By Michelle Ofori-Ansah
When we think of a “minister of the Gospel,” we typically think of an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor or teacher. It’s unlikely we would think of the word smuggler, let alone a Bible smuggler. However, for CFNI alumnus Patrick Klein that is a large part of his calling, and he is anointed for it. For over 20 years, Patrick Klein has helped deliver over 1 million Bibles around the world through some of the tightest security on earth.
But why would a young man, full of vitality and promise, choose such a dangerous career path? Why would he reject his comfortable American life and even risk his life to bring Bibles into closed and dangerous countries? Patrick Klein describes his motivation this way: “When you see pain and suffering up close and personal, how can you walk away from it? How can I live a supposedly normal life, the American dream, knowing girls are being sold into sex trafficking, pastors need Bibles desperately, and there are children living in the sewers? If I really had the Spirit of God in me, things that break God’s heart are going to break my heart.”
By following his heart, Patrick Klein’s clandestine ministry activities have led him to rescue sex trafficking victims over the years in countries most people are afraid to even visit (the names of the specific countries are withheld because of the danger to Patrick and his contacts). For Patrick, darkness is a quest for light, and need is a call to action. He does not shy away from danger when the souls of people are at stake.
Patrick’s passion for the lost and hurting was sparked while on a CFNI summer mission trip. He was a CFNI student, and it was his first time intentionally breaking international law. Patrick had heard about the need in one Asian country for Bibles (there was only one Bible for every 300 Christians in this unfriendly-to-the-Gospel nation), and he and his team were going to do something to help meet that need. Patrick had Bibles hidden in his checked and carry-on luggage, plus the ones he had hidden on his body under his clothes. He didn’t realize it, but his career as a Bible smuggler was about to begin.
Walking through customs, trying not to appear nervous, Patrick experienced almost immediate failure. Customs officials found the Bibles in his carry-on and checked bags, but they didn’t find the ones hidden on his body. They confiscated the discovered Bibles, but cleared Patrick to enter the country. Officially a Bible smuggler, Patrick now had to repack and hide these precious Bibles again. In a rough bathroom with a “squatty potty” (just a hole in the floor), Patrick struggled to keep his bag off the wet floor and his passport from falling into the hole as he transferred the Bibles from his body to the bag. It was an extremely humid 90 degrees, and sweat dripped off his body. His only thought was, “Lord, this is what I am created to do! I love this!”
Years later, Patrick regularly smuggles Bibles into that same country and others, trusting God to bring more and more Bibles through hostile borders. On one occasion, he and his team successfully stayed below the radar of customs inspection while carrying 2 duffel bags, each with 70 pounds of Bibles, through the airport. Ten people with 140 pounds of Bibles each somehow walked right past the customs inspectors.
They weren’t even stopped and questioned. Patrick’s team was invisible! He has seen God’s protection and intervention in similar ways for over two decades. “You know, I hear some people say, ‘I just want to win one person to Jesus in my life.’ Not me, I want to win millions, tens of millions. I want to do all I can to bring Him much glory in this earth.”
Patrick doesn’t think this is all that spectacular. He just hears a call for help and moves to answer it. “We do some dangerous stuff in our ministry, but people put their lives on the line for the Gospel all the time. Why are we, as American Christians, exempt from that?”
Patrick tells a story of one of his regular visits to an orphanage in an Asian country that houses children of sex trafficking victims. One little boy contracted HIV from his mother, who has died of AIDS. “When he came up to me, my first thought was, ‘Oh, be careful, he’s got HIV.’ And I thought, ‘Wait a minute, Jesus wasn’t afraid of the lepers, so I don’t need to be afraid of HIV.’ So I scooped him up and spent time with him. I visit as often as I can; I’m like a father figure to him. My faith has got to be bigger than any disease.”
Whether he is smuggling Bibles or rescuing women from sex trafficking, Patrick isn’t afraid to wrestle with the moral implications of this radical Christianity. One American pastor refused to have Patrick in his church because Bible smuggling breaks the law. This pastor said, “If God wants the people in closed countries to have a Bible, He will change their governments.” Patrick shares, “I thought, that’s easy for you to say when your office is full of Bibles and study materials. What about the Hebrew midwives who kept the Hebrew baby boys alive when Pharaoh decreed they be killed in Egypt? Or Corrie ten Boom who hid Jews in her house against the laws enacted by the Nazi government during World War II? We’re called to stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves, the weak and defenseless. I believe if Jesus were walking the Earth today, He’d be rescuing girls out of sex trafficking. If He had to turn over a few tables and brothels, then He might just do it.”
For Patrick Klein, Bible smuggling is an act of worship, obedience to his calling. Patrick lives by a simple creed: “My life is not mine; I was bought with a price, the cross. I can’t just do whatever I want to do. I belong to Jesus now, and my question is, ‘What do You want me to do Jesus?’” Not everyone can or should smuggle Bibles or rescue sex trafficking victims, and Patrick is not advocating breaking international law. But everyone has a role to play in the Kingdom. It may be traditional, unconventional or perhaps even radical, but whatever it is, it’s time to answer that call.Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe