For the Love of My Brothers
Brother Andrew with Verne Becker
Summary: The story of Brother Andrew, God's Smuggler continues. The Iron Curtain has fallen, but the work has continued into China, Africa, Cuba and the seemingly impenetrable Middle East. All over the world there are small gatherings of believers, living under an oppressive regime, that need encouragement, prayer and Bibles. Open Doors, the organization headed by Brother Andrew, seeks to fill these needs. This book once again tells the stories of our suffering brethren around the globe. In addition, each chapter rightly concludes by challenging believers to overcome their hesitations and to take up their duty, out of love, for the brethren. How will you respond?
Personal Thoughts: "Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die!" (Rev.3:2a) There are Christians in China and Egypt. There are very small bands of believers in Iran and Iraq. They are under incredible pressure. They are isolated and in hiding. They need our prayers, our presence and our encouragement. Open Doors is doing everything they can to fill this need. The work is great. Unfortunately, the labourers are few.
I was blessed to be a small part in Brother Andrew's ministry when I and 17 others smuggled just under 1000 Bibles into China in 2001. It takes prayer, preparation and penetration-first through legal means, and then through smuggling. We must be willing to pay the cost. Is God's kingdom not worth it? The need for willing and active Christians is real and pressing. As the hymn writer, Isaac Watts, aptly puts it:
Must I be carried to the skies
On flow'ry beds of ease;
While others fought to win the prize,
And sailed through bloody seas.
Quote: I have come to believe that Islam poses the biggest challenge to the church today. Not to political or economic systems, but to the church. Why? Quite simply, because we in the Western church don't come close to matching the level of commitment, determination and strength of many Muslim groups. Christ and the Bible certainly call us to a radical commitment, but we don't show it in the way we live. Until we do, Islam will continue to be the world's fastest growing religion--not because of its strength, but because of our weakness.
There is another major obstacle to overcome if we are to reach out to Muslims. We must forever set aside the idea that they are our enemies. We did this for decades with the Russians--they were the terrible, evil communists who were going to conquer the world. That very attitude on our part is why it took so long for their system to crumble. In our fear, we did not go to them with the love of God. --pg 208-209
The Korean Pentecost
William Blair & Bruce Hunt
Summary: This book took over 100 years to write. Two authors wrote it: the first was one of the men who initially brought the gospel to Korea and experienced the amazing outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Korean Church. The second author, William Blair's son-in-law, experienced Satan's rebuttal to the Light through an intense persecution. Follow both of these writers as they talk of their experience of coming to Korea, learning the language, gaining the trust of the people and preaching the Gospel. There's a great chapter that talks about the experience of one church in Anju. Another chapter gives a mini-biography of five Korean Christians who became martyrs. Best of all, there is a great chapter detailing that wonderful Pentecost.
Personal Thoughts: These first generation babes in Christ understood the cost of following their Master and willingly gave their lives to gain eternity. 5 wars, the occupation of the Japanese who imposed shrine worship and a Communistic regime wreaked havoc on the church. Pray for these Christians today as North Korea is currently a closed country. We have little access to the news of the well being of the church. Remember our brethren in chains.
Quote: "The great wars that have shaken the nations and changed the course of history have focused in Korea during the short period of the church's history. Nothing but the guiding presence of the Lord's Spirit has brought the church in safety to this hour. Nothing but the Spirit of the Lord poured forth from heaven in Pentecostal power could have saved the church at the time of its great testing." --pg. 70
D. Martyn Lloyd Jones
Summary: This book is the first in a two part series on the life of this well known man--Martyn Lloyd Jones. Born and raised in Whales, follow Lloyd-Jones through a fascinating childhood, his rise to prominence in the medical world, his conviction and calling to the ministry and his first pulpit. Learn who this man was and what made him spectacular in his preaching, and yet humble and ordinary when he was off the pulpit. He didn't believe in pomp and show. He had no time or respect for extensive and elaborate church programs. He preached Christ and considered that most sufficient as the means to save sinners. And God's age-old method was proven most effective as, clearly, God richly blessed Martyn Lloyd-Jones' work.
Personal Thoughts: Wow. This is just excellent reading! There is so much depth, plenty of detail, and told in a way that doesn't make you want to exalt Lloyd-Jones, but rather rejoice in the gift God gave the church. Lloyd-Jones never wanted a book written about him--just as he never originally wanted his sermons put in print. Naturally, (and thankfully), he didn't get his way. Anyways, much can be said about this biography, but in short I can truly understand why this is the most well-loved, well known Christian biography in Reformed circles.
Quote: "Sometimes a few words from these men would reveal the depth of their feelings. When some years later, George Jenkins whose life was so radically changed lay dying in London, a former friend from Sandfields visited him. One of the old man's first enquiries was to ask for 'his beloved father in Christ,' and, he added, 'I would rather see him than Paul himself!' "
For a Testimony
Summary: The author, an American, is a missionary in Munchuria to the Korean people during the 1940's. As the Japanese take over the country during World War 2 and impose shrine worship, Bruce Hunt opts to stay with his congregation and suffer hardship, imprisonment and torture rather than return home to safety.
