The Persecuted Church

Brother Andrew is a friend who I knew for more than 40 years. He visited our church many times. I had the privilege to translate a number of Andrew’s books into Arabic. I was always touched with his deep insight in the Biblical passages he used. He also impressed me with the clear message he carried in his heart for the persecuted church. One of his endeavors is special to me. That was the time and effort he gave to our brothers in Lebanon during their prolonged civil war. Nobody was willing to go and visit but he was a regular visitor to them with the message of hope.


Brother Andrew is one of my big heroes of faith. When Gaza was under siege and many were leaving to escape the danger, we found Brother Andrew in our midst seeking to encourage the persecuted church in Gaza. When I and my wife were forcefully separated for ten months because of the difficult situation Gaza , he was one of the first people who came specially to our home to welcome her back. When no Christians were willing to speak to the leaders of Hamas in Gaza, Brother Andrew was the first person to do this without compromising his faith. I heard him say to one of the leaders in Hamas that everyone needs to know Christ. I will never forget when the Islamic Jihad was targeted by Israel and Brother Andrew was not afraid to go visit them and reflect God’s love to them. His love said that if we did not go to them with Christ’s love they would come at us with their weapons. He gained the right to speak to them because of his genuine care and love for all people.


The Persecuted Church

I first met Brother Andrew as a young bishop in Pakistan when he came to a Pastor’s conference. I remember being struck by his sensitivity to culture. He was always approachable and had great courage of conviction. His ability to share Jesus Christ in the most difficult circumstances was legend. I remember him doing so on TV in a closed Islamic nation with such grace that nobody seemed to mind!


We believe Brother Andrew did this because he was touched by the love of God. God carried out a miracle through him in smuggling one million Bibles into China. But we know there is no one-man show in God’s family. The great task couldn’t be accomplished by Brother Andrew alone. There must be many, many Brother Andrews – big ones, small ones – who unitedly take up the burden. Here we give our thanks to all the “big” Andrews and “small” Andrews. May the Lord remember what you’ve done.


Open Doors

The greatest impact that Brother Andrew had on my life was his tremendous love and commitment to the Word of God. During my many years of travelling together with him, I was always challenged by how Andrew was ‘a man of one Book’, the Bible. He did not just read a few verses; he read many chapters every day. Often we would discuss what we read in our devotions during our (very) early morning walks together. He showed me the importance of spending time reading God’s precious Word every day. When I think of Brother Andrew, two other things come to mind. One, he was a pioneer, always looking for new and unique things. Second, he was a prophet. Many times he shared thoughts and ideas that we could not ‘place’, but years later we discovered that he was ‘way ahead’ of us. Brother Andrew always liked to do unique, often impossible things. If a project was possible he was not interested. Everybody can do that he would often say. However, when he heard the word IMPOSSIBLE he was very excited.


I was only 27 years-old when I heard Andrew for the first time and my life was transformed. It was May 1971, and when he started telling about the smuggling of Bibles and helping the suffering church regardless of the risk factor. His message captured me and I was caught by his passion for the Persecuted Church. Andrew’s life motto was “faith in God.” Andrew promised people things he could never fulfill if God didn’t respond.


Brother Andrew will always be a hero of the faith for me. From the first time I saw him on television in the 1970s to my last visit to his office in the Netherlands, he remained the same humble, funny, prayerful, radical model of simple obedience to the Master. How could he have known that his willingness to travel behind the Iron Curtain in 1955 would change so many lives, including my own? It’s a lesson to us all: Follow Jesus. Be faithful. He will build His church, even in the most diffcult areas, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. And we have the privilege of partnering with Him in it all. Thanks for showing the way, Brother Andrew.


As a literary agent I’ve read many books over the last 45 years. But Andrew’s story taught me more about how to live by faith than any other book I have ever read. My own experience was that you must make your own way. What struck me was that because Andrew had nothing, God used that in his life to consistently increase his faith as he learned to lean completely on God. He attended Bible school in Scotland, praying for God to meet his needs each day. Then he’d go to the mail box and find exactly what he needed. Andrew’s testimony in God’s Smuggler was a powerful lesson for me about letting God lead my life.

