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Brother Andrew: Behind Enemy Lines Review by Cristi Schwamb

Nancy Drummond
Christian Focus Publications
Geanies House Fearn, Tain
Ross-shire IV20 1TW Scotland, UK
01862 871011
Reviewed in2015

For the past ten years, read-aloud time has been one of the highlights of our school days. History comes alive when we read about the characters who actually lived in different time periods. Similarly, Christian virtues come alive when reading about missionaries and other heroes of the faith. When we read good books, we are no longer studying dry facts or abstract virtues. Instead, we experience the emotions of the time and find new heroes.

Brother Andrew: Behind Enemy Lines by Nancy Drummond takes us to Holland in the early 20th Century. We see Andrew van der Bijl as a teenager playing tricks on German soldiers and then later fighting in World War II. After being injured in battle, he comes to know Christ and spends the rest of his life reaching out to Christians in the now-Communist countries of Eastern Europe.

As the book unfolds, we see how limited religious freedom in countries such as Poland and Czechoslovakia progressed to religious persecution within a decade. Thankfully, we also see how God provided ways for Brother Andrew to smuggle Bibles and other Christian materials into Communist countries.

Throughout the book, Brother Andrew is portrayed as a believable Christian hero. The book doesn’t skip past his childhood antics, gloss over his doubts as a young adult, or sugarcoat his nervous feelings as he approached border crossings with suitcases full of Christmas materials. The entire book shows God’s power working through an ordinary man who dedicated his life to serving God. It gives hope that God can work through ordinary people today.

Perhaps my favorite parts were the times when God clearly worked miracles in the lives of Brother Andrew and the people he reached. For instance, one evening Brother Andrew approached the border crossing between Bulgaria and Rumania. He watched as a guard thoroughly searched the car before him in line, even to the point of taking apart part of the engine. Brother Andrew knew that his car was filled with illegal copies of the Bible. Even the hidden compartments were not going to fool these border crossing guards. He knew he needed a miracle, and he trusted that God would protect both him and the precious Bibles he was transporting. He was so confident that God would work a miracle that he put a stack of Bibles on the passenger seat. The border guard simply waved him through. I often wish I could apply Brother Andrew’s faith and confidence to my everyday life.

Brother Andrew: Behind Enemy Lines is written so that 9- to 14-year-olds can read it independently. It also makes a fabulous read-aloud for children younger than that. When Brother Andrew faces danger or persecution, the story becomes exciting without being too scary for younger siblings who are listening. Readers of all ages will be inspired by Brother Andrew’s dedication to the underground churches within Communist countries and his unwavering faith in God’s provision.

-Product Review by Cristi Schwamb, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January, 2015