On Brother Andrew, “God’s Smuggler”


RFI Executive Vice President Eric Patterson wrote a piece for WORLD Magazine this week on Andrew van der Bijl, or “Brother Andrew,” who died just a few weeks ago. Brother Andrew, a Dutch Christian missionary and the founder of Open Doors, was famous for smuggling Bibles and other Christian literature into communist countries during the Cold War, which earned him the nickname “God’s Smuggler.” In the piece, Patterson reflects on the legacy of Brother Andrew, especially through his work to help persecuted Christians, and what he can teach us today:

Andrew van der Bijl, known around the world as Brother Andrew and “God’s Smuggler,” recently died at the age of 94. We have lost one of our great Christian adventurers. Brother Andrew’s ministry should remind us to put the Bible at the center of our faith and work, and also remind us that there are persecuted and neglected churches around the world—sometimes in our own backyard.

Growing up, I always thought of Brother Andrew as a missionary who took the gospel to lost souls on dark continents. The tales were miraculous, and true! In his blue VW he crossed the border into European Communist countries, praying that just as God had opened the eyes of the blind, would He now close the eyes of those who had sight? God answered this prayer over and over again. In Asia, Brother Andrew and his associates from Open Doors International floated one million Bibles in waterproof wrapping into the surf. On moonlit nights, unsinkable Boston Whalers were used to push the bundles of Bibles to the shore where Christians waded into the water to collect the desperately needed Scripture.

The fundamental thing driving Brother Andrew for many years was the needs of the persecuted church. The Holy Spirit put this verse in his heart: “Awake and strengthen what remains and is about to die” (Revelation 3:2). His primary mission was to equip persecuted believers.

Read the full article: On Brother Andrew, ‘God’s Smuggler.’