June 2, 2014

God's Smuggler

I loved reading Brother Andrew's story!

From his early years growing up in Holland, to his coming to Christ, to his missions into communist countries in the 1950's and 60's.

I loved so many things about this book.

So I'm going to share about it in a little different way. I've broken my thoughts up into six themes that stood out for me in his story.

The Gospel, Hope, Joy, Prayer, Longing and Normalcy.

1. The Gospel

I love how God uses ordinary people to share His truth. All He asks for is a willing heart. Since childhood, Brother Andrew always wanted to be a spy. The books starts out this way:

"From the time I first put on wooden shoes- klompen we call them in Holland - I dreamed of derring-do. I was a spy behind the lines, I was a lone scout in enemy territory, I crept beneath barbed wire while tracer bullets scorched the air about me."

God would literally use this adventurous and daring boy to bring the gospel, in the pages of the Bible, to hundreds and thousands of people in communist countries.


2. Hope

God can change and work through anyone. Never give up hope for that loved one who doesn't know Him. He changed and worked through a rebellious and mischievous Dutch boy. After quite a struggle, he finally gave his life over to the Lord. He says here of that moment, on a stormy night in 1950:

"What was it I was hanging on to? What was it that was hanging on to me? What was standing between me and freedom?

The rest of the house was asleep. I lay on my back with my hands under my head staring at the darkened ceiling and all at once, very quietly, I let go of my ego. With a new note in the wind yelling at me not to be a fool, I turned myself over to God - lock, stock, and adventure. There wasn't much faith in my prayer. I just said, 'Lord, if You will show me the way, I will follow You. Amen.' 

It was as simple as that."


3. Joy

When we think of dangerous missions we rarely think of joy, but not with Brother Andrew.

The joy of the Lord shone throughout his story. When he would met another Christian he was overjoyed, when he was able to find an underground church he could preach at, he was overjoyed, and when he could give someone a Bible in a country the forbid them, he was overjoyed. He doesn't actually say this, but I felt his joy through his experiences. It was so encouraging.

One time in Russia he attended a church were the pastor didn't even own a Bible. During services the pastor would borrow a Bible from one of the few in the service who had one, then hand it back. Brother Andrew was all out of Bibles by this time, but suddenly realized he had one more...

"All of the ones we had brought with us were gone - and then I remembered. The little Ukrainian pocket Bible! 'Wait!' I shouted. I jumped up from my chair. The Bible societies would just have to take my word for it. I raced outside to my car, threw open the door, got the little Bible from under the seat, and ran back to the study.

'Here.' I shoved the Bible into the pastor's hand. 'This is for you. To keep.'

The translator repeated the words, but still the pastor did not understand.

'Whose is it?' he said.

'It's yours! To keep, to own.'

When Hans and I left that day, our chests ached from the embraces of that group of elders. For now their pastor had a Bible of his very own. A Bible he did not have to return at the end of the service. A Bible to pick up whenever he wanted. A Bible to read and to love."



4. Prayer

Prayer is a huge part of missions. Really there is no missions without it. Prayer seemed to be second nature to Brother Andrew. He talked about it like it was just part of life.

One time he was carrying Romanian Bibles in his car and got to the Communist Romanian border with just a few cars in front of him. He thought: "Well, I'm in luck. Only half a dozen cars. This will go swiftly." But when the first two cars in the line up took 40-60 minutes each to get through, he started to worry.

He prayed:

"Dear Lord,what am I going to do? Any serious inspection will show up those Romanian Bibles right away. Lord, I know that no amount of cleverness on my part can get me through this border search. Dare I ask for a miracle? Let me take some of the Bibles out and leave them in the open where they will be seen. Then, Lord, I cannot possibly be depending on my own stratagems, can I? I will be depending utterly upon You."

When it was his turn the border officer looked at his papers and then waved him immediately on! No more than 30 seconds!

So many more wonderful stories of prayers honored and answered from this willing and humble heart. God is good.



5. Longing

Brother Andrew longed for a wife. He prayed and felt God was steering him towards a single life, but still his longing for a wife grew. One evening he prayed:

"Lord, in a year I'll be thirty. You made a helpmeet for man, and somehow I have not found my own. Lord, I'm going to ask You for something, I ask You tonight for a wife."

He wrote the date down in his Bible, April 12, 1957.

