Open Doors

Open Doors is a non-denominational mission supporting persecuted Christians in the world. They work with local partners to distribute Bibles and Christian literature, give discipleship training[1] and provide practical support, such as emergency relief aid. Open Doors' stated aims are to raise awareness of global persecution, mobilising prayer, support and action among Christians from around the world. It is based in Ermelo, The Netherlands. Open Doors is also a member of the Forum of Bible Agencies International.

Open Doors
Open Doors logo.jpg
FounderBrother Andrew
TypeChristian Charity
FocusStrengthening persecuted Christians worldwide
Area served
70+ countries
Key people
Brother Andrew
$116.3 million (2015; including affiliates)

Open Doors has 20 affiliate offices and a presence in 60 countries around the world.[2][3]


Open Doors was founded in 1955 by Andrew van der Bijl, a Dutchman more widely known as Brother Andrew, when he decided to smuggle Bibles to persecuted Christians in Communist Poland.[4] He continued this work in smuggling Bibles to many of the Soviet-controlled countries and in 1957 was given a blue Volkswagen Beetle which he used to make deliveries within the Communist bloc.[5] With this new car he was able to carry more literature. Thereafter, the work of Open Doors continued to expand as it extended its network throughout Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. He was responsible for smuggling millions of Bibles behind the Iron Curtain.[3]

On 18 June 1981, Open Doors delivered one million contraband Chinese Bibles in one night to a beach near the city of Shantou in southern China on a mission they named Project Pearl. Project Pearl was carried out by an international crew of 20, led by Brother David. A semi-submersible, 137-foot barge, named Gabriella, was loaded with 232 waterproof, poly-wrapped, one-ton packages containing a million Chinese Bibles.[6] A 97-foot tugboat named Michael was used to tow Gabriella to the beach, weaving through a maze of anchored Chinese navy ships. The crew arrived at the beach at 9 pm. 10,000 Chinese Christians had gathered to bring the Bibles to shore and then deliver them all over China.[7] Time magazine described Project Pearl as "A remarkable mission… the largest operation of its kind in the history of China."[8]

In 1988, Open Doors used Glasnost[9] as an opportunity to openly provide one million Russian Bibles to the Russian Orthodox Church, at a cost of $2.5 million.[10] Open Doors partnered with the United Bible Societies to complete the task in just over one year.[11]

In 2005, 428,856 people from over 70 different countries signed Open Doors' global Right to Believe petition, saying Yes to religious liberty and No to the UN's Defamation of Religions Resolution.[12] The petition was presented to the UN in New York in December 2010.[13]

In 2015, Open Doors (including its affiliates) delivered 3 million Bibles and literature, and delivered relief and aid to 239,164 people.[14] In 2018 the USA organization spent $19,291,134 on programs to the persecuted church with $4.7 M spent on fundraising and $2.8 on administration.[15]


Open Doors and its affiliates conduct the following programs in many countries:[16]

  • Delivering Bibles and other Christian literature[9]
  • Providing pastoral and discipleship training
  • Conducting seminars on Christian living, family life. "Standing Strong Through the Storm" is the seminar they use to teach churches on how to survive under persecution.[17]
  • Running Bible-based literacy courses
  • Supplying equipment and vocational training to help widows, families of prisoners of conscience, the displaced, and the unemployed to earn a living[18]
  • Providing legal aid and spiritual and emotional comfort to prisoners and their families
  • Financing and supplying equipment to pastors, churches, and Bible colleges
  • Supplying printing presses, radios, cassette players, photocopiers, and A/V and transport equipment
  • Sponsoring Bible colleges, reconciliation ministries and restoration centres for Christian refugees, widows and orphans.

World Watch ListEdit

The organization publishes an annual World Watch List which ranks countries by the severity of persecution that Christians face for actively pursuing their faith. The WWL is based on the research and comparison of field researchers, external experts, academics[who?], and publicly available research documents. It is a qualitative instrument based on these subjective opinions. In 2012, the methodology of the WWL was comprehensively revised in order to provide greater credibility, transparency, objectivity and scientific quality.[citation needed] In 2013, further refinement of the methodology took place.[19] Countries are ranked on a scale from 0 to 100 depending on persecution in the areas of church life, national life, community life, family life, private life and use of violence against Christians. Depending on the score, countries are arranged into the categories "Extreme Persecution", "Very High Persecution" and "High Persecution".