I was gripped by Andrew’s story of his finding in 1955 a magazine in the basement of his Bible School in which a Communist Youth League festival in Warsaw, Poland was promoted. Touched by God, he wondered what had happened to the church behind the Iron Curtain. Nobody knew at that time. In fact nobody seemed to care. Andrew cared! So, Andrew hopped on a train to Warsaw under cover of the Youth League event and went looking for the Church. Thus was born the ministry to the Persecuted Church through this amazing man of God that was to become Open Doors.

About six months after I completed the legal work for Open Doors USA I was invited to join the board. In the summer of 1975 my wife, Susan, and I along with another couple, planned a trip through Europe. We started in the Netherlands, visiting Brother Andrew and the Open Doors offices for the first time. Open Doors in Ermelo provided us with an automobile and we visited eight countries in three weeks.

Included was a visit to Budapest, Hungary, where we had our first personal experience with the Persecuted Church. When we could not find lodging, a pastor’s family gave up their beds for us and, though food was scarce, they fed us for two days. We attended worship services with our hosts and we learned first-hand about their suffering. Every aspect of their faith practice was controlled, including when they could meet. All their literature had to be approved by the government. Our being there put them at great risk and difficulty—no doubt they were interrogated after we left—yet they were so glad we came. On that trip, I caught the spirit of Brother Andrew who taught me that our presence with the persecuted was the most important way to encourage Christians behind the Iron Curtain.

Over our many years of ministry together, another thing that united me with Brother Andrew was our mutual love of Scripture. He would discuss the Bible any time. We also shared a mutual love of the writings of Oswald Chambers. We often talked about the daily reading from My Utmost for His Highest.

By 1979 Open Doors needed a structure to connect at least ten independent entities around the world. Andrew never cared much for organizational structure or operations nor for discussions about policy and budgets. He came alive when he was with the Persecuted Church. Over the years, God brought him talented leaders like Ed Netlund, Dick Burrow, and Johan Companjen, to strengthen the organization around the world. We formed Open Doors International and held our first board meeting in Manila. I served as chairman for the next 30 years.

When I reflect on the life of Brother Andrew I see God at work in every detail of his life. One of my main memories was an international Directors conference in the early eighties. Each morning Andrew spoke every morning about Islam, at a time when no one knew much of anything about Muslims, but I saw in Andrew, even then, a great love and compassion for them. We were still thinking about Communism but Andrew prophetically saw a greater threat to the Church.

In his wildest dreams my friend Andrew never imagined Open Doors spanning the globe, working now in 68 countries. He told me that if he’d known how big this organization would get he would never have made that first trip to Poland. And that brings me back to the sovereignty of God, the God who knows the end from the beginning. Andrew obeyed God for the first step, then the next step, and now, thousands of steps later, we see all what God did because one man heard God and obeyed His call. That’s his legacy—to me and countless others around the world.


Pastors and ministry leaders

In 1974 I was given a copy of “God’s Smuggler” that would not only play a significant role in my life, but also in the lives of many of my generation. What has impacted me to this day was the simplicity of this book’s message: “Christ in you is the hope of glory.” It was about presence and not program; patience and not persistence; priorities and not politics. It was about believing that Jesus was really enough. It would form my worldview as a follower of Jesus. My favorite quote is: “ Why tiptoe through life, to arrive at death, safely.” The author is unknown, but I know one who lived this way and his name was Andrew.


The best way I can characterize Brother Andrew is with the title of the book he loved most after the Bible, the devotional of Oswald Chambers, called “My Utmost for His Highest”. That summarizes best why Brother Andrew was who he was and did what he did. He always told me that his epitaph should be: “He did what he couldn’t”. And yet he did it, because he longed to give his utmost for God’s Highest.


Brother Andrew and I were friends for more than 30 years. It was his initiative that finally got me into the Central Asian republics in the early eighties to begin to work with the churches in preparation for the harvest among Muslim peoples. He was an inspiration to me in his daring approaches to Muslims at the highest levels of government as well as with the suffering Muslims in the Palestinian dilemma. And what a joy it was for us to co-labor from time to time in our beloved Pakistan.


It was a great privilege to be linked of one heart and mind with Brother Andrew for more than 50 years. All over the world I spoke about my efforts in 1961 to smuggle Christian literature into the Soviet Union. I was arrested on the second day. I’ve since said that he was God’s smuggler and I was God’s bungler.


