Brother Andrew reminds believers in Pakistan: ‘We are here for the Book’
The Dutchman who became known as ‘God’s Smuggler’ celebrated his 90th birthday just days after a rare trip to his beloved Pakistan. His message was just as strong as when he first arrived in this beleaguered nation.
What a milestone…what an exceptional life! This past May 11th, Brother Andrew celebrated his 90th birthday just after a trip to Pakistan. It took a lot out of him, but he enjoyed every moment, telling them, “Don’t ever forget we are here for the Book, and the One who gave us the Book”.
The trip to Pakistan was a private one to visit his many friends, old and new. His mission, as always, was to encourage the local Church. “We are fatigued, weary and aching”, one church leader said. “We were waiting for him. Seeing him and his friends, reminded us that we are neither forgotten nor alone. We are loved ever so much by the Body of Christ, this time represented by Brother Andrew”.
The trip took place just a few weeks after his beloved wife, Corry, went home to be with the Lord. Christians in Pakistan remember her as a stalwart woman, full of faith, always praying for countries like Pakistan.
Brother Andrew met with a long-time friend who began corresponding with him over 30 years ago. Ever since, the two men have been close. Years ago, Brother Andrew challenged him to strengthen the church in his home country and he faithfully took up that challenge.
During his visit, Brother Andrew participated in the opening ceremony of a new chapel, called ‘St. Stephen And All The Martyrs’. A Pakistani church leader explained, “The Chapel of ‘St Stephen And All The Martyrs’ remembers the call to lay down our lives as did Stephen, the first martyr of the Church, and as a remembrance to all martyrs ever since”.
Brother Andrew led a procession into the church, followed by family members of Pakistani Christians who had been slain for their faith, as well as survivors of attacks.
“My daughter and I are so happy to be in your midst”, Andrew said to the guests. “Because we want to see what God is doing in Pakistan. We feel so much one with you. And when we go back to our own country, we will certainly tell your story. The only thing that matters is that Jesus Christ grows in your heart”.
A local Christian woman who was encouraged by the visit said, “God has worked in brother Andrew’s life as well as the lives of people here. We see how He has brought to fruition a vision, a new font of living water to flow to the nations. His teaching is grounded in the word of God, strengthens what remains in a shattered community of believers and brings hope and joy.”
During his visit, locals told him about modern slaves, many of whom are Christians forced to work in brick kilns. They are being ministered to by pastors and offered the opportunity to have their chains of slavery broken. With vocational skills training, education and employment, a whole new life awaits for them. But this ministry is extremely difficult, challenging and even dangerous for the Church.
Brother Andrew was also asked to bless students who had just finished a literacy course and are now able to read and write. He had met some of them several years ago and warned them that more persecution was coming their way. Now, many of them have suffered violence and brutality at the hands of extremists.
“That was a solemn moment”, a local Christian said. “Brother Andrew spoke from John 15:13, ‘Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends’. For us, his family in Pakistan, Brother Andrew continues to be the reminder of God’s call to ‘go forth’, ‘take risks’ and ‘sincerely love’ our neighbour.
Many Christians were crying as brother Andrew set out to leave. As he left he said, “Don’t ever forget we are here for the Book. If we are here for the Book and the One who gave us the book, we have to obey Him. Obey Him. Be Jesus in your form in Pakistan.”