In 1955, a young Dutch missionary went on a group tour to Poland, at that time a part of the Soviet bloc. There he discovered a remnant of the Body of Christ desperately in need of Bibles, support and prayer. Brother Andrew (as he would later be known around the world) distributed a suitcase full of Christian literature … marking the humble beginnings of Open Doors with Brother Andrew.
In God’s Smuggler, Brother Andrew’s autobiography chronicling those early years, he details dangerous border crossings, KGB pursuits, and his courageous journey toward living radically for Jesus Christ. The international bestseller has made a tremendous impact on Christians in the West. Through the book and the work of the Holy Spirit, Brother Andrew’s small Dutch mission became an international ministry with offices in 27 countries, working in more than 60 nations to strengthen the Persecuted Church.
It is estimated that Brother Andrew has visited 125 countries in his travels to preach and befriend those in need. During his trips, he never had a Bible confiscated and was only arrested three times. He often quotes Revelation 3:2 as the text for his message delivered around the globe: “Wake Up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die.”
Brother Andrew feels passionately that the rapid spread of Islam could be, by far, the greatest challenge that the Christian Church worldwide has yet faced. His friendships and the love of God have taken Brother Andrew into private meetings with leaders of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah. He is among the few Western leaders to regularly travel to the Middle East as an ambassador for Christ to these groups. He has also broken Christian religious barriers by preaching in Catholic and Coptic Orthodox churches.
He often has said, “Our very mission is called ‘Open Doors’ because we believe that any door is open, anytime and anywhere. I literally believe that. Every door is open to go in and proclaim Christ, as long as you are willing to go and are not worried about coming back.”
Brother Andrew’s work through Open Doors has led the organization into places where most Christians are unwilling to go. His underground network of indigenous Christians has aided in the secret distribution of millions of Bibles every year. Open Doors trains thousands of Christian pastors and lay leaders through seminaries and persecution seminars, and assists in economic relief, literacy training, and vocational training in the most dangerous countries in the world.
The story of Brother Andrew’s ministry in the Middle East is told in his book, Light Force, co-authored with Al Janssen. He has also written ten other books, including God's Call (formerly God's Calling), which reveals his secrets for ministry and is illustrated with his experiences accumulated during over 30 years of ministry in countries such as China, Sudan, and Cuba.
Brother Andrew and Janssen have also co-authored a new book called Secret Believers: What Happens When Muslims Believe in Christ (Revell). The book contains incredible stories of Muslims who have come to Christ and details their struggles to survive in repressive lands. It is available from the Open Doors online store.
In 1994, Brother Andrew was knighted by Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands. In 1997, he was the recipient of the World Evangelical Fellowship’s Religious Liberty Award, recognizing his lifetime of service to the Persecuted Church and passion for spreading the gospel. On February 22, 2003, in California, he received the Heritage of Faithfulness Award from the Christian Association of Senior Adults.
One honour that Andrew is especially pleased with is that after the fall of the Iron Curtain, he obtained copies of the KGB reports, which numbered more than 150 pages, detailing his work in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. He was surprised that they knew so much about him yet were not able to stop his work.
Brother Andrew and his wife, Corrie, live in Holland and have five children and eight grandchildren.