Caught Smuggling Bibles

(This story is taken from a fantastic biography about Brother Andrew, called The Narrow Road)

There is a Roman Catholic priest in Rumania whom we have been helping to buy Bibles and other supplies for years. On his last trip home from Vienna, his car loaded with Bibles, he was stopped at his own border and his cargo discovered.

The priest was in anguish. He had already been in jail once on a trumped-up charge of hoarding, but here was a truly serious economic crime, and he was really guilty. A Bible costs a month's wages in Rumania, and he was carrying nearly two hundred.

Just at this moment another car pulled up to the border. Out stepped a businessman who was well known at the station; he walked breezily into the inspection shed greeting each of the guards by name. At the sight of the counter ten-deep in Bibles he stopped short. "Bibles?" He said. "I don't suppose you would be willing to sell them to me? They are confiscated, right?"

"Yes, they are confiscated, but we could not possibly sell them to you."

The businessman winked. "Not even," he said, "for. . ." And he leaned over and whispered a figure into the ear of the customs man. The official's eyes grew large.

"Are they really worth that much?"

"More. I shall make a profit." The official thought for a moment. "Let me talk with my comrades." The three guards huddled together, and when they emerged from their little ring, they had apparently decided that the price was high enough to be worth the sacrifice of principle. So the businessman paid them in cash, got the priest's help in loading his car with his own Bibles, and drove on to Rumania.

In the shed there was an awkward silence. "Am I still charged with smuggling Bibles?" The priest asked at last.

"Bibles?" Said the customs official. "What Bibles? There are no Bibles here. You'd better move along while the gate's open."

And as for the Bibles, although they went on the black market, at least they too reached Rumania safely, where somehow believers will find enough money to buy them for their own.

Open Doors, Brother Andrew with John & Elizabeth Sherrill, The Narrow Road, Grand Rapids, MI: Fleming H. Revell, 2001, p. 324-325.

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