As a practicing Christian, I like to read Christian literature to help with the growth of my faith and I am very lucky that my church has it’s own book club to help me with this. In February, we read The Case for Grace by New York Times bestselling author Lee Strobel. Next up was a classic of Christian literature, God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew (with John and Elizabeth Sherrill).
First published here in the UK back in 1968, God’s Smuggler tells the inspiring tale of a young, poor Dutchman, Andrew van der Bijl, who following the rise of Communism after WWII finds himself called to help the Christians trapped behind the Iron Curtain. As a child he dreamt of being a spy, as a man he worked undercover for God: smuggling first a few, then hundreds, then thousands of Bibles across dangerous borders into needy hands. Relying not on his own ingenuity or luck, but on the miraculous ways of God to provide and protect him. At certain points, this true story reads more like a page-turning thriller! I was left in awe of his exploits and tremendous faith.
In the six decades since Andrew’s solo mission to Communist countries of Eastern Europe and China, covered in this book, his vision grew to become the organisation Open Doors, that is still serving millions of persecuted Christians in over fifty countries to this day. Following the success of this book Andrew found himself blacklisted from Communist countries and so he expanded his mission out to the Middle East, Africa, Asia and India, which is discussed in the epilogue by Al Janssen in my 60th anniversary edition.
When my church’s book club met to discuss this there was a general feeling of awe and inspiration from reading it. Although one member shared that Andrew’s courageous adventures made him feel like an inadequate Christian. However if you feel like this too, I would say that in this story there were also many more Christians who – while not physically going out in the mission – provided money, support, encouragement, resources and prayer without which Andrew’s mission could never have happened. I think God has a specific role, best suited to all of us, and all roles, big or small, done in the name of Lord are important.
Overall, I thought God’s Smuggler was an inspiring and thrilling tale of one man’s truly awesome faith and mission, which also made for a wonderful discussion point at my book club meeting. Our next read is Vanishing Grace by Philip Yancey. Great read.
Have you read this? Or heard of Brother Andrew, his mission or Open Doors?