September 5, 2014
Nearly ten years have passed since I first began to share the
amazing story of Houston oilman and drilling legend, Andy SoRelle.
Since I first shared this story, there have been many additions as well as
parts of the original story that needed to be "fleshed out".
It was twenty years ago this spring that Della and I were first
introduced to Andy and Maxine SoRelle. What we
were introduced to was a whole lot more than a couple of very interesting people:
we became involved in an adventure that continues to this day. In order
to lay the foundations for the events I'm about to share, let me take you back
SoRelle III was the third in the lineage of a Texas
oil drilling family. His father and his grandfather before him (each of
whom was named, Andrew SoRelle) had become very well
known in America's rapidly-developing oil industry. Their adventures and
accomplishments had already made the SoRelle name
an aside to this story. The unusual spelling with the capital
"R" was the result of a squabble among members of the family who had
emigrated to the U.S. from France. To distinguish themselves from the
part of the family who became known for their winter sorel
boots, as well as the branch that became involved in the elegant (and verrry expensive!) baby furniture, Andy's grandfather (or
great-grandfather -- don't remember for sure) changed the way the name was
grew up in a home where the name of Jesus was a cuss word. He barely knew
who Jesus was. When America became engaged in WW-II, he enlisted in the
Army Air Corps and before long was a fighter pilot providing air support in
bombing runs over Germany. His prowess as a fighter pilot made him the
choice of more than one B-24 crew and for a time he managed to return from
these bombing runs relatively unscathed.
one particular return flight to England,
Andy's plane got shot, strafed by enemy fire, and he lost his rudder, along
with all of his control surfaces. Now, any of you who are pilots who have
flown in either of the Gulf Wars know when that happens, you start speaking in
tongues immediately! If you know the Lord, that is! (smile)
God doesn't intervene, you've got maybe a minute to get things right with the
Lord before the plane digs a trench in the desert or an oil field, or you wind
up as shark bait at the bottom of the ocean. Andy's growing-up hadn't
been Biblically-oriented -- at all -- and the words, "Sunday School,"
WERE speaking in tongues for him. Nevertheless, he did what Albert
Einstein talked about.
remember Einstein? E=mc2? What most folks don't remember is that he
once said, "There is a God-shaped vacuum in every individual that ONLY God
can fill." Andy SoRelle didn't know
anything about Einstein's comment and Jesus was more of a historical figure to
him but he started screaming out for God to fill the vacuum in his life.
"God, if you are real, and you can get me out of this alive, I promise I
will give my life to you." With mere seconds to go before the
fighter aircraft pancaked in some French vineyard,
the plane flew into a fog bank and he lost all sense of direction.
something like an hour, the plane kept flying......in fog. Not until he
neared the airfield in England did the weather clear, and
Andy realized that the Lord had literally carried his broken aircraft back
across France and the English Channel -- WITH NO CONTROL SURFACES available. Andy couldn't steer the plane, he
couldn't set a compass direction, he couldn't raise or lower flaps -- NOTHING!! Nevertheless, his plane guided perfectly to the
runway, landed, and came to a stop with him safe and sound.
commanding officer and fellow-fighter pilots looked in disbelief at the aircraft.
His Commanding Officer said, "This is impossible! This plane can't
fly!" Andy's story, along with accompanying photos of him and the
"can't fly" aircraft, made it into numerous newspapers, and finally
was published in its entirety in Guideposts' Magazine in the late 1960's.
his prayer in that life-and-death situation, Andy's actual submission and
commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ didn't take place for more
than fifteen years. Having grown up in the midst of great wealth and
"high society," he was mostly raised by a black nanny. She DID
know the Lord, was Holy Spirit-filled and had a wonderful daily walk with Jesus
Christ. (Della and I got to meet her when she was in her late
80's.) She began to pray for him, share with him, instruct him (he
thought she was preaching :-)) minister to him every chance she got and didn't
let up. When he did commit his life to Jesus Christ, stupendous changes
took place in his life.
got baptized in the Holy Spirit -- and DID begin speaking in tongues -- for
real! But that was only the beginning. Along the way he met Demos Shakarian (who founded the Full Gospel Businessmen's
Fellowship International - FGBMFI) and became one of the founders of the
Houston chapter of the fellowship. His involvement with the Full Gospel
Businessmen opened up many doors of opportunity for him as an oilman.
reputation as an oilman was already well established, but when Shell Oil heard
about some of his adventures and successes, they came to him with a serious problem.
