Andrew the Preacher

Man of God
Andrew Miller on his 55th birthday,
with his parents Mel & Lydia


A tribute by Sarah H. Leslie
Andrew Miller has a special place on the streets of gold. At the ripe old age of 55 he departed from here on earth just a few days ago. He was a preacher to all who would listen. When my husband taught Men’s Sunday School class, Andrew sat at the desk next to him, a co-teacher who shared much insight about the love of Jesus Christ. He would copy down words from verses of the Bible and add many extra letters, and words that were legible, filling out multitudes of tablets with ink. He would hand out his notes after Sunday School or church services. 
A number of years ago, after he went through a particularly rough bout of pneumonia, I went to visit Andrew at his house. He showed me his bedroom. That’s when I realized he was a preacher. He had arranged neatly stacked piles of his handwritten sermon notes all over his bed, along with Sunday School booklets and Bibles. He knew what was in each pile and was quite particular about it. He said this was where he gave his sermons. Indeed, many testified that he would preach to his little nieces and nephews who would sit around him. That day Andrew told me a long story about a street of gold, tall golden gates with pearls, and “shiny, shiny gold everywhere.” He kept emphasizing the gold and how shiny it was. I couldn’t understand all of his words because he spoke so rapidly. But I caught the gist. How did he know about this? I asked his sister and his father and they said they couldn’t recall a time where he had ever listened to Revelation on Bible tapes or heard a sermon about it. But he knew about it. Somehow he knew about it. 
I then went and told my Dad about this. He wasn’t a bit surprised. You see, it wasn’t until I was 16 years old that I realized, with dismay, that other people did not treat mentally handicapped people very well. My  father, Paul T. Huling, had raised us to believe that there were very special people in the world who had particular gifts and abilities that we could not discern nor measure. Dad taught us that people who appeared to us to be mentally handicapped were actually NOT — they were actually SUPERIOR to us! And we should treat them this way, with much deference and respect. He strongly believed that God had endowed some people with unique capabilities of intelligence that we had not yet figured out scientifically. He hoped that one day mankind could discover these types of mental gifts and utilize them for our mutual betterment. He also believed they had special spiritual gifts: God could see it all, but we just hadn’t yet figured it out. After Dad watched the 1988 movie Rain Man about an autistic savant, he exclaimed, “See? This is what I’ve been saying!” Dad was very proud that God had gifted him with an autistic grandson, Ace, who has unique gifts that include knowing intricate details about the Titanic, and also about every American president. 
“Dedicated to Andrew, Ace and Pamela,
whose humanity is inestimable and whose worth is immeasurable.”
In 2004 we dedicated a monograph to Andrew, and to Ace, and to Susan Conway’s daughter Pamela. Pamela and Andrew were specially gifted by God with Down’s Syndrome.
While we were working on the research for The Pied Pipers of Purpose, we realized to our horror that much of the purpose-driven stuff coming into the church world was based on the corrupt worldview of the management guru Peter Drucker. Drucker spent the last third of his long life advocating for measuring humans based on their economic worth to “Society.” It was called “human capital,” “knowledge capital,” and now it can readily be seen in the Chinese model for “social capital.” Before publishing I discussed our monograph with my father. He had
been trained in Peter Drucker’s methods in an industrial quality-control
setting making “perfect widgets”. When I explained how it was being
applied to human beings he was appalled.

As we watched new methods and utilitarian mechanisms come into the church in the guise of managing the flock, we recognized that the new “standards” for “performance” that were being drafted would exclude Andrew, Pamela and Ace. Some church structures were so coercive that they would have also excluded us. 
So we warned about the damage this would do to poor innocent sheep, the lost, the weak, the weary, the handicapped, the infirm, the elderly, and the wounded. We feared that under such a repressive system exceptional people would be maligned and harmed. Indeed, as the years went by we received a multitude of reports of sheep fleeing these churches implementing these machinations. As we wrote we also added a satire, based on its undergirding heresy that God was insufficient and that man must make up for His lack. We would go on to publish many Herescope blog posts warning about the dangers of the purpose-driven system. Some of our research was published in Paul Smith’s book New Evangelicalism

God placed Andrew in a loving home in a small close-knit conservative Mennonite community. You can watch his memorial service HERE where you can witness there are still warm places left on earth in these troubling times. Be blessed by watching starting at the 13 minute mark to see Andrew’s best friend Jacob Byler read Scripture with much animation. You’ve probably never seen or heard the Bible read this way. It is just beautiful! 
When his sister Priscilla sent me Andrew’s photo, she wrote: “This was his 55th birthday in May… he never asked for much in life other than tablets and blue ink pens, Diet Coke, a wrist watch and occasionally a walkie talkie set. His favourite things in life were Jesus, his dad and mom, hugs, to be loved and be prayed over, and social life with people. COVID robbed him of that this past year… but he is definitely making up for that in heaven! What a gift he was to our family for 55 years! He was born on my 7th birthday and my parents’ 8th Anniversary!!” 
Indeed, Andrew’s favorite thing was known far and wide — birthdays! Andrew had all of his family member’s birthdays memorized and he also knew about church people. Early on I began to rehearse with him, “Andrew, when is my birthday?” He would look puzzled, and then a big grin would spread across his face as he would remember “Jesus’ birthday.” Every year he would then call me on my birthday.
I have a list of people I am anxious to see again some day when I go home to the Lord. One of the first people I will want to see is Andrew. I especially want to see him in all of his glory — with all of his special gifts and abilities in Jesus fully revealed. That will be a wonderful day!
“And the twelve gates were twelve pearls;
every several gate was of one pearl:
and the street of the city was pure gold,
as it were transparent glass.”

(Revelation 21:21)