As a child of the Cold War era, I learned a chilling fascination for anything to do with “The Iron Curtain.” When my high school music teacher started spending her summer vacations on short-term missions trips to Eastern Europe, I was certain that I, too, would be called to minister in lands closed to the Gospel, so I began to prepare by copying all my record albums onto cassette tapes (more portable) and by reading everything I could get my hands on about the Soviet Bloc countries. I held my breath through God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew — close calls at the border crossings with Bibles hidden in every nook and cranny of his V.W.; expulsion from Yugoslavia by the secret police; his holy boldness in defying regimes that were bent on snuffing out the light of truth in their land.
Sixty years after Brother Andrew’s first trip, an expanded version of God’s Smuggler has been released with an epilogue that chronicles his thirty-plus years of ministry in the Muslim world. As the head of a world-wide ministry called Open Doors, Brother Andrew is still working to encourage and strengthen the persecuted church. The work has expanded from simply smuggling Bibles to also providing training for church leaders, offering small business loans to encourage Christians to become financially independent, and advocating for those who have been unjustly imprisoned. Although, at age 86, Brother Andrew is no longer travelling, he is still on the offensive with an aggressive Great Commission prayer ministry.
A Christian classic with over 10 million sold, God’s Smuggler is a fascinating biography set in a unique period of history in which the church found grace to grow in spite of persecution and hardship. Alongside stories of bravery and sacrifice are the humorous accounts of playing cat and mouse with Communist officials, inspiring tales in which money appeared from an unexpected source in tandem with an unforeseen need; and a quietly heroic marriage that withstood the strain of frequent separations with the continual threat of arrest and imprisonment. Corry and Andrew’s mantra was: “We don’t know where we’re going, but we’re glad we’re going there together.”
Although the Iron Curtain is now a relic of the past, there are still places where followers of Christ are paying for their beliefs with their freedom and even with their blood. While I never did receive that call to be a missionary, I still read Brother Andrew’s Prayer of God’s Smuggler with the same heart-felt response that came when I first read it at age sixteen:
“Lord, in my luggage I have Scripture that I want to take to Your children across this border. 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.”
God’s Smuggler is a call to action on behalf of the persecuted church and a call to prayer on behalf of those who faithfully serve.
This book was provided by Chosen Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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