(D) Ages 10-12, (E) Ages 12-15, Book Reviews, Boys, Christian, Middle Grades, Nonfiction, Teen/Adult
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Brother Andrew: God’s Secret Agent by Geoff and Janet Benge

Andrew never expected that God would fulfill his desire for adventure by using him to smuggle Bibles to believers in communist countries.



Brother Andrew: God’s Secret Agent (Christian Heroes Then and Now Series) YWAM Publishing, 2006. 220 pages.

Reading Level: Middle Grades, Ages 10-12

Recommended For: Upper middle grades and young teens, ages 10-15

As a boy growing up in Holland, Andrew van der Bijl yearned for adventures. Although his family and neighbors were committed Christians, Andrew was uninterested in religion and did his best to avoid attending church services. When the Nazis invaded Holland, he joined the Resistance movement so he could use patriotism as an excuse to make mischief. Later, he joined the military and went to Indonesia where he would be free to live as he pleased, again without the interference of religion. While in Indonesia, the excitement turned into emptiness, and he started using alcohol to forget what he saw and felt. He further doubted God’s existence, and nothing could give him peace. Wounded and bitter, he returned home.

God saved Andrew during a revival meeting that he attended while intoxicated. Afterward, Andrew’s desires changed so radically that he lost interest in anything but studying the Bible. His interest in missions led to surprising lessons in living by faith and a desire to serve Christians in Communist countries by smuggling Bibles through the Iron Curtain. Willing to risk his own safety to encourage suffering Christians, he eventually founded Open Doors in order to expand his ministry.

This is a well-told, exciting story of how God pursued a sinner and made him a passionate servant of Christ. An audiobook version is available.

Cautions Notes: While serving in the Dutch military in Indonesia, Andrew struggles with depression due to his spiritual emptiness and the horrors of war. Rejecting God, he turns to alcoholism to forget the sight of a dead mother and her baby and sorrow over his own mother’s death. He vaguely mentions doing other “vile” and “disgusting” things, but does not go into detail. Though the reality of Andrew’s depression and alcohol abuse is not glossed over, it is not graphically described and points to his genuine conversion to Christianity.

Cautions: Dark/Depressing (depression), Character Issues (alcoholism), Violence (war)

Overall Rating: 5

Worldview Rating: 5

Artistic Rating: 5

Take it Further!

  1.     Reflect: How do you know that Andrew truly changed when he was converted? When do you think Andrew was in most danger in Communist countries?
  2.     Engage: Andrew seemed to hear directly from the Lord, to “know” for sure what he should do next. More commonly, especially for those of us with Bibles, the Lord speaks to us through his written word. What are some portions of Scripture that have been especially meaningful to you or seemed to strengthen your faith? What is the difference between walking by faith and putting the Lord to the test? Was Andrew willing to accept the consequences for his bold actions?
  3.     Create: You can write a letter to encourage persecuted Christians! Visit https://www.opendoorsusa.org/take-action/advocacy/letter-writing/ for details.
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