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!
- 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?)
- 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?
- Create: You can write a letter to encourage persecuted Christians! Visit https://www.opendoorsusa.org/take-action/advocacy/letter-writing/ for details.