FOR THE MARTYRS

‘Every door is open to go in and proclaim Christ’: Bible Smuggler And Open Doors Founder, Brother Andrew Passes Away At 94

‘Every door is open to go in and proclaim Christ’: Bible Smuggler And Open Doors Founder, Brother Andrew Passes Away At 94

‘Every door is open to go in and proclaim Christ’: Bible Smuggler And Open Doors Founder, Brother Andrew Passes Away At 94

Brother Andrew reading "God's Smuggler" in his VW Bug. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Open Doors.
Brother Andrew reading "God's Smuggler" in his VW Bug. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Open Doors.

Anne Van der Bijl, a Dutch missionary who was known worldwide as “Brother Andrew” and “God’s Smuggler,” passed away last week at the age of 94.

In 1955, Van der Bijl visited Poland, a country under Soviet control where he encountered Christians who were alone and persecuted by the communist regime. He resolved to help them.

Van der Bijl began smuggling Bibles behind the Iron Curtain in his blue Volkswagon Beetle. The Dutch missionary traveled across Poland, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Bulgaria, Russia, and other Soviet countries bringing thousands, if not millions, of Bibles to the hidden and persecuted Christians living there.

Brother Andrew's VW Bug that he used to smuggle Bibles behind the Iron Curtain. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Open Doors).
Van der Bijl‘s VW Bug that he used to smuggle Bibles behind the Iron Curtain. (Image courtesy of Open Doors).

During Soviet border inspections, Van der Bijl would famously pray, “Lord, in my luggage I have Scripture I want to take to your children. When you were on earth, You made blind eyes see. Now, I pray, make seeing eyes blind. Do not let the guards see those things You do not want them to see.”

The guards would look right past the Bibles hidden in his bags and car, and send him on his way. This was the beginning of Open Doors, a ministry that still is dedicated to reaching Christians in countries where they are persecuted.

“Our very mission is called ‘Open Doors’ because we believe that all doors are open, anytime and anywhere,” Brother Andrew said frequently. “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.”

About 10 years after he started his smuggling operation, Van der Bijl expanded into China, which in 1965 was beginning its Cultural Revolution and persecution of Christians. In 1979, Open Doors and Van der Bijl delivered 30,000 New Testaments to Chinese Christians. Again in 1981, Open Doors smuggled 1 million Bibles into China in just a single night.

Van der Bijl in Pakistan. (Image courtesy of Open Doors).
Van der Bijl in Pakistan. (Image courtesy of Open Doors).

Van der Bijl’s autobiography God’s Smuggler highlighted his work in Soviet countries and popularized his code name as “Brother Andrew.” God’s Smuggler, according to Open Doors, has sold more than 12 million copies and has been translated into 40 languages.

After God’s Smuggler, Van der Bijl shifted to ministering to Christians in the Middle East with Open Doors. Van der Bijl himself worked to build bridges with the Muslim world and even met privately with leaders of Hamas, the Taliban, and Hezbollah. At the age of 90, Van der Bijl traveled to Pakistan to meet with Taliban leaders.

Today, Open Doors, Brother Andrew’s ministry is in 60 countries around the world helping persecuted Christians, providing them with Bibles and countless other forms of support and aid. 

Open Doors has sponsored our past two March for the Martyrs in Washington, D.C. We are exceedingly grateful for their support and honored by our continued partnership.

 

Would you consider giving to support persecuted Christians? Click here to donate now!

 

Image: Brother Andrew reading “God’s Smuggler” in his VW Bug. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Open Doors.)

Suggested Articles