Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods.
The most solid of friendships are forged by God, not stumbled upon by man. The best of those friendships are no less divinely ordained and appointed than those friendships that become our marriages. God brings people together for reasons sometimes known only to him.
But I'm here to tell you that Steve and I are not friends. We have known each other for 22 years – more than half our lives. We roomed together for years both in and after college. We were each the "best man" in each other's weddings. I even named my son Steven after him. But we are not friends.
We are brothers. The only lasting friendships I've had longer than those I have with Steve and a handful of our mutual friends, are blood relatives, my true brother and sister. You can see how the lines might blur after a while.
To walk you through all we have seen and done together, who we have known, the friendships we've shared…Well, it would take much more space than we have here, and you didn't come here to read my ramblings. But I can tell you this: In my 41 years, I've not known a man of greater faith, stronger character and generosity of spirit than Steve Baldwin. And God, in his infinite wisdom gave him a wife who has all of those qualities, plus the patience of a saint! Together Steve and Allyson have built a family of equally great faith, character and generosity, and they should be proud.
When Steve first told me they felt God was calling them to missions, and that meant moving – quite literally – to the other side of the world, my first reaction was "you must do this." I knew instantly that this was right for Steve. A second later my heart sank.
Months later, I have no doubt that Steve, Allyson, Sam, Rachel and Abby are meant to be heading "Down Under". I also still have no doubt that it's really going to stink having them so far away, but brothers don't let oceans and distance stand in the way of their relationship. Family doesn't cease to be family merely because of a few thousands of miles. And with today's technology there's no better time in history to have a friend half-way around the world.
I could not be more proud of my brother and sister, Steve & Allyson, and their kids. The selfish part of me wants to keep them here. Every other part of me knows without a doubt that they must go. So it is with truly mixed emotions, but with great conviction that I urge you to support the Baldwins in this next leg of their walk of faith, so they can share their talents, friendship and faith with the rest of the world. Thank you.