He Who Calls You Is Faithful

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Image: Loading one million Bibles onto a barge for delivery to China in 1981.
By Nicole Todd | 26 February 2019

When an Open Doors cassette tape called for someone to begin a base in Australia, Dean and Becky Keaney never thought it would be them.

“We didn’t think it was us, didn’t think we were qualified,” Dean said. “[We thought] ‘Who’s going to do that?’”

It soon became clear that God had bigger plans for Dean’s life than he had himself. Despite his own misgivings, Dean applied for, and accepted the job to start Open Doors in Sydney, Australia.

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Image: Dean (left) with Open Doors founder Brother Andrew in Sydney in 1978.

“It’s God’s call, how do you say, ‘No’? Do you dare to say ‘No,’ even though you don’t feel qualified? God was preparing our heart for something, we didn’t know what.”

In 1978, when Dean and Becky moved to Sydney and founded Open Doors Australia, China was a top priority for the team.

“China was the number one priority for Open Doors worldwide,” Dean said. “The biggest nation on Earth, atheist, Communist, all the missionaries tossed out… And so, our job here was to get the church of Australia awakened, not just sending but taking it themselves. The question was, ‘How do you get Bibles into China?’”

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Image: Dean bringing Bibles through a Chinese checkpoint.

Dean and a team of would-be Bible smugglers went to China and wandered the streets of Canton. They had no real plans and were willing to be led by the Lord. They would try to make eye contact with locals. If anyone smiled at them, they decided that was a sign they were their contact.

Dean remembers, “We would walk the streets of Canton, we walked for 4 hours that first night, thinking that if we saw a Chinese [person] that smiled then that was our contact. So, as we saw another guy smiling, we’d chase him.”

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Image: Bibles at the Open Doors office ready for travellers to take into China.

Eventually, Dean was part of the team that pulled off operation Project Pearl, where they successfully delivered one million Bibles into China, over a single night.

In his time with the ministry, Dean has been caught by border guards in an attempt to smuggle Bibles into countries where it is illegal to own one. He’s been trapped by secret police, below deck on a boat with his 12-year-old-daughter. And he has spent 40 years challenging and inspiring the Australian church to stand with people who suffer daily for their faith in Jesus, and yet live and encourage a bolder faith for us all.

Dean’s story speaks of the faithfulness of God, who calls us to obedience whether we feel qualified or not. He has spent his life witnessing the power of God, who works through profoundly human hands to achieve unthinkable things.

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Image: Dean with Brother Andrew in Melbourne, 1986.

“Step out in faith because God wants to do something through you that you don’t even have a clue about,” says Dean. “Step out and even though the road may not be the easiest because there’s trials and testing, yet He will see you through. Don’t miss out on God’s best."

“He who calls you is faithful. God is in this ministry and has been since day one. It’s not anybody involved in it, it is God’s ministry. He started it, He’s doing it, He’s going to finish it. It’s all Him, it’s all about Him.”

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