Editor's Note: This year, NRB will be recognizing a record number of organizations with the NRB Milestone Award, which is presented each year at the annual NRB Convention in recognition of pioneers in Christian communications who have demonstrated exemplary service in the industry for five decades or more. In each weekly edition of NRB Today leading up to the NRB 2013 Convention & Exposition, one of this year's honorees will be spotlighted. This week, we recognize Open Doors, which has served persecuted believers for 58 years, making it one of the oldest on-going international ministries to suffering Christians. Here is their story:
Open Doors was founded in 1955 by “Brother Andrew,” the author of the autobiography God's Smuggler, which has sold over 10 million copies in 36 languages. It was that year in which Brother Andrew made his first missionary trip to Eastern Europe while smuggling Christian literature. He was first called “brother” when he began delivering Bibles behind the Iron Curtain.
“God spoke to me on my first trip to the communist world through a couple of verses in Revelation 3,” recalled Brother Andrew. “‘Strengthen what remains,’ He said to the struggling church in Sardis in verse 2. And in verse 8, He told the church in Philadelphia, ‘I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.’ Neither of these passages says, ‘Andrew, I am appointing you to be a Bible smuggler to Russia.’ But because I was already studying the Bible, praying, and sharing my faith with those around me, and I had the willingness to go wherever God wanted me, those verses awakened me to the vast need of Christians behind the Iron Curtain. That’s how the ministry of Open Doors came into being.”
Today, Open Doors is an international Christian ministry that supports and strengthens persecuted Christians in more than 60 countries. The ministry’s outreach includes Bible and Christian literature distribution, leadership training and assistance, Christian community development, and prayer and presence ministry.
In 2011, Open Doors delivered more than 3.1 million Bibles, study Bibles, children’s Bibles, training materials and other Christian materials to persecuted believers in 50 countries. Also in 2011, Open Doors served 172,137 through community development projects. The ministry has furthermore trained 263,542 people through theological courses, shorter seminars, and other venues.
Published: January 31, 2013