Andrew van der Bijl Redirected from Brother Andrew

Anne van der Bijl
Anne van der Bijl
Brother Andrew in 2006
Anne van der Bijl

11 May 1928
ResidenceNorth Holland
Other namesBrother Andrew, "God's smuggler"
OccupationChristian missionary, author
Known forfounding Open Doors
Spouse(s)Corrie van der Bijl (married 1958-2018--her death[1])

Anne van der Bijl (known in English-speaking countries as Brother Andrew) is a Christian missionary born on 11 May 1928 in Sint Pancras, the Netherlands, and noted for his exploits in smuggling bibles into communist countries at the height of the Cold War. For his activities, he earned the nickname "God's smuggler". He is known for having prayed "Lord, make seeing eyes blind" when he was stopped at the border of a communist country for his car to be inspected.


Van der Bijl was born in Sint Pancras, the Netherlands, the fourth of six children of a poor, near-deaf blacksmith and an invalid mother.[2] He told John and Elizabeth Sherrill, when they transcribed his memories for their book God's Smuggler, "From the day I first put on wooden shoes – klompen we call them in Holland – I dreamed of derring-do".

In the 1940s, he enlisted in the colonial army of the Dutch East Indies during the rebellion that would eventually form Indonesia, which first adventure initially had unpleasant results;[3] he endured a period of severe emotional stress while he was serving as a soldier. He was wounded in the ankle during the fighting; during his rehabilitation, he read the Bible obsessively, eventually converting to Christianity. Van der Bijl studied at the WEC Missionary Training College in Glasgow, Scotland.[3]


In July 1955, van der Bijl visited communist Poland "to see how my brothers are doing", a reference to the underground church there.[4] He signed up on a government-controlled communist tour, the only legal way to be in the country.[citation needed] During that time, he felt called to respond to the Biblical Commission, "Wake up, strengthen what remains and is about to die" (Revelation 3:2). That was the start of a mission leading him into several communist-ruled countries in which religious belief was actively persecuted.[citation needed]

In 1957, he travelled to the Soviet Union’s capital, Moscow, in a Volkswagen Beetle, which later became the symbol of Open Doors, the organization he founded.[3] An older couple, the Whetstras, had given him their new car because they had prayed about it and believed that Andrew would need the car. A man who lived in Amersfoort, Karl de Graaf, claimed that God told him to teach Van der Bijl to drive. Later, when Van der Bijl was in a refugee camp in West Germany, Philip Whetstra called Van der Bijl to come to the Whetstras' new house in Amsterdam. Although Van der Bijl was violating the laws of all of the countries that he visited by bringing religious literature,[citation needed] he often placed the material in view when he was stopped at police checkpoints, as a gesture of his trust in what he believed to be God's protection.[5] That was the realization of his childhood dreams of darings-do.

Van der Bijl visited China in the 1960s, after the Cultural Revolution had created a hostile policy towards Christianity and other religions, during the so-called Bamboo Curtain. He went to Czechoslovakia when the suppression by Soviet troops of the Prague Spring had put an end to relative religious freedom[citation needed] there. He encouraged Czech believers and gave Bibles to the Russian occupying forces.[citation needed] During that decade, he also made his first visits to Cuba after the Cuban Revolution.

God's Smuggler

In 1967, he published the first edition of God's Smuggler, written with John and Elizabeth Sherrill.[6] God's Smuggler tells the story of his early childhood, conversion to Christianity, and adventures as a Bible-smuggler behind the Iron Curtain. By 2002, it had sold over 10 million copies in thirty-five languages.[7] A comic book adaptation of God's Smuggler was published in 1972 by Spire Christian Comics.

Middle East

After the fall of communism in Europe, he shifted his focus to the Middle East and has worked to strengthen the church in the Muslim world. In the 1970s, he visited war-torn Lebanon several times, stating that "global conflict in the end times will focus on Israel and its neighbouring countries."[citation needed]

Light Force and Secret Believers

In the 1990s, van der Bijl again travelled several times more to the Middle East. In his book Light Force, he tells of Arab and Lebanese churches in Lebanon, Israel and Israeli-occupied areas expressing great delight at the mere visit of a fellow Christian from abroad since they felt that the church in the Western world at large was largely ignoring them.

In similar fashion, van der Bijl and a companion, Al Janssen, visited Hamas and PLO leaders, including Ahmed Yassin and Yasser Arafat, and handed out Bibles.Citation needed

Van der Bijl's tenth book, Secret Believers: What Happens When Muslims Believe in Christ, was released on 1 July 2007.[8]


  • Brother Andrew; Sherrill, John; Sherrill, Elizabeth (2001). God's Smuggler. Chosen Books. ISBN 0-8007-9301-3.
  • Brother Andrew (1974). The Ethics of Smuggling. Tyndale House.
  • Brother Andrew; Conn, Charles Paul (1977). Battle for Africa. Fleming H. Revell. ISBN 978-0-80070876-4.
  • Brother Andrew (1981). Building in a Broken World. Tyndale House. ISBN 0-86065-170-3.
  • Brother Andrew; Jackson, Dave; Jackson, Neta (1988). A Time for Heroes. Servant Books. ISBN 0-89283-395-5.
  • Brother Andrew; DeVore Williams, Susan (1990). And God Changed His Mind. Chosen Books. ISBN 0-8007-9272-6.
  • Brother Andrew; Sherrill, John; Sherrill, Elizabeth; featuring Jars of Clay (2001). The Narrow Road: Stories of Those Who Walk This Road Together. Baker. ISBN 0-8007-5793-9.
  • Brother Andrew; Becker, Verne (2002). The Calling. Fleming H. Revell. ISBN 0-8007-5838-2.
  • Brother Andrew; Janssen, Al (2004). Light Force. Fleming H. Revell. ISBN 0-8007-1872-0.
  • Brother Andrew; Janssen, Al (2007). Secret Believers: What Happens When Muslims Believe in Christ. Fleming H. Revell. ISBN 0-8007-3264-2.

See also


  1. ^ https://missionsbox.org/news/cornelia-van-der-bijl-passes-away-86/
  2. ^ God's Secret Agent, Janet Benge, Geoff Benge, YWAM Publishing (2005) ISBN 1-57658-355-4.
  3. ^ a b c J. Lee GRADY, Secret Agent Man, Charisma mag, USA, February 28, 2005
  4. ^ F.P., Portes ouvertes, une histoire dans l’Histoire, La voix du nord, France, October 3, 2012
  5. ^ Brother Andrew, with John and Elizabeth Sherrill. God's Smuggler (1967), pp. 174, 198.
  6. ^ Timothy C. MORGAN, Brother Andrew's Prophetic Plea: Stop Murdering Terrorists, Christianity today, USA, Mar 18, 2013
  7. ^ God's Smuggler, Brother Andrew with John and Elizabeth Sherrill, 2002, page 8. By 2016 over 17 million copies had been sold.
  8. ^ Library of Congress[permanent dead link], LCCN Permalink 2007000476.

External links

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