In 1955, a young Dutch missionary went to a 'Socialist' youth congress in Poland, at that time a part of the Soviet bloc. He was going, not because he was a communist, but be-cause he was a Christian. His suitcase contained his Bible, a change of clothes and hun-dreds of tracts entitled The Way of Salvation, which he intended to give away.
The trip was to change his life. Behind the Iron Curtain, he discovered churches desper-ately in need of Bibles, support and prayer. Above all, he found a group of Christians who felt isolated and alone and who thought the rest of the world had forgotten them.
One evening during that first visit, he went to a Baptist church in Warsaw where he was invited to speak. He tells the story in God's Smuggler:
"At the end of my little talk the pastor said the most interesting thing of all, 'We want to thank you,' he said, 'for being here. Even if you had not said a word, just seeing you would have meant so much. We feel at times as if we are all alone in our struggle."
STRENGTHEN THAT WHICH REMAINS...
At the end of the trip, as the many thousands of delegates to the Youth Congress marched in a parade, he found himself looking on praying about what God wanted him to do. He opened his Bible and found the passage which he came to see as a mission: "Wake Up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die." Revelation 3:2
In subsequent years he was to travel many times behind the Iron Curtain. In God's Smuggler, Brother Andrew's autobiography chronicling those early years, he details dangerous border crossings in his blue VW Beetle – which became known as 'the miracle car', for its ability to miraculously keep going.
He was joined by others and began a work of smuggling Bibles to believers in Com-munist countries. And today, Brother Andrew's small Dutch mission has become an in-ternational ministry with offices in 27 countries, working in more than 60 nations to strengthen the Persecuted Church.
MORE THAN BIBLES
It started with a suitcase and some tracts. We still distribute Bibles and Christian litera-ture. But Open Doors work is a great deal more.
"When I first discovered a Persecuted Church behind the Iron Curtain the need was for Bibles," says Brother Andrew in the new sixtieth anniversary edition of God's Smuggler. "But as our ministry expanded, other needs emerged. For example, in some countries pastors have little or no seminary training. We provide them with training so they can be more effective leaders of their congregations. In other regions Christians are dis-criminated against, denied education and quality job opportunities. So we may strengthen the Church by providing small loans to help Christians start businesses. The needs and thus the strategies vary from country to country."
OPEN DOORS TODAY
Today, of course, Europe has changed. The main threat to Christians today comes not from Communism, but from radical Islam. Brother Andrew has travelled extensively in the Islamic world, talking to the leaders of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah. He is among the few Western leaders to regularly travel to the Middle East as an ambassador for Christ to these groups. He has also broken Christian religious barriers by preaching in Catholic and Coptic Orthodox churches.
Today, Brother Andrew and his wife, Corrie, live in Holland and have five children and eight grandchildren. He has received many honours and awards, but perhaps the recog-nition that pleases him most is the copies of the KGB reports, which he obtained after the fall of the Iron Curtain. There were more than 150 pages about him, detailing his work in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. They knew a lot about 'Brother Andrew', and yet they were still not able to stop his work.
He often has said, "Our very mission is called 'Open Doors' because we believe that any door is open, anytime and anywhere. I literally believe that. Every door is open to go in and proclaim Christ, as long as you are willing to go and are not worried about coming back."
THE STEP OF YES
In 1955, Brother Andrew risked it all. Today, will you commit to pray, give and speak out to support your persecuted family?
We'll help you on your journey by sending you regular prayer resources. We'll also send you a free copy of God's Smuggler, Brother Andrew's best-selling book, to inspire you as you say 'Yes' to God.