"Reaching people for Christ: helping people out of poverty into a sustainable future."

Rooted in the Bible

"My word that goes out from my mouth...will not return to me empty." Isaiah 55:11

Phil ShrimptonA history of smuggling Bibles behind the Iron Curtain is the root of Mission Without Borders' passion for sharing God's Word. While today Phil Shrimpton is still involved in MWB's work, his past is wrapped up with those secret trips to the Soviet Union.


'Have you any guns, drugs, pornography or Bibles?'

At every border crossing to Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Romania, the armed guards asked the same question. Responding with "take a look" and a silent prayer for God's protection, Phil and the other MWB couriers waited while their lorries were searched. Relying on God, and the carpenters' skill at building hidden compartments, the couriers rejoiced to hear "drive on". Smuggling Bibles was risky business. They committed each journey to God. 

'Looking back, one can see how often God intervened.'

When Phil joined MWB during the Cold War, it was called Underground Evangelism and ministered to pastors living under the atheism and persecution of Lenin's "down with God".

After being commended for its support at the Armenian earthquake (1988), MWB made a formal request to transport Bibles and relief goods behind the Iron Curtain.

"What presumption!" recalls Phil, "but our God is able, and permission was given to journey to Kiev, capital of Ukraine." 

Phil and the main courier travelled from MWB's 'secret supply base', in Germany, in one of two lorries carrying 20 tonnes of Bibles and relief goods. Border guards expressed surprise, sometimes anger, that MWB had permission to transport such literature across their borders.

'Shut up. Mind your own business and get on with the job!'

The courier's sharp words kept Phil focused while flashing lights from a Soviet police car broke the surrounding gloom and pouring rain. Phil and two others were in the middle of lifting Bibles off their lorry to a nearby car to deliver to Christians hungry for the Word of God. But the police kept their steamed-up window closed against the rain and drove off. The Bible couriers finished their unloading.

Arriving in Kiev, the couriers eventually reached a group of people huddled against the cold, wrapped up in fur coats and hats. This band of Christians had been waiting a week for the Bibles. Some had travelled for days from Siberia.

LorryThe group jumped to action: Flinging open the lorry doors, everyone carried their load of Bibles to a little window and down to a basement. Inside was a hive of activity with people labelling up all the Bibles and boxes with names of towns and villages. Once named, others started taking them outside again. As soon as Bibles were given a location, a 'carrier' picked them up to go. It was too dangerous to leave the Bibles where they were. One man told Phil he had been in prison twice for possessing a Bible and worshipping God. Each time the sentence was five years. All those involved with Underground Evangelism took big risks for God.

Today, Phil's prayer for MWB is "that we will continue to look to the Lord for guidance, and His strength to undertake the task he's given us to do."

As part of our Jubilee celebrations in 2010, we pledged to distrbute one million Bibles in Eastern Europe.

A Million

Join us to give away one million Bibles in Eastern Europe.

  • £20 will provide a family-pack of five Bibles
  • £60 will give a church group 15 Bibles


Why not join MWB's Bible Club? You commitment will help us to spread the Word on a regular basis. It costs from only £4 per month.