First published in 1967 and still available, the story of 'God's Smuggler', Brother Andrew as an evangelist and supporter of the communist churches since 1955 is now legendary. Nearly fifty years on, and since the demise of European communism, the long-term effect of this type of work is now more apparent. It was always a war: the communists suppressed, destroyed, and undermined the faith in whatever way possible. The Christians retreated, went underground, held on, resurged, and re-planted.
As he a young boy he longed for adventure and showed an early talent for subterfuge and undercover work. He threw fireworks at the German soldiers who occupied his small hometown of Witte in Holland. He put sugar in the commandant's gas tank. He developed a flawless technique for avoiding church attendance, even though the whole family went together, religiously. As a young man he became a Dutch army commando in the East Indian colonies. He fought like a death-or-glory wild man, scorning his helmet for a yellow straw hat, which drew fire wherever it went in the jungle. Not very promising missionary material.
Later, invalided out of the army, he had to come to terms with all the killing he had done, and his self-destruct drinking habit. Much to his girlfriend's relief he turned to God to sort out his life, but to her dislike, he told her was to train as a missionary with an obscure British organisation that took unqualified people. She married a more sensible man.
Then his work began, with the techniques of the spy and the criminal but a passion for God's book, smuggling bibles into the 'outer periphery' - where some religious freedom still remained: Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Hungary, and East Germany. His technique, incredible though it may seem, was to just pack the bibles as ordinary luggage then pray that the border guards would not see them. It worked. It was often harder to give the bibles away to the fearful church folk than it was to smuggle them in. He trained partners and build a team of workers. The hardest places to penetrate were the 'Inner Circle': Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, and Russia. He found ways to succeed in all of them except in Albania, and later China. As far as I know, his work carries on to this day. The fact that conditions are so vastly changed in these lands is at least in part due to God's Smuggler.
This report prepared by Michael JR Jose