Dutch Missionary, Known As ‘God’s Smuggler’ For Sneaking Bibles Into Communist Countries, Dead At 94
Portrait of Brother Andrew.Press conference for Brother Andrew, a Dutchman who freely admits to amuggling goods into European countries behind the Iron Curtain, China, Uganda, Brazil and many countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.Brother Andrew is known as God's smuggler since his cargo, on each occasion, has been Christine literature for delivery to the underground Christine churches.Bother Andrew has written books, explaining his deeds.Press conference held at the Wynyard Travelodge. September 15, 1978.
(Photo by Pearce/Fairfax Media via Getty Images)

Brother Andrew, a Dutch missionary known as “God’s Smuggler” for his work sneaking Bibles into communist countries during the Cold War, died at 94 this week.

The missionary, whose real name was Anne van der Bijl, spent a large portion of his life promoting the spread of Christianity into countries where it was unwelcome. He also founded Open Doors, a ministry devoted to helping persecuted Christians around the world. 

“For more than 60 years, Open Doors’ founder — Brother Andrew — visited over 125 countries in service to the global church. It’s with mixed feelings that we share his greatest journey yet. Brother Andrew has gone home to be with the God he spent his life serving,” Open Doors posted on Tuesday. 

Van der Bijl, who was born in the Netherlands in 1928, participated in the Dutch resistance movement after the Nazis invaded in 1940. He joined the Dutch military following the end of World War II, but his military career ended shortly after he was shot in the ankle in the Dutch East Indies.

While recovering from his injuries, van der Bijl started reading the Bible, and he became a Christian in 1950. Just five years later, he would attend a communist conference in Poland bringing Christian materials to give to attendees. This would be the first of many trips into hostile countries behind the Iron Curtain.

The same year he traveled to Poland, he founded Open Doors, which has now supported persecuted Christians for decades. In 2013, van der Bijl told The Christian Post that he believed that persecution strengthened the faith of many Christians in hostile countries. 

“How do we pray? Not for God to remove persecution, but use that to purify the Church. And it is my strong belief that the countries where there is persecution are stronger in faith than churches in countries where there is no persecution,” he told the outlet. 

The missionary would bring or organize the smuggling of Bibles and other Christian materials into Bulgaria, Yugoslavia (from where he was deported once), China, and Cuba. In 1967, van der Bijl co-wrote the book “God’s Smuggler,” which detailed his experiences. 

While traveling over borders, van der Bijl said he was a “teacher” and would pray that God would make the soldiers guarding the borders blind. 

“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,” he prayed. 

Van der Bijl is survived by the five children he had with his wife Corrie.

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