God’s e-Smuggler

In 1967 the story of a Dutch evangelist known as Brother Andrew was published. God’s Smuggler was a sensation and inspiration as it described how Bibles were taken behind the Iron Curtain in Brother Andrew’s Volkswagen. Of course, his remarkable story was just one story. Hundreds of men and women who never had a bestseller were also involved in smuggling Bibles and Christian literature. Most of them were not from the West but were Poles, Romanians, Lithuanians, Russians, and Ukrainians. They risked—and many lost—their freedom in order to print and smuggle Bibles to Christians desperately hungry for this Bread. Printing presses were cobbled together from parts of washing machines and bicycles. Quantities of paper and ink had to be secured. Every step in making a book had to be done secretly—printing, collating, folding, stitching, trimming. And that was before the Bibles were even given to the couriers. These brave men and women sometimes carried heavy loads of books on trains or buses, traveling hundreds of miles day and night, all while they watched and prayed and played a high-risk cat-and-mouse game with the KGB. Today smuggling Bibles and Christian literature is no less important in countries where believers suffer persecution and where the Bible is a forbidden Book. While secret printing operations and courier work is still underway in places like Central Asia, smugglers now have another route to use—one that bypasses border guards and the secret police: It’s the internet! Digital storage has eliminated the bulk of books—a single flash drive can hold more Bible training materials than Brother Andrew could have put in his Volkswagen. Not only that, but the materials can be instantaneously “smuggled” to thousands of others. The internet erases the old barriers and has presented us with remarkable opportunities to create Virtual Bible Schools, penetrating some of the most difficult places from the teeming cities of China to the veiled lands of Islam.