It took far more than courage for Brother Andrew to load his VW with Bibles and drive to the border checkpoint of communist countries. He knew his car would be searched by Soviet Border Troops. It took trust in God’s call to take the scriptures to believers behind the Iron Curtain, and inside the Berlin wall to East Germany.
Recently, twenty-nine Open Doors supporters from six countries embarked on a two-week adventure, tracing the roots of Open Doors in Central Europe. You might call it following the pathway of a pioneer – remembering 60 years of serving the Persecuted Church. One of these supporters, who also works for Open Doors, went along and wrote about their experience.
THE CHECKPOINT AND THE HIDDEN BIBLES
One of our first stops, we went to a now abandoned checkpoint. Teams once took campervans lined with bibles through here, praying the ‘Smuggler’s Prayer’ – “Lord Jesus, when you were upon earth you made blind eyes see…I pray now you make seeing eyes blind.” Guards turned a blind eye and allowed people to pass through the border gates unrestricted. Sometimes there were 200 bibles wrapped in plastic stashed under the shower with another 100 lined in a carefully concealed cupboard. God was protecting His ‘Word’ to be taken and shared with believers in Communist oppressed Eastern Europe!
POLAND – BROTHER ANDREW’S FIRST TRIP
Crossing into Poland, we visited the Warsaw Baptist Church where Brother Andrew visited on his first trip in 1955. After it’s destruction, the Communist government rebuilt the Church in 1961. Believing Christianity would die out, the Communists demanded it be built to look like a cinema, so they would inherit a practical venue. Instead, over 400 people attend the church today and the Church has ten regional mission churches connected to it!
GOD’S WORD SPREADING ACROSS BORDERS
On route to Krakow we stopped at a Convent where a Russian born Christian sister received and stored bibles from Open Doors couriers. These were bravely distributed by other contacts to many restricted countries behind the wall, including Russia.
It was in Bratislava though, that the sheer dedication and determination to have the word of God distributed was evident.
THE SECRET PRINTING PRESS
In a suburban street we entered an entirely unassuming looking home. Descending into the basement, we squeezed through a cramped trap door in the floor. Moving slowly through a small cobweb laced tunnel we came up in a small secret room with a printing press! Never had this been discovered by authorities even with regular searches of homes.
The astounding thing to learn was that every single piece of this printing press (including the nuts and blots!) had to be smuggled in through the borders individually. Inside, they were reassembled by co-workers who trained others in its use. Paper was slipped in one and two pages at a time, so as not to arouse suspicion. While the delivery of ink and oil had to be done undercover.
We heard one of the courier’s stories who delivered the clear oil for the printing press. A family crossing the border with concealed oil bottles, disguised as bottles of water, had forgotten to mark which one was water. When asked by a border guard to drink from one of the bottles, he said a quick prayer then chose and drank. He thanked the Lord it was the one with water and not poisonous oil.
It then was revealed that Open Doors had dozens of these printers operating around Communist Eastern Europe at the time. They were instrumental in printing the Christian resources that brought great encouragement to the persecuted Church.
FULL CIRCLE – TODAY IN POLAND
We could only praise God for the miraculous way He protected His word for over 40 years, bringing encouragement and practical support to the believers in Communist countries. Without such courage, trust, faith and obedience I am sure there would not be a flourishing Church today.
In fact in Eastern Europe, Open Doors has come full circle. Poland now has over 10,000 supporters praying, giving and raising their voices on behalf of the persecuted church.
Praise God for how He has used faithful men and women, like Brother Andrew and our sister in Krakow, to bring His Word to the lost.
Open Doors supports persecuted Christians around the world. You can give to the ministry here.