In the early days of Open Doors there was controversy a-plenty, but Andrew always emerged from these battlegrounds with his integrity intact and I never disagreed with him. Suffice it to say that, over the difficult years, Open Doors provided a lifeline to millions of believers which official channels could rarely, if ever, satisfy.


Brother Andrew was my hero for more than 40 years. We travelled in ministry together on 5 continents. He was one of the most courageous, godly, visionary leaders I know… I loved this brother deeply in the Lord. We never had a cross word, but I only received words of blessing and encouragement. I have been taught by this man of great spiritual depth through his words, his deeds and his life.

  • My deepest, heartfelt condolences to the family. Brother Andrew was truly one of the heroes of the faith. In nearly seventy years of knowing the Lord, no one individual has made a more profound impression upon me than this man. His life's work encouraged me to devote my  prayer life and efforts  to the persecuted church and the needy. You served the Lord well Andrew. Thank you, Man of God. 

    Lee S Henley
     Fmr Volunteer Director 
    Relief and Support Services Canada     
  • Br Andrew, you changed lives of my family. My wife and I met you once briefly, and was such a joy! Your bravery, your obedience, your joy inspires me. How shall I thank you enough ? I praise God for your life!
    I cannot life a safe life anymore, because of you and other persecuted believers. You have awakened the adventurous spirit of our faith in me! And for that, I will forever be grateful to you!
    Rest in peace, and enjoy the joy and laughter of our Lord. We’ll see you one day!

  • As a young person, I was inspired and challenged by the book, "God's Smuggler". Later, as an adult, discovering a present day ministry, carrying on Brother Andrew's work, was deeply invigorating. I could actually participate in encouraging persecuted believers.

    Esther Gardner, a common person
  • I have mixed emotions about the passing of brother Andrew. Of course, I rejoice that he finally reached his destiny, his eternal home with his beloved Jesus. However, I also feel that we have lost one of the last generals of the 20th century. We trust that his legacy will continue to inspire us to go further and that one day we will meet again.

    Bon voyage, dear Brother Andrew.
    Samuel García
    Open Doors Spain
  • Be the light.

