Title: Brother Andrew: God’s Secret Agent
Author: Janet & Geoff Benge
Series: Christian Heroes: Then & Now
Major Themes: Brother Andrew, Bibles, Christian Missionaries
Synopsis: Andrew van der Bijl went from an adventure-seeking boy in a small village in Holland to an adventure-having man as he smuggled Bibles into countries where they were forbidden.
The Christian Heroes: Then & Now series have been favorite books in our home for many years. We call them “the brown biographies,” for obvious reasons, and we really enjoy them. My 8-year-old chose Brother Andrew: God’s Secret Agent when it was his turn to choose a story a little while ago. We were about halfway through the book when he wrote about it for the homeschool writing group we are part of; it really sparked his interest!
Andrew van der Bijl was born in a small village in Holland. He was only about 12 when his country was invaded by the Germans during World War II, and suddenly he had the adventures he had always longed for. Life was now almost too exciting! When the war ended, though, he didn’t know what to do with himself anymore. Finally, he joined the Dutch army and went to Indonesia to fight the rebels there. He distinguished himself as a soldier, but he still didn’t have anything that really satisfied—and his dissatisfaction only grew worse when he was injured and shipped back home.
Then, one day, he started to read his Bible, and quickly found that he couldn’t get enough of it! He became a different man. Soon, he found himself having real adventures that satisfied—working to share God’s love with others and smuggle Bibles into countries where they weren’t allowed. One amazing experience followed another, and he ended up going around the world. Read this and you’ll be amazed at how God used this man!
A lot of the story in this book is the same as the account related in God’s Smuggler. However, there are a couple of chapters at the end that carry on the story. Some details are told throughout Brother Andrew: God’s Secret Agent that could not be made public when God’s Smuggler was published, as well. We enjoyed this book; my younger ones had never heard these stories, and some of the others, who have listened to the first book, enjoyed recognizing them as I read.
WARNING: Chapters 5 and 6 describe some battles in Indonesia. In chapter 10 a man threatens to slit Andrew’s throat.
Read Aloud—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12, 10 – 13, Family Read Alouds
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12, 12 – 15