When I first heard the old adage “The pen is mightier than the sword”, I scoffed. After all, I have siblings. Older ones. Two of the three are brothers. They could punch holes through doors… and I could write fairly well. While math wasn’t my specialty, I could solve the equation regarding my brothers with ease; their brawn verses my pen, or yellow pencil, as it were, and I’d come out on the short end of the stick every time. And twice on Sunday.

With time I’d come to grasp what it was the person that wrote that pen and sword adage meant, but, being slow on the uptake, it didn’t find the heart of what that author was aiming at. Some things take the better part of a lifetime to learn.

By now it’s been a while since I’ve begun to grasp the power of words. The Word changed the history of this world. Words can change, motivate, inspire, and bring perseverance to those who believe in the words.

I was reminded how powerful words are this week. I have some fairly long time friends that I met for the first time Thursday. I realized that I’ve known my friends for around eight years.

Ace and Betty Draper are servants of God. Missionaries. And I knew them, or have been in touch with them, Betty in particular, since they were fresh off of the plane from serving in Papua New Guinea with New Tribes Mission that is now Ethnos360.

For pushing up against a decade we’ve been trading comments on each other’s blogs as we’ve shared our life stories. We’ve poured out truths; fun ones. Hard ones. Real ones… and sad ones. We’ve prayed for one another, and more importantly one another’s children. But in that time, through merely words, we’ve come to know each other just by long distant words. That changed this week.

The change happened at Red Robin in the Tempe Town Square outdoor mall, just east and north of the ASU campus, not far from my youngest’s school and apartment, in Tempe AZ.

These dear folks drove from Sun Lakes, which feels like half way to Tucson, to meet with me. I was running late so Ace and Betty were inside waiting for me.

I pulled off my shades as I flung the red door wide open. Before I could see her, I could feel her. There, to my right, in the empty waiting section was my dear friend Betty… waiting to greet me.

It’s an odd thing to grasp; you don’t have to look into another person’s eyes to know them. Betty and I hugged like a family member you haven’t seen since the reunion of ’88. When I shook Ace’s hand, it struck me, and reminded me, of my dad’s firm handshake. The clutch of a strong man, not for show, but in respect.

I don’t know how long we were at Red Robin, but it wasn’t long enough. I had a million business reasons to leave, but none of them were good enough to make me want to leave the presence of my old friends.

It was a treasure of time to be in the presence of humble servants of God. Ace and Betty are the epitome of just that.

I pondered our meeting and, what is usually foreign to me, the fact that I didn’t want to leave. As near as I can tell, people love being around real people that speak truth in love and humility. We shared stories of our children and grandchildren, life, hopes and dreams. We laughed. I fought back tears.

Ace and Betty had to meet other missionary related people the next few days after the day we met. They were going to Buckeye, which seems like it’s half way to the Colorado River. And they were going up to a place close to Camp Verde, which IS half way to Flagstaff.

After all these years these fine folks are still sacrificing, seeking and serving…

Ace and Betty, and all the people like them, are my heroes. Those called to serve, and are obedient, are the heart, hands, feet, and face of God to a lost world… and even to those of us that watch from the safety of afar. The safety afforded us by God and the ones that He chose to serve.

You can catch up with Betty here. I think she’d agree with me; “The pen is indeed mightier than the sword.”