It’s not often that I find tears in my eyes in the middle of editing something, but that’s what happened to me five minutes ago. I’m working through Nancy Drummond’s latest youth biography on the life of Andrew van der Bijl, aka – Brother Andrew. In the most recent chapter he has arrived in Communist Bulgaria in order to make contact with the underground Christian Church. Andrew’s host Petroff is one of the few people in the church who has a bible of his own. Before Andrew arrived in Bulgaria Petroff had just spent a whole month’s salary in secretly purchasing an old Bible that didn’t have the books of Genesis or Exodus in it. He then spent his evenings retyping the missing books so that he could give the bible to an underground church who didn’t have the scriptures.
But Andrew has come to Bulgaria with a wonderful surprise.
“That night, under cover of darkness, Andrew drove the little blue Volkswagen down Petroff’s street. He checked to make sure he was not being watched and carefully unloaded a heavy crate of Bibles. He carried the box up to Petroff’s apartment and set it on the dining table. Petroff’s eyes were wide as he and his wife watched with mounting curiosity. Andrew removed the lid and took out a Bulgarian Bible. He placed it in Petroff’s shaking hands. Andrew took out another Bible and handed it to Petroff’s wife.
“Are there more?” she asked, not daring to look in the box.
“This box is full,” Andrew said, “and there are more boxes, just like this one, in the car outside.”
Petroff’s eyes were closed. He could not speak, but tears streamed down his cheeks. They dripped off his chin and splashed onto the Bible he was holding. Andrew felt tears fill his own eyes. This was why he had come to Bulgaria—to bring the blessings of the Bible to hungry people.”
Andre and Petroff then go on a clandestine missions trip. In one small apartment they meet eight other believers. At the end of the meeting …
“With a grin, Petroff stood and carefully unwrapped the package before holding up one of the Bulgarian Bibles that Andrew had brought. People gasped with joy, slapping their hands over their mouths to stifle the sound. They reverently passed the Bible from hand to hand, longing flowing through every fingertip. It had been years since many of them had seen a copy of God’s Word, and now their tiny church would have its very own copy. Tears of joy mingled with embraces of thanks as they silently expressed their gratitude.”
Now did you manage to read that without weeping… if not actual tears then tears in your heart? Tears of sadness? Perhaps tears of joy? Perhaps tears of longing that God will return that desire to our own Christian lives? To our own churches – to our own land.
This is due to be published in the U.K. in March 2014 so look out for it.