6 May 2016

Bible smuggling continues over 60 years after the work of Open Doors began

Over 60 years after Brother Andrew, the founder of Open Doors, began smuggling Christian literature behind the Iron Curtain, Open Doors continues to smuggle Bibles and other Christian books into places where Christians face the most severe persecution.

One volunteer from the UK, Holly*, recently returned after smuggling Christian books into North Africa with a friend. "I love the idea of all the trips they did behind the Iron Curtain and it just made me want to see what that looked like today," she says. "We had about 30-40 books that we smuggled in our suitcases."

In the country that Holly was visiting, it is illegal to print Christian literature, but as the church there grows there is an increasing need for Bibles and other books. "There are church leaders who only have a few pages of scripture that they own," says Holly. "The church is growing so rapidly and people are just coming to know Jesus so quickly, they need to get Bibles in as quickly as they can and as many as they can. And not just Bibles, but also training materials for pastors and church leaders."

Holly felt nervous as her suitcases went through security at the airport after her arrival. "When we saw some of the suitcases going through, all the suitcases were being checked, all of them, except ours! Maybe God just did what he did with Brother Andrew and ‘blinded their eyes' to it. It was amazing that we were the only ones who didn't get searched."

Holly then gave the books to Open Doors partners who met her at the airport. If Holly had been found with the books, they would have been confiscated, but the punishments for local people are more serious. "They could be put in prison for at least 2-3 years," says Holly.

Many prominent Christians received threats against their lives at the end of 2015 – ten pastors in Rangpur district, northern Bangladesh, received anonymous letters stating: "Those who are preaching Christianity in Bangladesh must leave the world one by one."

"They were telling us that when they take the materials backs to their churches and to whoever needs these books, they have to go through 20 checkpoints, and at every single checkpoint they could be searched. The whole car can be searched; they might look inside the boot, under the bonnet, even cut open the spare tire if there's one in the back and look inside it to see if there's anything illegal in there. But it was amazing because [the Open Doors partners] said, ‘We can keep the Bibles on the back seat of the car, they'll just never see them'."

Holly asked how this was possible. "They said it was because, in 2003, they started a 24/7 prayer meeting. It was meant to only last for a week, but then they decided to just not stop! And so since 2003 there's never been a single moment where there hasn't been someone praying in that church, every second is covered in prayer. That's when they started seeing lots of people coming to know Jesus, and they were able to bring in so many more Bibles and training materials."

In 2015, Open Doors delivered over 3 million Bibles, books and Christian resources worldwide.

*name changed for security reasons

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Note to Editors

For more information contact Open Doors Press Office on 01993 777377

Open Doors UK & Ireland is part of Open Doors International, a global NGO network which has supported and strengthened persecuted Christians for 60 years. Last year supporters in the UK and Ireland raised over £11.7 million to provide practical support to persecuted Christians such as food, medicines, trauma care, legal assistance, safe houses and schools, as well as spiritual support through Christian literature, training and resources, in over 60 countries.