As Christians who believe the truth of God’s Word, members of The Gideons International are passionate about sharing Scriptures and telling others about what God has done in their lives.
So, when 2,233 of our members from 92 countries, territories, and possessions, gathered in Kansas City, Missouri this past July for our International Convention, many took time to talk about Jesus with the people they encountered in hotels, restaurants, and on the sidewalks. Here are just a few testimonies from those conversations.
Lorraine has experienced some difficult times in life. Joanne Sanders, who serves as an Auxiliary with the Blair South Camp, Pennsylvania, saw Lorraine on the sidewalk in Kansas City and offered her a New Testament. Joanne took time to share how Jesus loved her enough to die for her sins, and He offers salvation to those who place their trust in Him. This was welcome news to Lorraine. With Joanne’s help, she prayed to receive Jesus as her Lord and Savior.
Justo Escobar, who serves as a Gideon with the Live Oak Camp, Florida, asked the desk clerk at his hotel if he had received a New Testament from The Gideons that week. The clerk, John, said indeed he had. Justo shared how John could be one hundred percent sure he would go to heaven at the end of his life by accepting Jesus into his heart. He then asked John if he would like to make that decision, and John welcomed the opportunity.
On Tuesday, Vicki Wettig, an Auxiliary with the Lancaster Central Camp, Pennsylvania, saw a security guard walking down the hall of the convention center. “I determined in my heart if he walked back by me, I would share a New Testament,” says Vicki. The guard, Brian, did walk back by and Vicki followed through on her commitment, pulling a New Testament from her handbag.
She showed Brian the New Testament and landed on the back page, which reveals God’s plan of salvation. Vicki told Brian the New Testament answered life’s most important question of where we will spend eternity.
“I asked him if he would like to receive Jesus as his Lord and Savior, so he could have the assurance of spending eternity in heaven,” said Vicki. Brian replied, “Yes.”
Vicki then led Brian in a prayer to confess his sins and accept God’s forgiveness. “Afterwards, he kept hugging me, and thanking me for caring enough to talk to him,” said Vicki. As they finished their conversation, Vicki encouraged Brian to seek out a Bible-believing church.
Chuck Smith, a Gideon with the Herman Bay Camp, Florida, was having lunch with three other Gideons. Their server was Hannah. They asked Hannah how they could pray for her. Hannah told the men about a number of challenges she was facing and confessed she was extremely conflicted about her purpose in life.
One of the Gideons shared about her namesake in the Bible. Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel, was a woman who also had her share of challenges.
The men continued to talk with Hannah. They showed her more verses using a New Testament. Hannah agreed it was time to give her life to Jesus. “Holding hands, she prayed with us to receive Jesus,” said Chuck. “We then went to other tables of Gideons in the restaurant and introduced them to our new sister in Christ.”
Dr. Wallace Donaldson, who serves as a Gideon in the Sunnyside Camp, Washington, met Theo, who was waiting to catch a bus ride to work. The two began to talk and the conversation turned to spiritual matters. Theo said he had attended church with his grandparents while growing up. As an adult out living on his own, he was not involved in a church. Wallace gave Theo a New Testament and began to lead Theo through the plan of salvation printed in the back. “I told him about God’s great love for him,” said Wallace. Theo then made a personal decision for Christ. Wallace encouraged him to connect with a Bible-believing church where he could continue to grow in his faith.
Dr. Kim Powell, a Gideon with the Toledo East Camp, Ohio, was dining with other members of The Gideons International at a restaurant. He asked their server, a young lady named Sydney, if she had any prayer requests as they blessed their meal. She asked if they could pray for her father who was undergoing cancer treatment. Having recently graduated from art school, she also asked for prayers for her future career endeavors. They lifted Sydney’s requests up in prayer. After the meal, Sydney returned to their table with the check and Dr. Powell offered her a New Testament. He then engaged her in a conversation about God’s Word. “I briefly shared my testimony and asked her if she knew for sure where she was going when this life was over,” said Dr. Powell.
Sydney responded she wasn’t sure but would like to know. Dr. Powell then shared the Gospel with her, extending an invitation for her to receive Jesus as her Lord and Savior. Sydney accepted that opportunity and invited Jesus into her heart.
Ron Hopkins, who serves in the Tazewell Camp, Illinois, and Craig Dunn of the Merrimack Valley Camp, Massachusetts, were walking along the sidewalk in Kansas City and encountered two men engaged in a spiritual discussion. Ron and Craig presented the two men with New Testaments. One of the men, Christopher, quickly became interested in the verses printed in the back explaining God’s plan of salvation. Craig began leading Christopher through the verses explaining how the writer of the Gospel of John was a fisherman who had left his nets at the Lord’s invitation to follow him. “Christopher identified with that example,” said Craig. “In the course of our conversation, he said, ‘That’s it! That’s what I need!’” Christopher then signed his New Testament, confirming his decision to follow Christ.
Bonita Montes serves as an Auxiliary with the Baybay Camp in the Philippines. She arrived at the historic City Market in Kansas City, joined by two other Christians who support The Gideons International as Friends of Gideons. All three bowed their heads and asked God to lead them to the person with whom they should share the Gospel. Moments later in the food court, they were prompted to talk with a man sitting alone on a bench. “Can you recommend a good place to eat?” they asked. The man suggested a nearby restaurant, and Bonita continued talking with him.
The man’s name was Allen. Bonita asked if he knew Jesus. “Yes,” he replied. She mentioned how short life is, and he agreed. “I asked Allen if he was sure what would happen to him if his life suddenly came to an end. He was not sure, so I pulled out the New Testament I was carrying,” says Bonita. “I explained to him the verses in the front of the New Testament, then I turned to the back pages and shared God’s plan of salvation which reveals how to establish a relationship with Jesus in order to go to heaven.” Bonita shared how Allen could be saved, as Jesus was God’s Son who came and died for our sins, then was buried and arose on the third day. Allen listened sincerely and kept nodding his head and saying, “Yes, ma’am,” as Bonita asked if he understood the Scripture passages.
“Allen, would you be willing to trust Jesus and receive Him into your heart?” Bonita asked. She explained that the moment he received Jesus, he would become a child of God and he would go to heaven when his life on earth was over. Allen agreed to let Bonita lead him in prayer to receive Jesus as his Lord and Savior.
“Afterwards, Allen smiled, and his gloomy eyes lit up,” she said. She told him to read God’s Word as his daily spiritual food. “He nodded, looking at me attentively. He smiled, and then we said goodbye,” said Bonita. “To God be the glory.”