The Power of the Word
“We’re going to worship Satan now. You should leave if you’re not interested in participating.”
Those were the words Roy Pate heard at 3:00 a.m. in a hotel in Saginaw, Michigan. At the time, he was studying to become a professional musician and was invited with a friend to network at a famous band’s after-party. The man who made this statement proceeded to pull out a book called The Book of Satanic Worship. “I didn’t even know such a thing existed,” Roy recalls.
He decided to excuse himself from the room. No one else left, not even his friend.
Unexpected New Friends
Roy went downstairs to the hotel lobby, where he found a Gideon-placed Bible. He sat down and looked through the Helps in the front of the Bible, desperate to find something. When nothing on the list spoke to his specific situation, he decided to start reading. To this day, Roy doesn’t know the specific Scriptures he read, but he kept reading until he fell asleep.
“To this day, Roy doesn’t know the specific Scriptures he read, but he kept reading until he fell asleep.”
He woke up the next morning in the middle of the hotel lobby. Roy saw a conference room across from him where eight or ten men all had their heads bowed. He knew they were praying. He didn’t know how they would receive him, but after the night before, he had to talk to someone. He barged into the room with no knock or polite request to enter—he simply walked in.
“What are you guys doing here?” Roy asked. He expected them to call security and have him escorted from the room. Instead, they explained that they were members of The Gideons International and were having their morning prayer meeting.
One man asked if Roy was a believer. “I told him I wasn’t, but I was interested in learning more about Jesus,” remembers Roy. Just like that, the man reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a little book. He handed Roy a Testament and told him to open it to the back page. The Gideon told Roy that God loved him and asked him to read the Scriptures listed under that statement. “He had me read them for myself, rather than simply telling them to me,” Roy recalls. He read Romans 5:8 about God proving His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Jesus freely died for mankind. These words were good news to Roy, especially after the experience he’d had the night before.
Then the Gideon had him read Romans 3:10, which states, “None is righteous, no, not one.” (ESV) That verse struck a chord with Roy. He knew he wasn’t righteous. He knew the kind of person he was and what kind of life he had lived. “Even though I always thought I was a halfway decent person, I certainly wasn’t righteous. Yet, Christ died for me,” Roy admits. This man went on to tell him the remedy for sin was Christ, who died for our sins and was buried and raised on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3–4). He told Roy he could be saved and accept Christ into his life. He had him read one more verse—Romans 10:13. Roy learned everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
Roy vividly remembers what happened next. He recalls:
“I ended up on my knees with tears in my eyes beside that Gideon. The others in the room joined us in prayer as I accepted Christ. Jesus came into my life, and I was reborn. We opened to the back of that Testament again, and I signed my name. There’s no way to describe how great God is!”
In Just the Right Place
The road was difficult for Roy in the days ahead. The first thing that happened to Roy after he gave his life to the Lord was him getting arrested. He and his friend had left the hotel only to have his car break down on the way home. Angry and frustrated, Roy got out of the car. He was a new Christian, and he didn’t know how to handle this situation. He started crying out, “God, please help me.” Soon, the police arrived and charged him with disturbing the peace. Since no one could bail him out, he spent three days in jail. However, he found God—again, in a Gideon-placed Bible in the jail. Roy spent three days in jail immersed in God’s Word.
Over the next few months, he read the entire Bible. He finally understood the Gospel and the need to proclaim it. He began to declare that Christ is Lord, who rose from the grave and conquered death. People around him thought he was mentally disturbed. They called the police and had him institutionalized for psychiatric evaluation. “I would answer every one of the psychiatrist’s questions the same way—I believe in the Lord. That’s what it amounts to,” says Roy.
“However, he found God—again, in a Gideon-placed Bible in the jail. Roy spent three days in jail immersed in God’s Word.”
While he was there, another patient started going into a rage over something. It terrified him and everyone else around them. Luckily, there was a Bible from The Gideons in that facility, too. Roy opened God’s Word and began reading aloud from the Book of Psalms. As he read, the raging man grew calm. Roy learned in that moment how the Word of God makes a difference in people’s lives.
Today, Roy is a Gideon. He knows the work of fellow members in the Association is significant. How does he know this? Because in some of the toughest moments in his life, God used faithful Gideons to minister to him. “I am passionate about what we do as Gideons. We need to trust and have faith in God and His ability to continue helping us spread His Word.” This work changes lives—Roy Pate is one of them.