Smuggling Bibles has been part of Open Doors’ ministry since the very beginning. Open Doors’ founder Brother Andrew and his fledgling team regularly smuggled Bibles behind the Iron Curtain—it’s where Brother Andrew’s nickname, “God’s Smuggler,” came from. In places where the Bible is still hard to come by, smuggling is still part of what we do.
John is an Open Doors partner who had volunteered to bring God’s Word to secret believers desperate for Bibles. Brother Andrew used to pray that “seeing eyes would be blinded” as he snuck Bibles through unfriendly borders. John probably prayed something similar to that. But God doesn’t always answer prayers in the same way.
The customs officers confiscated all 50 Bibles that John had tried to sneak in his suitcase. John was taken to a police station where he was held and interrogated through the night. “I was questioned by customs officers and local policemen,” John says. “Continuously there was someone questioning me, without a break. Some were in uniform, others not. They asked me about my material, who it was for or to whom I wanted to sell it. I repeated that these were presents.” The guards knew there were too many Bibles to be simple gifts.
John wasn’t sure what would happen to him. He asked one of the officials if he could go to his hotel. The official told John that John would instead be put on the first airplane back to his country—he was to be deported.
But the official continued. “The man said that I was different from the others,” John says. “I started to talk with him. [After a while,] he told me his father was seriously ill.”
John didn’t hesitate; he asked if he could pray for the officer’s father.
“He agreed and I prayed for the man,” John says. “After that, I told him my testimony and explained how important Jesus is to me. I took a small New Testament from my pocket. At the end of the book, a ‘plan of Salvation’ was printed.”
John read all this for the man. And incredibly, the official who was overseeing John’s arrest came to see the truth of Jesus.
“He accepted Jesus as his Savior,” John says. “I had tears in my eyes.”
God’s faithfulness in action
The officer then offered to help John. “He said that he would help me to solve my problem,” John remembers. “He asked me if I was only in the cell because of the books. I said ‘yes.’ He then asked if I wanted the books back. The man asked me to follow him to get the Bibles. The situation was solved, and I could put the books back in my suitcase. At about 8:00 am he took me to my airplane.”
God was with John, all the time.
“From the time my suitcase was opened until I entered the airplane again, I thanked the Lord,” he says. “I had peace—the peace of God that transcends all understanding. I saw the hand of God in all that happened. It went different than I had planned. He decided to change everything for this one soul. I was just a spectator. Thanks to my Father, thank You Jesus.”