“I’ve never seen a country so hungry for the Word of God and communities so open to the Gospel.” This was the response of Doug Vaughan, a Gideon from Bellingham, Washington, who was part of a team of Gideons and Auxiliary that participated in a 2018 Scripture outreach event in Ghana, referred to as a blitz.
The country of Ghana is located in West Africa and has a population of approximately 29.4 million people that spans a variety of ethnic, linguistic, and religious groups. According to the Joshua Project, there are approximately 7.6 million evangelical Christians, representing 26% of the population in Ghana, and 6.5 million Muslims, representing 22% of the country’s population.
In the midst of this wide range of cultures, backgrounds, and religious diversity is The Gideons International, an Association of Christian business and professional men and their wives dedicated to telling people about Jesus through associating together for service, sharing personal testimony, and by providing Bibles and New Testaments. Members of The Gideons have been reaching the people of Ghana with God’s Word since 1966. Since that time, over 34 million people there have received copies of the Word of God, with many coming to faith in Christ. Today, more than 890 Gideons and 370 Auxiliary in Ghana are reaching countless people for the cause of Christ.
dedicated gideons and auxiliary in ghana
Several Gideons from other countries traveled to Ghana to participate in the November Scripture blitz. Scriptures were placed and distributed in schools, universities, hotels, hospitals, a local jail, and to military and police personnel. Some of these Gideons traveled for many hours to participate in the event. One of the local Gideons from Accra was married two days prior to the event, and he chose to postpone his honeymoon in order to share Scriptures with people during the blitz. Bill McAfee, a Gideon from Indiana, was inspired by the commitment of Ghana’s Gideons. “It was great to serve alongside Gideons and brothers in Christ from Ghana. They had tremendous dedication, especially those from Accra, who travelled to Kumasi to work a second week. Some men even worked over the weekend to transport, unload, and deploy Scriptures to storage locations in Kumasi.”
Forty-four churches opened their doors to invite Gideons to share about the mission of The Gideons International. During a meeting with the head of one of the larger churches in Kumasi, the bishop asked if Gideons could train 4,000 of his leaders in reaching people for Christ.
open doors, open hearts
2 Thessalonians 3:1 reads, “Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you.” As a result of what God did in Ghana, over 500,000 people received Scriptures. During most of the distributions, Gideons were able to present the plan of salvation to those receiving a Scripture. Gideons saw thousands of people respond by making public decisions for Christ, and many souls were saved through one-on-one witnessing opportunities the Lord provided.
2 Thessalonians 3:1 reads, “Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you.”
Open doors and open hearts seemed to be the recurring theme throughout the blitz. Will Ragan, a Gideon from South Carolina, said, “Our team saw nothing but open doors, open hearts, and hunger for the Word of God. The gratitude of the people receiving Scriptures can barely be described in words. We were able to share the plan of salvation directly with nearly everyone receiving a Scripture.”
In one classroom, a student asked Gideon Bill Sandel from Florida, “How do I know what a pastor tells me is true?” Bill was grateful for the opportunity to explain the Bible as ultimate Truth and how we know we can trust its teachings.
Dennis Perry, a Gideon from Texas, had an impactful experience at the University of Ghana. He witnessed a Gideon giving a Testament to a young man. A few minutes later the young man returned and thanked the Gideon for the Scripture. He said he had planned to go home to take his life that night. The Gideon sat down and shared the plan of salvation with the young man, who, as a result, prayed to receive Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. The young man committed to read and study the Testament and find a local church for fellowship and support.
Even during their return journey home, the Lord continued to provide the team with opportunities for sharing the hope of Christ. As six members of the team missed their connection flight out of Accra, they waited at the check-in counter where an airline employee named Ernies noticed they were Gideons. Ernies came and thanked them for the Scripture he was given the night before. After an initial conversation with Ernies about how he was engaging the Scripture, Wisconsin Gideon Titus Mathews, asked, “If you died today, where would you spend eternity?” Using John 3:3 and the verses on the back pages of the Testament, Titus shared the Gospel with Ernies. Standing in front of the airline counter, Ernies prayed to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. He signed and dated his Testament to forever remember his decision.
challenges and provisions
The Scripture event did come with its challenges, which in the end, revealed more of God’s working and provision. Samuel Frank, a Gideon from Germany, shared how he saw God work in the midst of Scripture shipment delays. “First, the shipment was diverted through Spain, which caused unforeseen delays. Next, there were problems with a broken seal in one of the 14 containers, which prevented us from being able to access the Scriptures. There was also an electricity outage that prevented the dispatch of the Scriptures. Praise the Lord for His provision as access to the Scriptures was granted just at the needed time. All of this kept us in constant prayer as we know prayer is the foundation of all of our endeavors.”
Will Ragan also saw God’s hand move as Scriptures were delayed.
“There were extraordinary difficulties getting the shipment of Scriptures through the port so we could begin the second week of distributions in Kumasi. The Scriptures were finally being offloaded in Kumasi at four depots, as we were beginning our blitz efforts on Monday. The following morning, my team was waiting at a church for a driver who was running late. Suddenly over the horizon about two miles away, an enormous fireball erupted, followed by a huge pillar of smoke. The streets erupted in panic, as no one knew what was happening. Later we found out that the gas station very close to the depot had exploded, and the ensuing fire destroyed surrounding buildings. We realized that if our driver had been on time, we would have passed directly by the gas station around the time of the explosion. Arriving at the depot by an alternate route, we found the fire had been stopped before reaching the Scriptures—God had stopped a final attempt to prevent the people of Kumasi from receiving the Gospel.”
overwhelming eternal joy
“Behind every victory of the Word of God is a victory of the prayers of God’s people. We thank and praise our awesome and wonderful God for the many victories of His Word throughout the two weeks of the blitz. We were overwhelmed with joy by the open doors to the Word of God and the response to the proclamation of the Gospel,” said Doug Vaughan.
The Gideons International is grateful to the Lord for His protection over the Gideons and Auxiliary serving in Ghana and for the life-change experienced by so many during the Scripture event.