Heroes are flawed too!

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Brother Andrew (1928-alive)

     As a youth of 19 in 1947, Andy van der Bijl was a commando in the Dutch East Indies when the Dutch were fighting Indonesian 'rebels'. Andy was no half-hearted soldier either. He was the most daring of the daring. He once single-handedly captured ten armed guerillas on sheer bravado. He defiantly wore a bright yellow hat so the enemy could see him better.
     "Get smart. Lose your mind!" chorused Andy and his buddies.
     But one patrol soured everything.
     As Andy's unit drove through a village, an explosion shattered their ranks. One of Andy's buddies was killed by a landmine buried in the road. The angry Dutch commandos condemned the entire village, reasoning the inhabitants had to know about the mine to avoid it themselves. Andy and his buddies raked the village again and again with semi-automatic weapons. Andy only realized the depth of evil he had done when he saw the bodies of a young woman and her nursing baby - freshly killed by just one bullet. For the next two years Andy cycled from drunken lechery to daredevil killing, each vice drowning out the guilt of the other - for a while…

God's Smuggler by Brother Andrew (with John and Elizabeth Sherill), 1967]

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How might Brother Andrew have been flawed? Find out right here!

Heroes strive for perfection but none escapes human foibles. They know only one human has ever been perfect. Who do you think that is?

"When I see dead people I shrug...I have no desire for God. I don't want to pray. Instead of going to church I go to the pub and drink until I don't give a hoot…"

Brother Andrew at 19...

Gladys Aylward (1902-1970)

     By 1940 Gladys had crossed over the line of neutrality in the war between China and Japan. She sided with China, heart and soul. She had been a Chinese citizen since 1936. The Japanese were the invaders. And the Japanese were brutal, often picking a victim at random to terrorize the Chinese. Gladys had been beaten herself one night. So she had every right to side with China. But for a missionary she went beyond mere sympathy. Once in her trek along a mountain ridge to a small village she had spotted 50 Japanese soldiers trudging along a dry river bed. She could have continued on her journey but she did not.
     She detoured to a camp of Chinese soldiers, hidden in the mountains. She led one of their officers back to a valley where she guessed the Japanese would camp for the night. She guessed right. In the evening sky smoke curled up from Japanese fires. She and the Chinese officer discussed just where he should set up his machine gun and place his soldiers to ambush the Japanese when they set out the next morning. Then she continued her journey. Just as surely as she had known where the Japanese would camp that evening she knew the next morning the valley floor would be littered with dead soldiers. No Japanese would survive. The Chinese soldiers were very embittered. Many of them would die too. The battle would be short and deadly.
     Yes, tiny, sweet-tempered Gladys had given China more than sympathy.

The Small Woman by Alan Burgess, 1957]

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John Bunyan  (1628-1688)

     John Bunyan was but 21 years old in 1650. Yet he had fought in England's Civil War. He was a hulking athletic redhead, a man who won many bets at the game of tipcat on the village green. Few could swat the 'cat' with a bat like John. But now one midnight he was lying in bed and he was scared. Childbirth was a perilous thing under the best circumstances in those days. His young wife was carrying their first child, not due for many weeks. She whimpered at first while trying to deny the pain, but then began crying out in fear. He lit a candle. She clutched her belly, swollen from six months of growth. There was no doubt about it. She had felt a deep, pulsing contraction. Yes, she was going into labor! Far too soon!
     John prayed desperately but silently, "Lord, if now You will remove this sad affliction from my wife and cause her to be troubled no more this night…"
     His prayer was interrupted by another contraction, a scream of terror!
     "…then I shall know," continued John in his silent prayer, "that You can discern the most secret thoughts of the heart."
     Instantly John's wife calmed and fell into a deep sleep. John blew out the candle. For hours he stared into the darkness and reflected on this miracle. For days afterward he marveled. And yet as his wife reached the time of delivery the feeling of the miracle ebbed. John's doubts grew. Did it really happen? The sudden stop of the contractions was so miraculous. Perhaps he had dreamed it. Perhaps he had imagined it. His imagination was very strong. He was always thinking, always imagining. Yes, he might have imagined it. The sign from God he so craved he put in the realm of doubt.
     And all his old doubts returned.
     Was God real? If so, was Jesus the Son of God? If so, were John's sins paid for by the blood of Jesus? And on and on went his doubts, over and over…

Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners by John Bunyan, 1666]

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John Bunyan Evangelist Writer


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