Jesus calls all believers to be His hands and feet—to live sent. This principle, which echoes Jesus’ words in John 17:18, describes the spiritual urgency that drove a team of Gideons and Auxiliary to serve the people of Hermosillo, Mexico, earlier this year.
Hermosillo is located in the northwestern part of the state of Sonora and is a large metropolitan area with close to one million residents. Most people consider the area to be affluent—mainly due to a large, successful automobile plant. Hermosillo is also one of the hottest cities in the country as it has a desert-like atmosphere. The team found the mornings to be a little chilly and the afternoons to be relatively warm. In the evenings, the city lights filled the night skies.
Spiritual Preparation Leads to Fruit
The team found there were already solid connections formed with local business leaders in schools, hospitals, police stations, and hotels. Michael, a Gideon from Ohio, was in the hotel lobby excited and ready for God to use him to reach people for Jesus. He had no idea what was about to unfold next. As he sat in the lobby waiting for his local team to arrive, he noticed a hotel employee who had just finished cleaning the floor close to the front desk. When he approached her with a Spanish Testament and tried to explain what it was, she could not understand him. Much to his relief, a young Spanish gentleman saw his dilemma and came over to help. He was bilingual and translated for Michael as he shared the Helps section and the Gospel message. They discussed her beliefs. She believed in God but had never surrendered her life to Him. Michael led her in prayer to ask for God’s love, forgiveness, and salvation. After she finished praying and signing the back of her Testament, the young man translating asked if he could sign his because he had prayed the same prayer. God was not done yet. The desk clerk had overheard them talking, and he wanted a Testament as well. He asked Michael to lead him in prayer. Michael was overwhelmed, “In my first 15 minutes, God had provided me with an interpreter and then welcomed three new Christians to His fold.”
The local Gideons in Hermosillo also took advantage of the excellent working relationship with school administrations. In this area, they only have access to Christian schools; the rest of the distributions are done on sidewalks, much like other parts of North America. Chuck, a Gideon from Florida, recalls an experience with a security guard at a school gate. The man was fluent in English and lived in the United States as a young child. “We spoke for about a half-hour, as this young man poured his heart out to me. Christian was struggling to turn from his sinful desires. He knew who Jesus was, but he didn’t ‘know’ Jesus,” remembers Chuck. “He now knows Jesus more intimately and has committed to follow Him.”
“We spoke for about a half-hour, as this young man poured his heart out to me. Christian was struggling to turn from his sinful desires. He knew who Jesus was, but he didn’t ‘know’ Jesus.”
Mitch, a Gideon from Arizona, had the pleasure of being on the sidewalk just outside a school entrance. Local Gideons and Auxiliary joined him. Together, they met a young lady, Alejandra, who looked sad when she was offered a Testament. She began asking questions in Spanish. Mitch knew Erika, one of the Auxiliary close by, was fluent in Spanish. Erika introduced Alejandra to Jesus and explained to her the only way to new life. The next few minutes, as Mitch and the team silently prayed, Alejandra chose to follow Jesus. “All of us were teary-eyed as we watched Alejandra walk off to class,” remembers Mitch.
While Gideons distributed Scriptures at a middle school, three boys joyfully received a Testament as all of them held their new gift to their nose to smell the little blue book. One of the students was a Christian. He said, “It’s new,” with an excited voice. Another one of the young boys explained to his friends, “When you go to church, read the Psalms…” He then explained to them about Jesus. The third boy had never seen a copy of God’s Word. This was the first time that he held a Testament in his hands.
God continued to move at other middle schools. One boy was already inside the school when Gideons began the distribution. When he realized that the Gideons were giving out free Testaments to the other students, he went back outside and called out, “Sir, can you give me a Bible?” The Gideon went to give him a copy of God’s Word, and the boy said, “Please wait, I want to call my friends; they also need one!” Then another six students came to receive a Testament. The Gideons were blessed to see boys and girls so hungry for the Word of God.
Planting, watering, reaping
Gideons also found access and open doors at local universities. Bill, a Gideon from Texas, was used by God to share the plan of salvation with a University of Sonora student, even though he did not speak Spanish. Bill saw the Holy Spirit move through the Word in the form of a Spanish Testament that the student understood. “This is the greatest Scripture distribution experience I’ve had since becoming a Gideon nearly 20 years ago. The Spirit of God moved, and I have never experienced this kind of tremendous desire to share God’s Word as I did this week,” he says.
Dr. Bill Bryant, a Gideon from Kansas, had the opportunity to meet a young university student named David, who approached him and showed him he already had a Testament one of the other Gideons had given to him. He spoke broken English, and Bill was able to discuss the contents of the Testament. Bill learned David went to church on various occasions. “As we walked through the plan of salvation, David appeared to lack confidence in where he would spend eternity. We talked and prayed together, and at the end of our time, David willingly signed and dated his Testament. What another sweet example of one planting the seed, another watering it, and God reaping His harvest,” said Bill.
For His Renown
The Gideons stayed sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading throughout the week—this act of obedience led to more than 94,000 people being reached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Spirit of God continued to move, even as the team traveled home. One of the Gideons encountered Heidi, an airport employee, in the Phoenix airport. After speaking with Heidi, she told him she “thought” she may be going to Heaven but now, through his witness, “knows for certain” she will spend eternity with her Heavenly Father.
The team visited over 100 schools, more than 25 universities, 30 hotels, and 15 hospitals. Why? Because Jesus calls us to go—to live sent for His name, renown, and glory.