God's Smuggler

God's Smuggler
by Brother Andrew

Have you ever had the urge to give your Bible to someone? Perhaps they look like they need some encouragement, or possibly they cannot afford to buy a Bible. But have you ever thought about giving your Bible to those who have been forbidden to have a Bible? Would you pack your car with Bibles in the height of a war and then drive across a border into a communist country? A country where it is forbidden for its citizens to own Bibles? A country where Bibles are an illegal contraband? Well… that was the urge of the young dutchman whose story is told in God’s Smuggler.

Anne van der Bijl was born on the 11th of May 1928 in the Netherlands. To most of us English-speaking people Anne is better known as Brother Andrew. As a young boy, Andrew was always looking for some sort of adventure. “I was a spy behind enemy lines, I was a lone scout in enemy territory, I crept beneath barbed wire while tracer bullets scorched the air about me” he recalls. Of course his little home town of Witte didn’t have such enemies back then. At least not until the Second World War came around. Nevertheless, Andrew still wanted adventures – and lots of them.

Every Sunday, his hard-of-hearing father and semi-invalid mother took their six children (Andrew being the fourth of the six) to the local Dutch Reformed Church, where they sat on the front pew for his fathers sake. Church to Andrew was very much like the radio station (a gospel radio station from Amsterdam) that his mother’s radio was permanently tuned to. It played hymn-singing, sometimes preaching, but it was always - to Andrew’s ears - dull and boring. At every opportunity, he would find a way to sneak outside the church building, and return just in time to see the first churchgoers leave the auditorium. Apparently, his parents never knew, neither did the minister.

At the age of seventeen, when his father asked him to choose a trade, young Andrew decided that for some adventure, he would enlist himself in the army even if it meant waiting a couple of months until his eighteenth birthday. Within the year, he was sent to Indonesia. As he was bidding his family goodbye, his mother gave him her small Bible. He accepted it with the promise to read it and then put it into the bottom of his bag and… forgot about it.

After seeing a young and senseless death, Andrew became famous throughout the Dutch Troops for his crazy bravado on the battle field. He wore a bright yellow straw hat into every battle, an invitation that yelled, “Here I am! Shoot me!” Many other young men adopted this same crazy motto – “Get smart - lose your mind.” Every thing that Andrew and these young men did certainly held up to their motto. They fought as madmen, they drank until reason left them, they went from bar to bar, hurling the empties through local store windows.

At this point you may be asking yourself, is this young man the one that is supposedly going to be bringing Bibles to those who have been forbidden ownership of them? You may just have to read the book God’s Smuggler to find out.

God’s Smuggler is a thoroughly good read for men and women alike. It is packed with drama, humour, suspense and even some romance, jam-packed just like Andrew’s little blue Volkswagen was jam-packed with Bibles. But there is one difference between this book and the car. You get to see it all. Read the book and you will see what I mean...

Review by E. Visser