There are many good books out there. But there are only a few that really pull you into the story, keep you on the edge of your seat, and leave you breathless and deeply inspired.
God's Smuggler is one of those books. And the most amazing thing is . . . It's a true story.
This is the story of Brother Andrew, the famous Dutch missionary who smuggled Bibles to Christians behind the Iron Curtain during the 1950s and 60s. Yet, it reads like a fiction spy novel.
Summary: The story follows Andrew from his childhood growing up in Holland during World War II, to his years fighting with the Dutch army in Indonesia, to his conversion to Christianity and his early years of ministry.
After Andrew was severely wounded during his time in the army, he began reading the Bible one day and eventually accepted Christ as his Savior. After sensing the Lord calling him to ministry, he went to the WEC Missionary Training College in Glasgow, Scotland. There he learned to rely on God for everything, from food and clothing to lodging and visas.
After he graduated from the college in 1955, his first trip behind the Iron Curtain came when he had the opportunity to attend a Communist youth rally in Warsaw, Poland. He wasn't there to learn about Communism though. He was there to find out firsthand what religious freedom was really like there and spread the gospel wherever he went. After this trip, his interest in the Christians behind the Iron Curtain grew into a calling to serve them.
Over the next few decades, Andrew made several trips deep into the heart of Communism. He visited numerous European countries, some of which were Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Romania, East Germany, and even Russia. Later on, he even visited Communist China.
Each time he went, he encouraged the Christians that they were not forgotten by their brothers around the world. And once he returned home, he brought news to the Free World of what life was really like behind the Iron Curtain.
Along the way, he started to notice a great need for Bibles. Often, a large congregation had only one or two Bibles to share among them. He began to pack Bibles into his car and luggage, smuggling them over the borders to give to the Christians there.
Each trip brought new adventure and danger. From border guards who completely overlooked the Bibles in his luggage to exchanging dozens of Bibles right under the noses of the Communist police, God was clearly with Andrew every step of the way, protecting him and his precious work.
In 1958, he married his wife Corry and they had five children together. Corry often accompanied him on his trips, especially in the early years. As time went on, Andrew began to grow a small team around him that helped him distribute Bibles and literature more efficiently.
As the Soviet Union began to crumble in the early 1990s, he turned his attention to the Middle East and helping Christians there. Eventually, he founded Open Doors, a mission that supports and spreads awareness about persecuted Christians. Still alive today, Andrew continues to inspire Christians around the world with his amazing story.
My Thoughts: I couldn't put the book down! It kept me hooked from the very first page.
I really appreciated that it was written from Andrew's perspective, which made it more of a story, instead of just a biography. His way of telling the story was conversational and easy to follow--simple, yet full of profound truth. There were so many wonderful quotes throughout the book that were so inspiring and insightful.
I also enjoyed the special features at the end of the book, especially the interview in which Andrew talked about his recent ministry in the Middle East. The number of adventures and close calls he has had is astounding. (You'll have to read the book to find out!) But his fearlessness and unquestioning obedience is certainly inspiring.
This is a book every Christian, especially young people, should read, whether you're interested in missions or not. It will remind you of the deeply transforming power of the gospel and our true mission as ambassadors for the King. It will encourage you that God is indeed working in the everyday, seemingly unimportant things. And it will inspire you to follow hard after Christ no matter what you may face, because in the end, it is worth it.