They had found what looked like a likely oil field off the coast of Louisiana
and initiated drilling. The problem was that no one up to that time had
ever successfully gotten through the Louisiana sands without having to deal
with the issue of the fresh water that would play havoc with the process.
said that he had a specific answer from the Lord as to a drilling site and
Shell Oil funded the project. After days and weeks of fruitless results,
Andy stayed with it and wouldn't give up. His efforts resulted in what
became known in the oil industry as "the Shell Miracle."
my recollection is correct, it was in the mid-to-late 1970's when he and Maxine
were in Tel Aviv, vacationing at the Sheraton Hotel. One morning, he
opened his Bible to a strange verse of Scripture in
"Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable
to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil."
struck him as really odd, so he said, "Lord, are you saying that there is
Israel ?" Considering
that he was in Israel, he decided -- just for grins -- to take a look at an old
Biblical map to see where the ancient boundaries were for the tribe of
Asher. Turns out that those boundaries made Asher look like a boot.
The toe of the boot fell just south of present-day Haifa where many of the
Hezbollah rockets have been falling, and where Hamas has succeeded in reaching
in the past few weeks (albeit unsuccessfully because of Israel's Iron Dome
something of an adventurous type, Andy decided to spend some of his own fortune
and do some test drillings in the area. After some wrangling with the
Israeli government -- whose Minister of Energy thought the whole idea was a
crackpot idea -- for nearly three years, Andy was finally granted a drilling
permit, and in 1979 began drilling at the very edge of the geographical toe: at
the River of Crocodiles.
this was a crew that had been with him for many years -- the same crew, in
fact, that had been with him for the "Shell Miracle" -- and had seen
him come through some amazing circumstances and obstacles to find oil in the
most obscure places. Nevertheless, experience told them they had spent a
lot of time and money for nothing. Andy had simply misread the
Scripture. That passage certainly didn't mean petroleum oil. It was
a reference to olive oil. That was the kind of oil that Asher was known
isn't it, how we let our education and experience, and our book learning get in
the way when we ought to be listening to the Lord. But Andy didn't.
This is a spiritual principle that many folks have lost sight of. We tend
to get in the habit of eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and
Evil. Get it? If something is "good" by our estimation or
past practices, then that simply must be the thing to do!
we see something as "bad" or even "evil" based on our
understanding and/or past experiences, then by all means we need to avoid it
and do what seems "good." Trouble is, we are acting based on
humanly acquired knowledge, NOT based on revelation which has come by the
Spirit of God. And that gets us in trouble more often than not!
Andy, he'd seen and he'd heard the Word of the Lord. It was absolutely
lodged in his spirit. Reading that scripture in Deuteronomy rang as rhema in his whole being. "Fellas,
we're staying with it. Just keep drilling. It's volcanic, so the
material is hard enough to stay together without having to run casing."
The boss is nuts, but he's paying the bills.
they kept drilling. 15,000 feet. 17,000 feet. 19,000
feet. "Andy, this is crazy! Nobody's ever found oil at this
depth in this region. It just ain't
13 months of drilling, they struck oil. At 20,328 feet! Now, here's
where it really gets interesting.
with the second drilling rig, Asher Atlit II
oil was so pure, it was the color of honey. I know. Della and I
have both seen samples of it. As soon as I saw the sample Andy showed me,
I said to him, "Andy, it sure gives you a whole new take on "a land
flowing with milk and honey."
Ahhh.....but we haven't
even scratched the surface.
had spent some $13 Million by this time -- a good chunk of it being investor
capital -- and he didn't have much left. So he picked up the equipment
and headed back to the U.S. to see if he could raise some
money to drill some producing wells. Of course there had to be geological
analysis of the region in order to demonstrate the viability of such a
project. Andy went back to the area in the early 1980's with some
experimental sounding equipment developed by another friend of ours, (I've
already talked about him several times) the scientist, Dr. Joseph O'Neil.
they began to map the oil deposits, they realized that they were sitting on top
of a world-class find. The pool extended out under the Mediterranean for more than a hundred miles. It
traveled through a fault line under the city of Haifa across northern Israel,
gradually rising in Jordan and reaching into Iraq. Turns out this pool of oil
was the primary source of the oil for some of the Middle East's major oil
producing countries. (Whewww.....talk about the
politics of the situation!!!!!)
a whole lot more to this story, and we'll pick it up here next week.
Let me remind you that if you are in need of healing or
deliverance from any kind of torment, please join our prayer conference calls
on either Monday or Wednesday of each week at 7:00 PM Eastern. Once again, the
number to call is (805) 399-1000.
Then enter the access code: 124763#. To get into the queue
for prayer, when Randy opens the call up for everyone, hit *6-1 on your keypad.
Let us minister to your need for healing!
Sunnyside, Washington 98944
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