The 2020 list of the 50 highest ranked countries are as follows:[20][21]

Extreme Persecution

  1.   North Korea
  2.   Afghanistan
  3.   Somalia
  4.   Sudan
  5.   Pakistan
  6.   Eritrea
  7.   Libya
  8.   Iraq
  9.   Yemen
  10.   Iran
  11.   India

Very High Persecution

  1.   Saudi Arabia
  2.   Maldives
  3.   Nigeria
  4.   Syria
  5.   Uzbekistan
  6.   Egypt
  7.   Vietnam
  8.   Turkmenistan
  9.   Laos
  10.   Jordan
  11.   Tajikistan
  12.   Malaysia
  13.   Myanmar
  14.     Nepal
  15.   Brunei
  16.   Qatar
  17.   Kazakhstan
  18.   Ethiopia
  19.   Tunisia
  20.   Turkey
  21.   Kenya
  22.   Bhutan
  23.   Kuwait
  24.   Central African Republic

High Persecution

  1.   Palestine
  2.   Mali
  3.   Indonesia
  4.   Mexico
  5.   UAE
  6.   Bangladesh
  7.   Algeria
  8.   China
  9.   Sri Lanka
  10.   Azerbaijan
  11.   Oman
  12.   Mauritania
  13.   Bahrain
  14.   Colombia
  15.   Djibouti

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Green, George W. (2003). Special use vehicles: an illustrated history of unconventional cars and trucks worldwide. McFarland. p. 151. ISBN 0-7864-1245-3. Retrieved 2009-04-06.
  2. ^ "Open Doors worldwide". Retrieved September 19, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Darling, Daniel (March 29, 2021). "Hide It Under a Bushel? Maybe". Christianity Today. Retrieved March 30, 2021.
  4. ^ Hertzke, Allen D. (2004). Freeing God's children. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 0-7425-0804-8. Retrieved 2009-04-06.
  5. ^ Desmond, Kevin (2005). The Least Likely: If God Can Use Them, He Can Use You!. Kregel Publications. p. 113. ISBN 0-8254-6061-1. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
  6. ^ "Open Doors: Project Pearl - 25th Anniversary of Delivering 1 Million Bibles to China". Christian Today (Press release). Retrieved 2018-01-20.
  7. ^ Hattaway, Paul (May 8, 2007). "Brother David "God's smuggler to China" had died at 70 today". Radio Free China. Assist News Service. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  8. ^ Hoyle, Russ; Wong, Bing W (1981-10-19). "Risky Rendezvous at Swatow". TIME. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
  9. ^ a b "Local News in Brief: Santa Ana Group to Legally Ship Million Bibles to Russia". Los Angeles Times. 1988-08-06. p. 2. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
  10. ^ Brodeur, Nicole (1988-10-15). "OC charity to ship first load of Bibles to Soviets by Dec. 25". Orange County Register. p. b.08. ISSN 0886-4934. ProQuest 272237755. (Registration required)
  11. ^ Owen, Mary (1989-12-30). "County-based ministry has sent 1 million Bibles to Christians in USSR". Orange County Register. p. E.05. ISSN 0886-4934. ProQuest 272433825. (Registration required)
  12. ^ Marking, J. G. (2005). A Voice Is Calling: Living the Life You Know Exists. A Voice Is Calling. p. 117. ISBN 1-933204-07-9. Retrieved 2009-04-06.
  13. ^ "Open Doors' Global Petition Presented at United Nations - Open Doors USA". Open Doors USA. December 9, 2010. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  14. ^ "Open Doors USA 2015 annual report" (PDF). Open Doors USA. Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  15. ^ Open Doors USA 2018 annual report. Open Doors USA website Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  16. ^ George Thomas Kurian, Mark A. Lamport, Encyclopedia of Christianity in the United States, Volume 5, Rowman & Littlefield, USA, 2016, p. 1688
  17. ^ Dykstra, Jerry. "Preparing for Persecution in Indonesia". Christian Broadcasting Network. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
  18. ^ Sentinel staff (Oct 13, 2017). "Ottawa County Patriots to host event about Christian persecution". Holland Sentinel. Retrieved 2018-05-09.
  19. ^ "World Watch List Ranking Methodology". Archived from the original on 2017-11-15.
  20. ^ "2020 World Watch List Report". Open Doors. 2018. Retrieved February 13, 2020.
  21. ^ Casper, Jayson (January 15, 2020). "The 50 Countries Where It's Hardest to Follow Jesus". Christianity Today. Retrieved 2020-09-17.

External linksEdit