Monday, August 8, 2011

Please pray for my brother

By Gordon Bailey
Special to ASSIST News Service

RURAL HEREFORDSHIRE, ENGLAND (ANS) -- My brother, Rodney was born 3 years and 7 seven months after I emerged into the world and, although I would as a child try to pin the blame on him for things I had done, I loved him. We are friends as well as brothers.

Rodney Bailey

I introduced Rodney to my interest in birds, which had been sparked off in me by a man who came to our primary school and placed pictures of familiar birds on the wall but gave them unfamiliar names, names he claimed were better than their common names. He pinned up a picture of a bird I had always called a green woodpecker but called it a yaffle, better, he said, because this name described the bird's laughing call. Then a picture of hedge sparrow went on the wall but he called it a dunnock, telling us that, in any case, it wasn't really a sparrow.

Having been born with a passion for words and their uses this appealed to me and, shortly afterwards, I received as a gift the book "The Observers' Book of British Birds". Each time I saw a bird I would underline its name in my book. My brother Rodney, I think, still possesses that book.

We would travel on the train as small boys and alight at Chelford, a small village in the Cheshire countryside, then walk to a favorite piece of woodland. We once found a wren's beautifully crafted nest up inside the hanging leg of a pair of abandoned gentleman's trousers. We developed the skill of knowing where to look for birds' nests in hedgerows and shrubbery and trees. We particularly loved raptors, the hunters of the bird world: kestrels, sparrow hawks, buzzards.

Rodney is more deeply involved in bird watching than I am these days and goes out regularly close to his home in Reddish Vale near Stockport, or further afield in Cheshire or Derbyshire or Lancashire. If I telephone his home and his wife, Patsy, answers and tells me he is out she'll say something like, "He's gone out budgie watching!"

When Rodney was a small child he asked our mother, "Where did I come from?" She replied, "You were once like a little seed." He furrowed his brow thoughtfully for a little while before asking, "Was my picture on the packet?"
When we were together three weeks ago he told me he would be going to see his doctor. He had been suffering pains in his chest. After seeing his doctor he telephoned to tell me that his doctor was sending him for a scan.

The scan took place on the 1st of August. The same afternoon he saw a consultant and was informed that the scan had revealed a "mass" on his lung. In a few days' time he will undergo a biopsy so that this mass can be investigated. As a master carpenter he remembers working with asbestos and this will, I assume, be a fact that must to be taken into consideration.

I am writing this in order to ask for your prayers. You can email me at and I will pass you messages on or email Rodney directly at: Thank you.

Gordon Bailey has been involved in the Lord's work with the young since the late 1950s, entering a full-time faith ministry in UK schools in the early 1960s. Director of the UK prayer fellowship NETwork from 1961 he saw the fellowship give birth to several significant organisations including Operation Mobilisation and MGO (Musical Gospel Outreach). Gordon has written for and appeared frequently on independent television and BBC Radio through three decades beginning in the late 1960s. He has seen eight books published since 1970 and has written widely for journals in Britain, the USA and New Zealand. He has also been a regular contributor to ASSIST News Service. He is currently a preaching member of a Local Ministry Team based in the Tenbury Team of twelve Anglican country churches on the Worcestershire/Shropshire/Herefordshire borders. Should you be interested in corresponding with him, his e-mail address

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