Brother Andrew: God’s Undercover Agent (1999) by Alan Millwright
I’ve seen his book before, God’s Smuggler (1970), but always said, Someday, someday, I’ll read it. It’s been many years since – hundreds of books later – I finally read Brother Andrew’s biography and surely I’m gonna find and buy or borrow God’s Smuggler. What a life!
Andy van der Bijl, who became known as Brother Andrew, was born in 1928 the son of a deaf father and a religious mother. Andrew was the third of six children and they lived in the smallest house in the village of Witte in the Netherlands. Andy believes in the existence of God, but he doubts God’s goodness. Many time he asked God why He lets his brother Bass, handicapped, died.
When he was young he was rebellious, mischievous and dreamt of adventure. During World War II, when Germany invaded, Andrew amused himself by playing pranks on the occupying troops. Soon he became an informer. Then joined the Dutch army and he became a notorious commando. Andy and friends have this motto while going to war: “get smart – lose your mind.”
As a soldier, Andy killed people. He was a drunkard too. Then in one of combat battles, he get a shot in the ankle… his time in the army came to an abrupt end. While he was in the hospital, nothing to do, he read the Bible that his mother gave to him before he joined the army. He was amazed and surprised by the Bible he never read before. He became curious but he still have his doubts. Only when he return home, he developed a thirst for God. He went to Christian meetings and would read his Bible over and over again until one day he prayed: “Lord if You will show me the way, I will follow You. Amen.”
And what happened in between you got to read his biography for yourself. His (bad) past doesn’t become his stumbling block, rather, it become his “training ground” for what God have equipped him to do in the future. “Equipped with a fearlessness honed in the Dutch Underground and the post-war jungles of the Dutch East Indies and a trust in God that nothing is impossible, Andy became one of the first westerners to evangelize behind the Iron Curtain. And as more doors to Eastern Europe began to open, Andy, now known as Brother Andrew, knew God’s purpose for his life: to deliver Bibles to people everywhere in the world who are starved for His Word!”
On his first mission as God’s smuggler, when he wants to smuggled the Bible, he was stopped by Communist armies who stationed at the border of Yugoslavia. There he prayed his famous prayer: “Lord, in my luggage I have Scriptures that I want to take to Your children across the border. When You were on earth, You made blind eyes see. Now, make seeing eyes blind. Do not let the guards see those things You do not want them to see.” You know what? The armies checked all over his car and they didn’t see anything suspicious! This and many more miracles, how God protects Andy and his friends from smuggling Bibles to Communist countries and even Muslim countries – the Persecuted Church – become a norm for them. God continues to work thru Open Doors International founded by Andy or now known as Brother Andrew.
Four (4) quotes from Brother Andrew that give encouragement and challenge me in my Christian faith:
#1 “The bigger the darkness, the easier it is to spot your little light.”
#2 “Of course it’s dangerous. But it’s a lot more dangerous for all of us if we don’t do it. Even in a conquering army there are casualties. Safety is not the issue when we look at the Great Commission. The purpose of the church cannot be to survive, or even to thrive, but to serve.”
#3 “Christians need a new filling of the Holy Spirit to love those who disagree with them. And the greatest expression of love is to share with them the most precious thing a Christian has, which is the good news of the salvation of Jesus Christ.”
#4 “God does not choose people because of their ability, but because of their availability.”
Please, please, get to know this man of God.
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.