God brings people into our lives who forever change our direction and ministry. Arthur Bush experienced this in a powerful way.
Born and raised in Many, Louisiana, Arthur grew up in church and accepted Christ as a young boy in large part due to the influence of his mom, a home economics teacher, and his dad, a World War II veteran and lead custodian at a local school. Arthur was baptized in August 1968 at Bethel Baptist Church. As he matured in his faith, he served in various volunteer capacities at church.
Years later, while working as a special education teacher for 5th-8th grade students, Arthur saw Gideons passing out New Testaments to students at his school. Little did he know that what he witnessed would one day become his passionate calling and personal ministry. For a long time, Arthur hesitated to apply for membership in The Gideons, because he never saw much ethnic diversity in his encounters with Gideons. He wondered if he would be accepted. Now, as a member, he enjoys diversity as he serves with men of every race and ethnicity, at home and around the world.
A life-changing meeting at a baseball game
Arthur met Joe Ladner at a little league baseball game one day. Joe was wearing his Louisiana State University class ring and Arthur, his LSU apparel—they enjoyed a conversation about their affinity for LSU. Joe mentioned he was a Gideon, and Arthur felt the Holy Spirit impressing on his heart there was something Joe needed to tell him or show him. Arthur did not know what would come of this but believed he “needed to be around him.” When Joe invited Arthur to a home Bible study he was leading, Arthur immediately agreed.
a community of brothers
Arthur attended this home Bible study for the next seven to eight years. Through this, the two men built an incredible friendship.
Joe approached Arthur about joining The Gideons in 2003; however, Arthur delayed joining until 2006. Initially, Arthur felt overwhelmed by the invitation because of the vastness of the ministry—it was a lot to process.
However, Joe never gave up on Arthur. After Arthur became a Gideon, Joe began mentoring him by taking him to church rallies, camp meetings, and other ministry-related events. To this day, Arthur is eternally grateful for Joe’s mentorship, because it allowed Arthur to gain a deep understanding of the ministry through personal experience instead of simply being told about what the ministry entailed.
Other seasoned Gideons from Texas and Louisiana have also played a huge role in Arthur’s life. A group of men from the Hemphill/San Augustine Camp in Texas mentored Arthur and made him feel welcomed to the Association. Another group of Gideons told him that he could reach his goals and he had great potential within the ministry. In fact, Gideon John Lawery saw so much potential in Arthur, he encouraged him by saying, “You can do a whole lot more than you are doing.”
He encouraged him by saying, “You can do a whole lot more than you are doing.”
In 2010, Arthur began to see this encouragement to do more take root. He spoke at a small Pentecostal church in Pineland, Texas. After speaking, a lady came up to him and said, “The Lord told me to tell you, you keep doing what you are doing. Do not quit. He has great things in store for you.” On his way home, still processing what she told him, Arthur became overwhelmed by emotion. He pulled his car over to take in the moment and regain his composure.
Arthur’s faithful friend and mentor, Joe Ladner, passed away in 2016. In the last six months of Joe’s life, a very meaningful conversation took place with Arthur. Joe said, “Arthur, aren’t you glad you joined The Gideons?” Full of heartfelt emotion, Arthur replied, “Mr. Ladner, you don’t realize how much I love this ministry.”
“The Lord told me to tell you, you keep doing what you are doing. Do not quit. He has great things in store for you.”
Three Bibles in Dad’s Bedroom
Arthur would lose another person close to him a couple of years after the passing of Joe Ladner. His dad, Arthur James Bush, passed away on June 10, 2018. He was 51 days away from 100 years old.
A month after Arthur’s dad passing, Arthur’s mother, Evelyn Bush, invited him to her house. She wanted to give him something.
When he arrived, there were three Bibles on his dad’s bed. Arthur did not previously realize these Bibles existed, but he now knows it was the Lord’s plan for him to learn of them all at once.
The first Bible was large, heavily taped, with his father’s name on it. The inscription on the Bible read, “This Bible was placed by The Gideons.”
The second Bible was torn and tattered, making it hard to tell what it was. It was a small New Testament with a bullet hole on the front cover. His father, who served on the frontlines in World War II as a gunner, had been shot during the war. While Arthur’s dad was already a born-again Christian, this Bible saved his physical life that day.
The third Bible was also heavily taped. When opened, the words “White House” and “Washington” were on the first page. What followed was a personal note from President Franklin D. Roosevelt encouraging military to read the Bible while serving in war. Only 56,000 of these Bibles were printed.
Arthur treasures these Bibles because of the impact both his father and The Gideons International have had on his life.
Author Bush’s life and ministry has been completely changed by how God has used him and others through the ministry of The Gideons. Being a Gideon has allowed him to overcome previous fears and embrace a worldwide ministry that reaches people for Christ. This is a calling and passion that will never leave Arthur.