Personal Thoughts: I can really respect this man and his wife who counted it an honour to suffer alongside their Korean brethren. Oh that we would be ready to offer Christian testimony day in and day out even at the cost of our lives!
Killing Fields, Living Fields: Faith in Cambodia
Summary: Starting in the mid 1920's among simple rice farmers, here is a very thorough retelling of how the
church began, suffered and yet grew in Cambodia She had a wondrous 5 years where the church grew by leaps and bounds. In fact, baptisms were still being performed as the Khmer Rouge overtook the city. Sadly, the church barely survived the Khmer rouge onslaught and only 3 church pastors survived to build up But God is faithful and today the church is growing once again.
Personal Thoughts: I found a real love for the Cambodian people--Christians--in this book. Their zeal to make the gospel known to their own people is truly precious. The all encompassing scope of terror that gripped that country during the horrifying reign of the Khmer Rouge is startling. To think that only 3 church leaders remained in 1979 is heart wrenching.
Son of Hamas
Mosab Hassan Yousef
Summary: The true story of a Palestinian in his war torn country. Mosab is the son of a popular religious leader and face of the well known terrorist organization Hamas. Mosab becomes a spy for the Israelis and ends up finding Christianity. Wanting to detach himself from all the evil and turmoil that he is tangled in, he finally gets out and finds a quiet (although poor) life in the United States.
Personal Thoughts: Well, this is quite the read. Humbling indeed. Also a great eye opener to the issues in the Middle East. As Christians I think we're almost too afraid of the political/religious turmoil in that area to really reach out to our brothers and sisters who currently live there.
God's Double Agent
Summary: The true story of a pastor who taught English in a military communist school by day and faithfully
shepherded the flock at night. An eye witness to the massacre at Tiananmen Square and imprisoned for his activities, Fu eventually made it to the States where he is an enormous advocate for the persecuted church in China. Fu brings many awful truths to light in a country that appears Westernized--especially in regards to human rights.
Personal Thoughts: I did not know that China still persecuted the underground church. The fact that there still is an underground church in China speaks volumes. Chinese authorities have done a masterful job in obscuring these details. Also, I was incredibly impressed at what George W. Bush did for persecuted Chinese believers. You do not often hear these types of details regarding world leaders.
Brother Andrew with John and
Summary: Told that is was impossible to minister behind the Iron Curtain, Andrew knew there was nothing too hard for the Lord. Crossing 'closed' borders he would often pray, "Lord, in my luggage I have Scripture I want to take to your children. When you were on earth, you made blind eyes see. Now, I pray, make seeing eyes blind. Do not let the guards see those things You do not want them to see." This is a tremendous story (always been one of my favorites) which introduces you to oppressed churches and Christians in Bulgaria, Romania, Russia, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Macedonia, Hungary and one man who felt burdened to place the Bible into the hands of Christians who were denied one.
Personal Thoughts: This book gives a great overview in a biography format of the different trials that beset the churches in eastern Europe. And the story is just fascinating. When the author describes his journeys and
experiences it makes me want to join him in meeting these oppressed brothers and sisters. How can one not be greatly moved when they read of how a congregation shares one Bible, or weeps to hear when a congregation is touched to know they have not been forgotten by fellow Christians in the West.
Excerpt: Peroff took me over to his desk. On it was an ancient typewriter with a sheet of paper in it, and next to the typewriter a Bible, open to Exodus. "Three weeks ago I was extremely lucky," said Petroff. "I managed to find this Bible." He showed me a second volume on the small dining table. "I got it for a good price too. Only a month's pension. The reason it was so cheap is that the books of Genesis, Exodus and Revelations have been cut out and--"
"Why?" I interrupted.
"Who knows? Perhaps to sell. Or perhaps to make cigarettes from the thin paper. "At any rate," Petroff went on, "I was lucky enough to find it and have the money to purchase it. Now all I have to do is fill in the missing parts from my own Bible--and I have another complete book! I ought to be finished in another 4 weeks."
"And what will you do with the second Bible then?"
"Oh, give it away."
"To a church in Plovtiv," said his wife, "where there's no Bible."
I wasn't sure I understood. No Bible in the entire church?
"Certainly," said Petroff. "And there are many such churches in Rumania and Russia."
My sense of excitement mounted. I could hardly wait to show Petroff the treasure I had waiting for him in my car.
That night I drove up to the apartment, checked the street to make sure it was empty, and then took inside
the first of many, many cartons of Bibles I was to deliver to this man over the years. Petroff and his wife watched me put the box on their one table, their eyes wide in frank and open curiosity.
"What's that?" Petroff asked.
I lifted the top and took out a Bible. I put it in the trembling hands of Petroff and another into the hands of his wife.
"And...and in the box?" Petroff asked.
"More. And still more outside."
Petroff closed his eyes. His mouth was working hard to control the emotion he was feeling. But two tears rolled slowly out from between his closed lids and fell on the volume in his hands. --page145, 146