The death of Brother Andrew is a salutary moment for all those of us supporting and championing the cause of persecuted Christians throughout the world.
Born Anne van der Bijl, in the Netherlands, he became known as Brother Andrew – or perhaps better still as “God’s Smuggler” – who delivered Bibles behind the Iron Curtain to the underground Church.
His work and inspiration led to the founding of Open Doors ̶ which he chaired until 1995, around the same time that Barnabas came into being.
The inspiration we take from the life of Brother Andrew is threefold. Firstly, he loved so much that he was prepared to take great risks for the people he served. This was particularly expressed by his missions as “God’s Smuggler” that were inspired by compassion.
Secondly, he prized the Word of God greatly. He did not just smuggle Bibles to feed the faith of those who were persecuted, but he read the Bible, studied it and preached from the Word of God.
Thirdly, he lived a brave life trusting only in the Lord for his safety. His witness embodied the verse from the Book of Joshua, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).
Barnabas Aid International Director Dr Patrick Sookhdeo asked Barnabas supporters to pray for Brother Andrew’s family and co-workers. His wife Corry died in 2018; they are survived by five children and 11 grandchildren.