

During this time I also went to see Andrew fondly known as “Abuna” ( priest father) at his home and his office is amazing he has over 400 crosses round the room ranging from just after Jesus crucifixion to present day from all over the Middle east and all over the place some big crosses some small and I even gave him a big one with the Lords prayer on it, he has a Muslim wall a Jewish wall and a Christian wall lots of living history going on there, photos of him with various Presidents and Prime ministers . Andrew also has lots of books and pictures one of Muslims praying in Caro and one of Saddam with a soldier standing next to it and I know Gods sense of humour when the Chaplain were given Saddam’s throne after is arrest and now Andrew sits on it well sometimes he is usually a very busy man and doesn't have time to sit down..

The day I went to see Andrew it was his birthday the next day and I saw three cakes in the local cake shop and thought which one should I take but I thought I better take all three as he had a choice, lemon cake, Coffee and Walnut and also a Chocolate cake, I think he liked the lemon one the best. We also had tea in a beautiful teapot from Kurdistan along with the cups and saucers ‘and it’s much better having tea like this out of porcelain cups tastes’ better. I loved his house as I used to be an antique dealer and I was simply in my element. I was truly amazed to think his wife Caroline is the granddaughter of Neville Chamberlin Prime minister.

I myself have a famous relative who was a missionary in the Solomon Islands who was a dentist who used to travel on horse back with a bottle of whisky to relieve the pain, at a time when there were cannibals were still on the on the islands. Whilst another died trying to save his men on HM Pique after the battle of Acre in 1841. It’s amazing when we look into our genealogy.

But I was very honoured to be given a gift from Andrew a wooden map of Iraq with a cross in the middle carved by a gentleman who has not long past away and I will treasure that as I will a cross he gave me from Iraq.

What wonderful memories but all these people I speak about are heroic for one reason or another Gehad whose really a unsung hero himself , Brian who goes to Kurdistan and gives a lot of time and fiancé to the Kurdish widow’s , Andrew well he is a hero full stop with his work worth St Georges the mother ‘s union and fight for peace, plus a man of God, Ken he is amazing very kind hearted and the Judge and his family they all have a story to tell suffered greatly or done amazing things for their people, we will never hear about which has left for some great loss and pain but Jesus came for the lost the poor the broken and the needy and I thank God for these people and for their friendship and for the time I spent with then as I shall never ever forget such fellowship sense of family and Gods love and Grace.

But thank you Jesus for asking me to do this job and I think its only just truly begun as I am going to Kurdistan soon so watch this space.


Please pray for Andrews’s wife Caroline and their children & Kens wife in fact please pray for all of them, including me.Also atleast something good came out of Saddam Hussien

as it says in the bible God turns everything works together for good for those who love the Lord

Facebook comments
Canon Andrew White (Vicar of Baghdad)   (CAW )
Elaine the fact is that in this incredible story that you tell so well you were truly amazing. This was a highly important venture. One of the most important ministers in Iraq who just happened to be the judge who tried the most famous dictator for many decades.
I knew that him coming here for surgery was no little matter. There were not least major security issues and my team were organising everything. I knew though that we needed more help. I prayed Lord who should this be? Within moments G-d told me I would find them on FB. I looked, found Elaine's profile, and G-d said "It is her".
I did not know you , or anything about you. But the Lord had spoken and I responded. I have never phoned anybody before asking them to do such a monumental task before, especially when I did not know them. G-d knew you though and used you t...o do an incredible Job. You loved them, cared for them and showed them the love of Jesus. To them all they could say was how much your love and care meant to them. The Minister said to me this care was not human care
E   GOD used me as his vessel and it was his love that came out of me and also Gehad was a vessel of Gods love as are you Andrew thats why we worked as a team we were acting as a body together. It wasnt forced but the Joy of the Lord is our strength. He sint the Judge now he's my dear friemd as are his family

CAW it was the love and care of G-d. You were the chosen by G-d to do this work and you were simply wonderful and I thak you from the bottom of my heart.
E I thank you from the bottom of mine tooif you hadbt been obediant nionof this would have happened

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