Hassan opened several letters and his eyes filled with tears as he caught the gist of the messages. "People were praying for us?" Hassan asked. "Thousands were praying all over the world," Andrew answered. "That explains it. There were times when I felt I couldn't go on anymore, and then I would feel a power beyond me as though there were others who were taking my suffering and carrying it for me." Andrew was moved by these words. "Hassan, that is exactly what happens. The scriptures say that when one part of the body suffers, all suffer. We are called to share in one another's suffering. When it is more than you can bear, there are others who, prompted by the Holy Spirit, pray for you and somehow remove some of that burden from you."
In that passage from Secret Believers, written by Brother Andrew and Al Janssen, Hassan represents a composite of thousands of Christians in numerous countries persecuted and imprisoned for no other reason than their faith in Jesus Christ.
For half a century the Dutch Christian called Brother Andrew has been ministering to persecuted Christians -- in Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, China, and now the Middle East. I met Brother Andrew in Bethlehem, where he asked me to pray for him as he headed to Gaza. At a time when many Christians seem to view Muslims as the ultimate enemy, Brother Andrew sees them as God-seekers who need the love of Jesus manifested through his followers who extend the hand of friendship. He reveals his own sincere love for Muslims -- even extremists -- as he visits them, hears their anguish, and respectfully presents the living Christ to them.