He continues:

"And five days later the answer had come. In my Quiet Time I had suddenly known - with quite uncanny certainty - that Isaiah 54:1 was God's reply to me...

'The children of the desolate are more than the children of the married.'

Again and again I read the words, trying to apply them to myself, trying to rejoice in God's will. I might feel desolate, but He was going to give me more 'children,' spiritual children, than I could ever have as a flesh-and blood father. I had written the answer beside the request.

But now as I drained my coffee cup beside a field of spring flowers, I knew that spiritual children were not at all what I had in mind. I wanted real, live noisy, running-and -jumping children, with sticky faces and wooden shoes to mend after fights. Above all, I wanted a wife, a living, loving human being who would make my life one fabric, instead of this patchwork quilt of places and people based nowhere, instead of this heading home to no one.

Suppose I asked Him again, right now?"

He did and God answered him again with the same answer! Isaiah 54:1

'The children of the desolate are more than the children of the married.'

He then prayed:

"I don't like the message, Lord, but at least it's clear."

Brother Andrew laid down his will for God's will and because of it, God later blessed him with a wonderful wife and 5 children. I love this. It reminded me of Abraham and his willingness to sacrifice his son in obedience to God and how God then blessed him for it. That's what God wants, our willingness and obedience.


6. Normalcy

I love the normalcy of Brother Andrew's life. God used a regular guy. Someone who desired a wife and family, a guy who longed for adventure, and a guy who appreciated the simple things, like God's creation all around him.

He simply follows Christ and Christ does all the work.

These days many people chase after miracles. They want to see evidence. They listen to this guy and that guy. They want the supernatural experiences and power from on high, but while they are doing this they are missing the simple miracles of the everyday normal. Never realizing each breath they breathe is a miracle, every sunset and sunrise is a miracle, every mountain they see is a miracle and in Brother Andrew case, each Bible he hands over to someone who needs it, is a miracle. Everything God does is a miracle. God shows Himself in the everyday normal.

This is how I felt reading this book. God working through a normal everyday guy.

A guy with simply a willing heart to follow Christ.


I thought I'd share this video of Brother Andrew speaking. I love what he says at the end. Something we all need to be reminded of. We as Christians are called to share the gospel, not attack other religions, not to put down others beliefs, but to lift the name of Jesus.



Buy it HERE on Amazon



46 comments:

  1. Beautiful expression of thoughts, Cathy! I enjoy reading about God's servants like Brother Andrew - who are life's real heroes to me. Amy Carmichael is one of my favorites, and now I can add Brother Andrew and God's Smuggler to my list. Thank you for sharing, Cathy.

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    1. Hi Carol, I love these kinds of books too. So many more wonderful stories in this book. Hope you get to read it soon. : )

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. Sounds like a good choice. I should reference your blog for when my Bible Study reconvenes. Have you read "Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus"? I just finished that with my friend.

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    1. I haven't heard of "Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus." "God's Smuggler" would be a great book to read in a book club though or with a friend. It would give you lots to think and talk about.

      Thanks for stopping by Meredith! : )

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  3. Cathy, I LOVE the way you chose to write this review! It is quite moving and sounds like a must-read book. Thank you for sharing your thoughts so eloquently, friend :)

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    1. Thanks Anne! It's always easier to write about things you love. And I loved this book!

      Glad you stopped by! : )

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  4. Hi Cathy,

    Nice to meet you. I'm hopping over from Ann's link up. What fun to find another book-lover. :) I enjoyed Brother Andrew's book on Bible smuggling. Have you read "The Narrow Road" which gives more information about him and his life? It's fascinating and an easy read. I also like "Jesus Freaks" -- not about him-- but by DC Talk and The Voice of the Martyrs, and as is powerful and encouraging!

    Have a great week,
    Jennifer Dougan
    www.jenniferdougan.com

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    1. I haven't heard of "The Narrow Road" but now I have to read it! Just looked it up on amazon and looks so good. I'm reading a book called "Hard to Believe" and just finished a chapter on the narrow road. It's been sobering. I think we forget how narrow, the narrow road really is.

      I loved "Jesus Freaks." It had so many amazing stories and encouraged me to be more bold in my faith. That book as well as Richard Wurmbrand book "Tortured for Christ" and John Foxes "Book of Martyrs" have had a great influence on me. They are partly why I started this blog, to share my faith.

      Thanks for stopping by Jennifer! : )

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  5. What a great review of what seems like a book that would be soul stirring to read.

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    1. Thanks Cathy! It was one of those books you just have to share about! : )

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. You know this has been on my to-read list forever! I don't know why I haven't read it yet, too many good books to read! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for linking up at Book Notes :)

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    1. Hi Victoria, I know what you mean, too many books, too little time! Hope you get a chance to read this one someday. : )

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  7. What a great review Cathy. I really love this book, I chose to study it for my very first assignment at Bible college. It was only the other day that I thought I'd like to re read it :)

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    1. Hi Anita! Great book to study. Appreciate you stopping by. : )

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  8. I love the way God gifted Him to do His work and how he accepted and submitted to God's will even when his flesh wanted something else.

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    1. Me too. What a great example of the faith Brother Andrew is.

      Thanks for stopping! : )

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  9. I remember reading this book as a child. Profound and life changing!

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    1. Yes! Thanks for stopping by! : )

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  10. I am familiar with Brother Andrew and his work. I don't think that I ever read this book, but I have read stuff about him and heard some of the stories. It sounds like a good read. Thanks for linking on Amanda's Books and More!

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    1. I'd never heard of Brother Andrew before reading this book. So glad I found it!

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  11. What a great review. Thanks for sharing!

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  12. Stopping by from Recommendation Saturday... I'm a librarian, so I always love a good book recommendation. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Lisa! Hope you get a chance to read this one.

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  13. I rad this book long, long ago when I was a teenager. I think it's time for faith-building re-read. Thanks, Cathy.

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    1. Hi Sherry, enjoy your re-read! : )

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  14. I really loved reading and learning more about Brother Andrew! I'm next to you at Janis's this week.

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    1. I'm glad I could share a little about him. Thanks for stopping by!

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  15. Thanks for the great review! I loved the way you shared about the book. I definitely want to read this one!

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  16. I think reading about real-life people draws me into a deeper relationship with God myself. I learn through the telling, knowing God leads each of us. You review made me want to read the book! I was happy it was on kindle, too.

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    1. I find it encouraging too when I read others stories. Enjoy the book!

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  17. I have read the book many times since the '70s, and followed him in his service for many years, also. ALSO, my husband and I automatically support his system. I have given the book away quite a number of times. I've known much about him. Would love to be with him, but when people from one of our churches was on the border of Pakistan/Afghanistan as missionaries, he and one of his daughters was in the church on a group area. What a treat that would have been to be with it. Thanks for sharing. It's a really important portion of our world.

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    1. That's wonderful. I love that Brother Andrew is still traveling the world with the Gospel!

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  18. This is one of my favorite books. I've read it twice. The sequel, The Ethics of Smuggling, is interesting, too. Thanks for sharing your review!

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    1. One day I would like to read the sequel too. Thanks for letting me know there is one. Thanks for stopping by! : )

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  19. I read, "God's smugglere" many years ago and it still is a favorite. Thanks for such a well written review.

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    1. Thanks Judith! Appreciate all your comments. : )

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  20. Another book to add to my list! Okay - but my favorite part of this post is the "prayer" part -- I think because he choose to put the books on the seat and not hide them. It gives me such hope and freedom to think of not hiding our stuff and just letting it be in the open, allowing God to protect it instead of ourselves.

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    1. Yes, I loved that too! It reminded me that God has a purpose, and no matter what, when we obey it will be done.

      Thanks for stopping by Jen!

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  21. Thank you for sharing this wonderful review. The parts on hope and joy stood out most for me. I will have to add to my growing list of books to read. Blessings.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed reading those parts. Thanks for stopping by Beth!

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  22. Love this break down of your review! What great points this book makes, so glad you showed it in this light. It's a great book!

    Thanks for linking up with Cozy Reading Spot!

    Marissa
    http://forfunreadinglist.blogspot.com

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  23. I loved this book too and was so very challenged by it! Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday. Hope to see you again soon!
    Tina

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  24. I read this book for the first time this fall and loved it. What an amazing story. I really liked the way you wrote this book review. God bless.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed my review! It really is an amazing story.

      Thanks for stopping by Angie and for following! : )

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Feel free to leave your own thoughts in the comments. I try to respond to all of them by the end of the week. : )

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