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Open Doors is a non-denominational mission supporting persecuted Christians in over 60 countries where they consider Christianity to be socially or legally discouraged or oppressed.[1] They are also engaged in the distribution of Bibles and literature, audio recordings, broadcasting and training.[2] 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. The United States' office is in Santa Ana, California. Open Doors is also a member of the Forum of Bible Agencies International.

Open Doors
Open Doors logo.jpg
Founded 1955
Founder Brother Andrew
Type Christian
Focus Strengthening persecuted Christians
Area served
Key people
Brother Andrew



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 discriminated Christians in Communist Poland.[3] 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.[4] 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.

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 Gabriel, was loaded with 232 waterproof, poly-wrapped, one-ton packages containing a million Chinese Bibles.[5] A 97-foot tugboat named Michael was used to tow Gabriel 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.[6] Time magazine described Project Pearl as “A remarkable mission… the largest operation of its kind in the history of China.”[7]

In 1988, Open Doors used Glasnost[8] as an opportunity to openly provide one million Russian Bibles to the Russian Orthodox Church, at a cost of $2.5 million.[9] Open Doors partnered with the United Bible Societies to complete the task in just over one year.[10]

As of August, 2007, Open Doors had offices in 27 countries.[11]

In 2010, 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. The petition was presented to the UN in New York on Monday 6 December 2010.[12]

In 2011 Open Doors International delivered more than 3.1 million Bibles, Children's Bibles, training and other Christian materials in nearly 50 countries, trained around 263,500 people worldwide, and served 172,000 people through community development projects.[13]


Open Doors conduct the following work in many countries:

  • Delivering Bibles and other Christian literature
  • 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.[14]
  • 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
  • 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.[15] 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 2018 list of the 50 highest ranked countries are as follows:[16]

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. ^ 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. 
  2. ^ 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. 
  3. ^ Hertzke, Allen D. (2004). Freeing God's children. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 0-7425-0804-8. Retrieved 2009-04-06. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ "Open Doors: Project Pearl - 25th Anniversary of Delivering 1 Million Bibles to China". Christian Today (Press release). Retrieved 2018-01-20. 
  6. ^ Doug Sutphen (Brother David) has gone to be with Jesus
  7. ^ Hoyle, Russ; Wong, Bing W (1981-10-19). "Risky Rendezvous at Swatow". TIME. Retrieved 2009-04-07. 
  8. ^ "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. (Registration required)
  9. ^ 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. Retrieved 2009-04-07.  (Registration required)
  10. ^ 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. Retrieved 2009-04-07.  (Registration required)
  11. ^ "When is Being a Peaceful Follower of Christ a Death Sentence?". Los Angeles Sentinel. 72 (54). 2007-08-16. p. C7. Retrieved 2009-04-07.  (Registration required)
  12. ^ "Open Doors UK 2011 Annual Review". Open Doors UK. 2012-06-01. Retrieved 2012-06-19. [permanent dead link]
  13. ^ "Open Doors UK Press Release". Open Doors. 2010-12-08. Retrieved 2012-06-19. 
  14. ^ Dykstra, Jerry. "Preparing for Persecution in Indonesia". Christian Broadcasting Network. Retrieved 2009-04-07. 
  15. ^ World Watch List Ranking Methodology | World Watch List
  16. ^ "2018 World Watch List Report". Open Doors. 2018. Retrieved January 19, 2018. 

External linksEdit