“Therefore I love your commandments above gold!” Psalm 119:127
On May 11, 1928, a poor, near-deaf, Dutch blacksmith and his invalid wife became parents to a fourth child, a son whom they named Anne (pronounced Awˊ-na) VanderBijl. In his youth, VanderBijl became a soldier in the Dutch army where he committed brutal atrocities. At the age of 20, he was shot in the ankle which abruptly ended his stint in the army. On returning home, he began attending church, read the Bible “obsessively”, and then gave his heart and life to Christ.
In July 1955, VanderBijl signed up for what was the only legal way of entering Poland, a government-controlled Communist tour. During his visit, he recognized the scarcity of Bibles among believers in that country. It should be noted that the Bible was forbidden literature in Eastern European Communist countries at this time. Anyone found reading a Bible was severely punished. But Anne VanderBijl, at the risk of his own life, was determined to bring relief to his oppressed brothers and sisters, through delivering copies of the precious Word of God.
As he pulled up to the border checkpoint of Romania in 1957, he quickly realized there was no way to fool the guards. His Volkswagen Beetle was filled with Bibles and there was no where he could hide them that they would not be found. He prayed: “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.” He put some of the Bibles in the open, pulled up to the guard, and as he handed over his passport and prepared to exit the vehicle for it to be searched the guard instead just waved him through.
That was the first of many, miraculous trips smuggling Bibles to believers behind the Iron Curtain by the man who came to be known as God’s Smuggler – Brother Andrew. After the fall of the Soviet Union, he turned his eyes to the Middle East and worked to bring the Gospel to people living under the persecution of Islamic rule. Today, Open Doors, the ministry he founded, is present on the ground in more than 60 countries where faith costs the most! This past Tuesday, September 27, Brother Andrew was welcomed to his eternal Home to meet in person the Saviour he gave His life to! His life begs the question: “How precious is God’s Word to you?”