    Thank you for inspiring other to be this light that we are called to.
  • Gracias hermano Andrés por el magnífico ejemplo que nos has dejado viviendo en tus carnes el mensaje del Maestro: "Nadie tiene mayor amor que este, que uno ponga su vida por sus amigos". Jn.15:13  
      Estoy seguro que habrás escuchado al llegar a la Mansión Celestial: " Bien, BUEN SIERVO Y FIEL; Entra en el gozo de tu Señor ". Mt. 25:21
       Gracias, te recordaremos,  porque "Tu trabajo para el Señor, no ha sido en vano".
  • Brother Andrew is an inspiration to all of us Christians. He embodied what God expects of us as His ambassadors. I read his book, God's smuggler in French when I was a teen then in English, just this summer. He will be deeply missed but we'll meet again!
  • Thanks from Spain from the bottom of our hearts. We are really inspire with the brother Andrew and his life. He's just arrived home. RIP. To God the glory! 
  • My memories of Brother Andrew go back to my childhood when we were living for a time with my grandfather  William Hopkins (often known as Uncle Hoppy) in Northfleet / Gravesend in England.  Brother Andrew stayed with us, during some holiday times when he was studying in the UK, and my grandfather continued his support over many years although while we eventually worked in the D R Congo we lost contact with what Brother Andrew was doing.
    A remarkable man, with a vital faith, which he had a great vision for sharing, especially with those who risked to never hear the Good News. 
    As we give thanks for his life and witness we pray for his family and for Open Doors as they continue his work.
  • Querido hermano Andrés recuerdo perfectamente como conocí el Ministerio de Puertas Abiertas en España
    En el final de un pasillo el último de los que exponían su ministerio allí estaba la mesa de Puertas Abiertas con su mensaje para ayudar a los Cristianos Perseguidos yo desconocía ese estado de la Iglesia del SEÑOR. 
    En la mesa se encontraba Rudy un holandés .Me hizo la invitación a conocer tu ministerio y sentí que estaba llamado a trabajar por O.D Luego te conocí personalmente en tu 87 cumpleaños
    Son casi 20 años sirviendo  a P.A. España gracias por conocerte espero poder verte un día Junto a  Nuestro SEÑOR JESUCRISTO
    Jesús Manuel Sainz
    Presidente Junta Directiva P.A.España
  • I was 20 years old in 1972 when I first read God's Smuggler. I was so impacted by his audacious love in action that it has shaped my life and faithwalk ever since. 
    "Those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever and ever." Dan 12:3b
  • Hoy damos gracias a nuestro amado Padre por la vida de nuestro hermano Andrés, por ser instrumento en sus manos para impactar y alcanzar la vida de muchos,  damos gracias por no solo haber   escuchado la voz de Dios, sino por  seguirla y ser de ejemplo y testimonio para la vida de quienes tuvimos la bendición de conocerle de una u otra manera. Continuamos el legado bajo el supremo llamamiento que nuestro Dios ha realizado a su amada iglesia.
    Estamos viviendo tiempos donde como iglesia necesitamos responder al llamado del Padre como lo hizo nuestro hermano, sin dudar, sin temor,sino con la disposición de nuestro corazón en obediencia y con la  confianza plena en aquel que nos ha llamado. Orgullosa y agradecida de formar parte de este hermoso ministerio Puertas Abiertas. #UnoConEllos 
    ¡Proseguimos a la meta!
  • Mi más sincera condolencia a los familiares del precioso y valioso hermano Andrés. Que dió su vida al Señor , y le obedeció , llevando la verdad de la Palabra a pesar de que le podía costar la vida.
    Que valioso hombre. Que gran fé , en Dios que no defrauda.
  • Gracias por todo hrno Andrés y ser un ejemplo para muchos, bendiciones a su familia y seguiremos apoyando y orando por puertasabiertas! 
  • Desde los 11 años fui inspirada a servir en las misiones a través de las biografías de hombres de fé como el hermano Andrés. Gracias por sembrar, por ir, por escuchar, por brindar su tiempo, por obedecer, por inspirar. Hoy finalizó su carrera, y es premiado con el mayor de los honores. Hasta pronto. 

    Alina, desde Argentina
    Voluntaria en Puertas Abiertas España
  • Brother Andrew was an all time inspiration for me in my Christian life. His courage, his humor, and most of all his love for the Lord and desire to proclaim the gospel at all costs was indeed challenging! He was a fantastic writer, I could never put his books down.  He is now with his king that he served so well on earth!  I praise the Lord for having had an opportunity to see him in person at one of his fundraisers in British Columbia!
  • Thank you Brother Andrew for inspiring us to follow the Lord with our whole heart. 
  • Thank you, Brother Andrew, for modeling to the community of believers what it means to be bold and courageous - to take Jesus to places where no one dared to take the gospel. You have crossed physical, cultural & spiritual borders so now many people groups have come to know Jesus and the salvation He gives. I praise & thank God for your life & ministry... a legacy of faith, courage, dedication & commitment. Hallelujah!
  • Truly, an inspiration, and so raised up. We salute you, Brother Andrew.

    James and Kim Lai
    Auckland, New Zealand
  • Doy gracias al Señor por el hermano Andrés, un héroe de la fe que nos ha enseñado con su ejemplo de fe y obediencia, que se puede creer a Dios además de creer en él, que se puede obedecer a Dios y no solamente querer obedecer. Gracias amado hermano Andrés! Porque nos has dejado un gran legado y abundante fruto para Dios en toda la tierra, el Señor sabrá recompensarte por la obra y trabajo de amor que has demostrado a nuestros hermanos que sufren por causa de su fe en Jesús y a toda la iglesia de Cristo en el mundo.

    Nos deja un héroe de la fe,
    Nos deja un siervo del Señor,
    Nos deja un verdadero discípulo de Jesús,
    Pero nos deja el legado de su fe.

    Pocos como él,
    Pero muchos quisiéramos ser como él fue,
    Su ejemplo perdurará por siempre,
    Sus frutos lo seguirán hasta la eternidad.

    Hasta pronto amado hermano Andrés,
    Disfruta del gozo de tu Señor,
    Nosotros seguiremos tus pasos,
    Y estaremos juntos adorando al Rey!!!
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