Brother Andrew, author of the book God's Smuggler and a former missionary to the Soviet Union, now focuses on ministry in the Muslim world via Open Doors. Stan Guthrie, senior associate news editor for Christianity Today, interviewed Andrew about his new book, Light Force (Revell, 2004, with Al Janssen). The book details the struggles of churches trying to survive in the Middle East and Andrew's attempts to reach out to militant Islamic groups.
Your ministry in the Soviet bloc ended around 1967. Was publicity surrounding God's Smuggler the cause?
With [God's Smuggler], in order to protect my friends, I couldn't go back there.
Was that a surprise?
No, not really. I even think the same about [Light Force]. Can I go back to the Muslim work? But there's no advantage without taking a risk anyway.
So, I didn't feel too bad about not going back to the Soviet Union because, by then, we had a lot of people in place and missions functioning. And they're still working in many of those areas.
But you can go back now.
Yeah, [but it's] no fun. I'm entirely in the Muslim world now.
Because I foresaw, although I was not able to define it and communicate clearly, that the next round of confrontation and therefore persecution would come from the world of Islam and not from Communism, which I already saw was in its dying days at that time. But Islam grew stronger, especially in the '70s when the oil crisis erupted in the world. The Western world was on its knees in front of the mosque.
What have been your main areas of focus in the Muslim world?
My personal focus would be the Middle East. That's what this book is about, and the main outreach that we have is a little farther east in several Muslim countries.
What is your goal in helping persecuted ...1