When Bible Smuggling Goes Wrong
The Middle East is made up of some of the most dangerous countries to be a Christian. Extremism, war, government oppression and domestic abuse put the lives of millions of Christians at risk.
Yet, in the midst of extreme hardship, some Christians are choosing to risk it all to ensure others receive the life-giving message of the gospel.
John* is a Bible smuggler, taking secret Bibles into places where it is most difficult to access the Word.
“It was 9:30pm when I was stopped at customs,” John recalled. “The man asked me to open my suitcase. So, I opened it. The man opened several of my special ‘presents’ and asked me who they were for or where I wanted to sell them. I told him that I personally wanted to give these presents to thank the people for being welcoming in the country.
“I was held and interrogated at the police station for many hours during the night. I was ques-tioned by customs officers and local policemen. Once there were even five interrogators at the same time.
“(An official) said that I was different from the others. I started to talk with him. He told me that his father was seriously ill. [I offered prayer], he agreed and I prayed for him. After that, I told him my testimony and explained how important Jesus is for me. From my pocket I took a small New Tes-tament.
“He accepted Jesus as his saviour. I had tears in my eyes.
“He said that he would help me to solve my problem. He asked me to follow him to get the books. The situation was solved, and I could put the books back in my suitcase. At about 8am he took me to my plane.
“I travelled with half the suitcases full of Arab Bibles. The next day, we called our contact person. We cannot say his name. He picked us up and we headed to the building of his church where the handover should take place.
“I thanked the Lord I had peace, the peace of God that transcends all understanding. I saw the hand of God in all that happened. It went different than I had planned. He decided to change everything for this one soul. I was just a spectator. Thanks to my Father. Thank you Jesus.”
Bible smuggling is a mission full of risks, and, from time to time, it can go wrong. But for John, what he thought was a failed plan turned into an incredible opportunity. One which brought a rare chance to share the gospel in a way he never imagined.
*Name changed for security purposes.