Andrew van der Bijl, known by most as “Brother Andrew,” a passionate advocate for the persecuted church, died Sept. 27. He was 94.
Born in the Netherlands in 1928, van der Bijl operated like a Christian international spy, smuggling Bibles and Christian literature into communist Eastern Europe in the 1960s and coordinating the delivery of a million Bibles into China via a tugboat manned by 20 missionaries in the 1980s.
In 1955, he founded Open Doors, an organization that advocates on behalf of persecuted Christians around the world, and continued efforts to get God’s word into countries where persecution is high.
His book, “God’s Smuggler,” first published in 1967, shares many stories of his efforts. The book, one of 10 authored by Brother Andrew, has sold more than 10 million copies and has been translated into 35 languages.
‘The Bible changes people’
Writing about van der Bijl, Open Doors president and CEO David Curry said, “Andrew really believed what all Christians are supposed to: that the Bible changes people.”
“It was his passionate love of Scripture that had transformed him from an injured war veteran to a champion of the global church. Andrew believed, unquestionably, that if he could get anyone — an extremist, a lazy American worshipper, a nonprofit CEO like myself — to keep reading the Bible and wrestling with Scripture, that our heads would clear and our hearts would chase what’s right. Whatever wisdom and courage we needed would stir in us over time.”
Van der Bijl was married to his wife, Corry, who died in 2018, for 59 years. He is survived by five children and 11 grandchildren.
Open Doors is active in more than 60 countries and distributes 300,000 Bibles and over a million Christian books and materials annually. Open Doors also publishes an annual World Watch List, spotlighting the 50 countries where persecution of Christians is highest.