Andrew van der Bijl — known as “God’s Smuggler” — is Biola University’s 2020 Charles W. Colson Conviction and Courage Award recipient. Biola President Barry H. Corey presented the award to Dr. David Curry, president of Open Doors, on behalf of Brother Andrew, age 92, during Biola’s 91st annual Missions conference. The Colson Award is honored to recipients who have demonstrated a life of serving God by surmounting adversity and overcoming challenges for Christ and his Kingdom.

“Brother Andrew is known as ‘God’s Smuggler,’ a nickname well earned by his courageous lifestyle which emerged from his conviction that everyone in the world should have the freedom to know Jesus, no matter where they live,” said Corey. “His bold ministry began in the mid 1950s during the height of the Cold War, carrying out secret missions smuggling Bibles into areas of Eastern Europe that were closed to the gospel and risky to enter as a Christian believer.”

Brother Andrew’s autobiography, God’s Smuggler, tells of his early ministry which has been translated into 35 languages and has sold over 10 million copies. This book’s success led to the launch of his ministry, Open Doors USA, a global organization committed to reaching persecuted Christians.The organization provides Bibles, training, prayer and support for the persecuted Church across the Globe.

The Colson Award was first established by Biola in 2014, named after Charles W. Colson. Biola established the award in honor of Colson, the founder of Prison Fellowship and the Colson Center for Christian Worldview in consultation with the Colson family. The award honors Colson with recognizing individuals displaying exceptional character that align with the conviction of Biola’s mission to impact the world for Christ through courage and resilience. Past recipients include John M. Perkins, Maggie Gobran, and Joni Eareckson Tada among others.

Recipients of the award are found to be individuals who demonstrate unshakable commitment to the truths of a biblical worldview and embody conviction in the face of severe adversity. According to Corey, recipients are people committed to advancing Christ’s kingdom through evangelism, discipleship and Christian worldview training; individuals who defend religious freedom and advocate for the weak and defenseless; and men and women who model bold, visionary and courageous Christian leadership for the next generation.

For over 60 years, Brother Andrew delivered Bibles across the globe where Christians are persecuted and have restricted access to the Church and Christian literature. He has

led efforts in countries such as Cuba, China, as well as conflict zones in Africa and Central America, such as Nicaragua and El Salvador during their civil wars.

Watch Curry accept the award on behalf of Brother Andrew, since he was unable to receive the award.

Learn about Biola’s Cook School of Intercultural Studies.

Written by Joe Conway, iBiola Reporter. For more information, contact Jenna Loumagne, assistant director of strategic communications and media relations, at