*Brother Andrew: Behind Enemy Lines by Nancy Drummond

Read the remarkable story of a man who helped smuggle millions of Bibles into restricted countries in this middle grades biography.


Brother Andrew: Behind Enemy Lines (Trailblazers Series) by Nancy Drummond. CF4Kids, 2014. 192 pages.

Reading Level: Middle grades, ages 8-10

Recommended For: Independent reading or as a read aloud for ages 7 and up

As a young Dutch boy, Andrew van der Bijl dreamed of being a spy. After joining the army as a young man, he was injured in Indonesia. Dark times followed his war wound, and he was sent limping home, drinking his troubles away. Thankfully, the Lord can change anyone’s heart–even one as hardened as Andrew van der Bijl’s. When the Lord opened Andrew’s eyes to the truth, Andrew put his restless energy into serving the Lord.

Through a series of providential occurrences, Andrew discovered his life mission: to serve believers in the closed countries behind the Iron Curtain. Specifically, he smuggled Bibles across country borders and spread the word to other Christians of believers’ needs in communist-controlled regions. “Brother Andrew” also founded the Open Doors ministry and now works in Muslim countries.

His story challenges those of us who take our Bibles for granted and who live in relative ease within our own political system. Andrew’s conversion and complete life turnaround are inspiring to read about, and his story illustrates the power of the grace of God even in those we might be tempted to give up on. Concise chapters, a clear storyline, and Andrew’s daring life of faith make this an exciting read. A small bibliography is included for further information on Andrew, and discussion questions for each chapter further enrich the material. The reading level will be challenging for some 8-10 year olds, but the content is accessible in read aloud form; advanced young readers will be able to read it on their own.

Cautions: Dark/Depressing (Andrew’s depression), Character Issues (alcoholism)

Overall Rating: 5

Worldview Rating: 5

Artistic Rating: 5

Take it Further!

  1. Reflect: When do you think Andrew was in the most danger? (swapping Bibles outside Red Square? on his solo picnic when a guard approached? when the border crossing guards were ?) Carefully searching the cars in front of him? when he left his tour group to go to church? another time?)
  2. Engage: Andrew seemed to hear directly from the Lord, to “know” for sure what he should do next. The Lord also speaks to us through the Bible. What are some of your favorite Bible verses?
  3. Create: You can write a letter to encourage persecuted Christians! Visit https://www.opendoorsusa.org/take-action/advocacy/letter-writing/ for details.


Travel the World With Us!

Stuck at home? Enjoy our FREE Christian read-along adventure for all ages with lots of book ideas, discussion questions, and more!

Reading Ahead for You

Reviews and Resources Weekly in Your Inbox
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.


Betsy is the Managing Editor at Redeemed Reader. When she reads ahead for you, she uses sticky notes instead of book darts and willfully dog ears pages even in library books. Betsy is a fan of George MacDonald, robust book discussions, and the Oxford comma. She lives with her husband and their three children in the beautiful Northwest.


  1. Cathy on October 27, 2016 at 11:09 am

    How would you compare this version of Brother Andrew’s story to the Benge/YWAM one and to the original?

    • Betsy on October 27, 2016 at 11:21 am

      That is a fantastic question, Cathy. (Betsy here) I have not read the Benge one, but I discussed it at length with Megan when we did our reviews. I read God’s Smuggler years ago–I assume that is the title you refer to as “the original.” My general impression is this: the Trailblazers one (this review) is the most accessible to younger audiences and would make a fine read aloud. The Benge one is not much more difficult in terms of reading level, but it covers more of the salacious details of Andrew’s pre-Christian life (drinking, etc.), so it might be better suited to a slightly older audience, such as older middle grades. Both are quite readable and “exciting.” God’s Smuggler is excellent, but a more challenging read and, if I remember correctly, covers more of the political/civic issues and is more complex in terms of plot, characterization, etc. For middle grades and even young teens, my preference is for the Trailblazers one because I feel like it is more straightforward and less embellished than the Benges one (and only slightly embellished in terms of “supposing” someone’s emotions and the like, not in fabricating events). Isn’t it fantastic that we have three solid titles from which to choose about this man the Lord used to powerfully!?

      I hope that helps answer your question.

Leave a Comment