Celebrating 65 Years of Open Doors!
In 1955, Brother Andrew started to encourage the church in Eastern Europe and Russia. At the time, the countries in that region were behind a communist Iron Curtain, and the gospel was not allowed to enter. Evangelism was forbidden and Bibles were not available. Brother Andrew saw the great need of Bibles, and started ferrying God’s Word in his VW blue Beetle to desperate Christians. He soon came to be known as God’s Smuggler.
Of his ministry, Brother Andrew is noted to have said, “I have never thought of my work as being a ‘smuggling’ ministry. God didn’t call me to smuggle; He called me to minister to His people. It just happens that many of His people are in countries with walls and fences and border blockades to keep them in and me out.”
Now, 65 years later Open Doors is ministering in over sixty countries worldwide to support persecuted Christians.
We give praise and thanks that through these years, the Gospel is spreading powerfully in the most difficult of circumstances. God is continuing to build His Kingdom and the light of Christ is shining through His church.
In countries where it is hard to live as a Christian, our brothers and sisters hold on steadfastly to Jesus Christ – and they continue to be hopeful, joyful and faithful in the midst of the difficulties they face. They truly live out the reality of what is written in Romans 12:12 to, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
In the early years of the Open Doors ministry, Bible distribution was the most known and most important task of Open Doors. Later, persecuted Christians requested training on how to understand Scripture which was followed by training on how to cope with persecution. After that, emergency relief, medicine and other urgent aid were supplied through the organization’s socio-economic development.
In 2019, Open Doors reached millions of persecuted believers through social media and online channels. In the regions where it is difficult to visit believers due to increasing pressure from governments, the need for printed Bibles and Christian books was replaced by offering online materials. Last year alone, Open Doors was able to distribute 272,000 Bibles, 63,400 children’s Bibles and 1.6 million Christian books and training resources.
Today, as we celebrate 65 years of ministry, we do so humbly, acknowledging that God cares deeply for His Body and is using us to strengthen the Church in places where faith costs the most.
To celebrate our 65th anniversary, we have compiled 65 stories of persecuted Christians. These are stories that show what a deep faith in God looks like and how Open Doors has been able to stand with our brothers and sisters so that they can remain salt and light.
All this has been possible only through your support. Your prayers and support have helped our teams and partners on the field to persevere through great challenges, knowing we are not there for the short run, but to stay with them and encourage them.
You can find ways to continue to engage with our brothers and sisters. Write a letter of encouragement; tune in to listen to our special 65th anniversary podcast and follow us on social.
Interview with a Bible Smuggler
You don't want to miss this: on the latest episode of the World Watch Weekly podcast, Andrew and Jared sit down with Klaas Muurling, a former Bible Smuggler and current spokesperson for Open Doors. He shares his stories of smuggling bibles, getting arrested, and the history of Open Doors' ministry.