News Worldwide | 28-9-2022

God's Smuggler "Promoted"


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Brother Andrew Ministered To Thousands of Persecuted Christians Around the Globe
 “The true passion and commitment of Brother Andrew for suffering Christians around the world has stirred my heart and encouraged me, even in the darkest hours of my life behind bars.”  --- Russian Pastor


Brother Andrew, whose clandestine Bible deliveries behind the Cold War Iron Curtain earned him the title “God’s smuggler” and launched a global organization supporting persecuted Christians, died on the afternoon of Tuesday 27 September at his Netherlands home. He was 94.

The passing of Brother Andrew, whose given name was Anne Van der Bijl, was announced by his family at his home in Harderwijk, Netherlands.

Brother Andrew was married for 59 years to his wife, Corry, who passed away on January 23, 2018. They lived all of their lives in Holland and are survived by their five children and eleven grandchildren.

The organization he founded, Open Doors, has 1,400 employees that provide spiritual and material support to Christians in more than 60 countries who live under government, militant and social threats. Often, they work as secretly as Brother Andrew did when he brought Bibles to Christians living under the tight grip of Communist regimes.

“Brother Andrew, a servant of the Lord, father, grandfather, our brother in Christ and the much loved founder of Open Doors has left us today for his eternal home in heaven. He is now with Corry, his dear wife," said Open Doors CEO Dan Ole Shani.

"He lived for Christ and has died in Christ. We remember his family at this moment and extend our deepest condolences to them all. We pray for God to comfort and strengthen them with his love."


"He lived for Christ and has died in Christ."

Dan Ole Shani
Born in 1928 among the villages of Holland’s canal-laced peninsula that reaches northward from Amsterdam into the North Sea, Brother Andrew grew up during the rise of Nazi power in neighbouring Germany. After enduring the German occupation during World War II, he joined the Dutch Army in 1946 to help put down the rebellion in the Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia. He returned home in 1949 with a bullet-shattered ankle and no idea what to do with his life.

An increasing devotion to God led him to a missionary training college in Scotland, from which he emerged in 1955 with an invitation to a Communist youth rally in Poland. There he delivered a suitcase full of Christian tracts, and discovered that churches behind the Iron Curtain were isolated and in need of encouragement. In subsequent years during return visits to Eastern Europe he met Christians whose services, leaders and access to Bibles and Christian literature were being squeezed by the authorities.

His 1957 border crossing into Yugoslavia and other Iron Curtain countries in a bright blue Volkswagen Beetle stuffed with illicit Bibles is memorialized in his 1967 autobiography, “God’s Smuggler”. The first of 16 books written by Brother Andrew, it has sold more than 10 million copies and has been translated into more than 35 languages.

In June 1981, a 20-man Open Doors crew nosed a custom-built barge onto the China coastline under the cover of darkness. They floated 1 million Bibles to the waiting church.


“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.”

brother andrew
“Our very mission is called ‘Open Doors’ because we believe that all doors are open, anytime and anywhere,” Brother Andrew often explained. “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.” His travels logged an estimated 1 million miles through 125 countries.

After the fall of the Iron Curtain, Brother Andrew turned his attention to the Islamic World, saying that the rapid spread of Islam posed the greatest challenge yet to the Christian church worldwide. His travel shifted mostly to the Middle East and South Asia. He took private meetings with leaders of several Islamic fundamentalist groups. He was one of the few Western public figures to regularly go to those groups as an ambassador for Christ.

Brother Andrew presenting a Russian language bible to the Russian Orthodox Church

Brother Andrew with a group of children in Gaza

In the face of growing Islamist violence toward Christians across the Middle East, Persian Gulf, northern Africa and Southeast Asia, Brother Andrew preached against retaliation.

“When we have an enemy image of any political or religious group or nation, the love of God cannot reach us to call us to do something about it,” he said. He frequently turned the word Islam into an acronym for I Sincerely Love All Muslims.

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands knighted Brother Andrew in 1993. In 1997, he received the World Evangelical Alliance’s Religious Liberty Award, recognizing his lifetime of service to suffering Christians and his passion for spreading the Gospel. In 2003, he received the Heritage of Faithfulness Award from the Christian Association of Senior Adults, in California. However, Brother Andrew says he was proudest of being named a “Blood Brother” of the Apache Indian tribe in 1980s. As part of the ceremony he was given an Apache name that means “He who breaks through the lines.”


"He was one of the most courageous, godly, visionary leaders I know."

Loren Cunningham
Loren Cunningham, Founder of YWAM said, “Brother Andrew was my hero for more than 40 years. We travelled in ministry together on 5 continents. He was one of the most courageous, godly, visionary leaders I know... I loved this brother deeply in the Lord. We never had a cross word, but I only received words of blessing and encouragement. I have been taught by this man of great spiritual depth through his words, his deeds and his life.”

In addition to distributing Bibles worldwide, Open Doors provides spiritual development, economic relief, literacy and vocational training, trauma counseling and other support services in countries where it is most dangerous to live as a Christian.