My kids just completed reading God’s Smuggler and I wanted to share their book reviews.  I think they did a great job and hope their reviews will encourage you to read this book; I know that I was inspired and encouraged by this contemporary story of faith.

Rachel Casto Book Review: God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew

 God’s Smuggler is a book about the life of Brother Andrew, a Dutch missionary who went behind the Iron Curtain to spread the Word of God to all the people of the world.  But his methods of doing so were unlike normal missionaries.  He was never formally trained and he was entirely funded by donations that were sent without his asking for them.  He fully relied on God to take care of all his needs, at home and in the mission field.

It’s a spectacular story which can sometimes bring you to tears at the sheer miraculous nature of the situations and solutions that happened during his life.  The details he used to describe how Christians could just recognize each other and feel the untamed joy from that recognition and fellowship was extremely moving.

The story is good to read for any new Christians, anyone who wishes to go into the mission field, really any Christian at all.

Alec Casto Book Review: God’s Smuggler, by Brother Andrew

 God’s Smuggler is a book written by Brother Andrew, a Dutch missionary whose main mission field was communist countries.  A lot of his work was during the 1950s and 60s, a time when the United States was more concerned with the “Red Menace” than concerned with spreading God’s Kingdom, which ironically was a time when the veil of Christianity was used to show how patriotic and God-fearing a nation we were.

The book starts during Brother Andrew’s childhood in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands during the 1940s.  It then moved from his childhood to when he was in his late teens when he joined the Dutch army and fought in the war in Indonesia.  The Dutch war in Indonesia was a very unpleasant war and was for them was very similar to what the United States experienced in the Vietnam War in the 60s and 70s.  At that time Indonesia was a colony of the Netherlands and there had been a rebellion.  Due to all the cruelty and violence that he faced such as the killing of civilians – they never knew who were the rebels and who were the civilians who would just leave them alone – he and his squadron just essentially became nihilists and he was a heavy drinker.  But he eventually found his way to the Lord as his mother had always been very devout and had him attend church and had always wanted him to read the Bible, but he never really cared much about it.

But one day he attended a meeting for army veterans and it made an impact on his life and he began reading the Bible and then the Lord started working in his life and he started his first step in his journey toward Christ.

Eventually as the years would go on he returned to his hometown and would make an impact on the people’s lives as he would work in a chocolate factory near the town and follow God’s example and he ended up making a big difference in the lives of the factory workers and managers there.  He became good friends with many people.  He eventually felt God’s call to go into the mission field but first he needed to get training and education, so he felt called to go to a school in Scotland where he would be trained in a very unusual and unorthodox way where it emphasized more on having faith that God would provide everything.

Much of what the book chronicles is how he starts up an unusual form of missionary work in Iron Curtain countries and how he very much relies on God by faith alone, something which is difficult for any Christian, it doesn’t matter who you are.  That’s one of the things I really like about this book, is that it really shows how he, his family, and the friends whom are also fellow missionaries of his rely strictly on God and how they all, through God make an impact in the lives of the many Christians behind the Iron Curtain.

My biggest complaint against the book is the fact that many characters aren’t detailed enough and so we don’t get the sense that they’re real people, just that they’re characters in a book.  And the book does skip a lot of time as it starts in the 40s and ends in about the mid 60s and a lot of time has passed.  For instance Brother Andrew is married and has kids but we never know much about his children or even that much about his wife.  We know some, but not a lot.  We also don’t know a lot about the other fellow missionaries who work with him in the Iron Curtain countries and it would’ve been nice to know a lot about them and see them not as characters but as people, and that’s my biggest complaint is that a lot of times they seem more like characters than people.

But overall it’s definitely a good book to read and it will hopefully inspire Christians to rely solely on God and faith and it’s definitely a book that also shows missionary work can be very unusual and that we need to really radically think what it means to be a missionary and we need to always be thinking about how we’re serving God.



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