When plans change, our response often reveals where we place our hope. As believers, we can run towards God and His sovereign guidance, or we can take off in the opposite direction out of fear. David encourages us in Psalm 37:5, which says, “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.”
In a typical year, Gideons and Auxiliary carry out many Scripture distributions worldwide, which is one of the ways we accomplish our mission of winning people to Jesus Christ. These distributions allow for men, women, boys, and girls to receive a free copy of God’s Word and for the Gospel to be shared at approved locations. For a team of Gideons and Auxiliary in Douala, Cameroon, the effects of COVID-19 caused them to make decisions about a particular distribution that required strong faith and trust in God amid their own impossible.
A PRAYER-FILLED RESPONSE
Several Gideons from other countries had plans to travel to Cameroon and assist local Gideons and Auxiliary with a focused distribution effort called an international Scripture blitz. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, they were unable to travel. The team in Cameroon saw two options—cancel the blitz altogether or see how God was at work in other ways. Through the coaching of a Gideon leader named Simon, they felt led to carry on with the original plans, using only Gideons and Auxiliary from Douala and surrounding areas such as Yaounde, Bafang, Nkongsamba, Bafia, Limbe, Buea, and Kribi for an in-country blitz. “Counting on God’s grace, we committed ourselves to His marvelous plans,” recalls Dr. Saleu, a Gideon in Cameroon.
One month before the scheduled blitz began, some of the Auxiliary began what they called “chain-praying.” Knowing that the city of Douala is filled with many false religions, they knew this blitz was a spiritual task. The team also prayed for the physical and spiritual strength of team members, for all teachers and students at the schools they would visit, and for the Lord’s leading and guidance above all.
“Counting on God’s grace, we committed ourselves to His marvelous plans.” —Dr. Saleu
FROM IMPOSSIBLE TO THRIVING
Five days of planned distributions commenced on November 15, 2020, according to the original plans—ten areas of distribution per day with a goal of reaching 50,000 people per day. God moved in incredible ways. As Simon remembers, “We were able to go to every school in Douala and saw the Lord at work.” And that is just what happened…God opened doors in the midst of difficulty.
While Gideons and Auxiliary had access to visit all of the schools, some headmasters would not allow classroom distributions. Another instance involved a Gideon being in an accident with a motorbike. He was severely wounded with fractures, but these hardships did not stop the Lord’s favor or the mission from continuing. For the duration of the blitz, the team began each day with fervent prayer at 8:00 a.m. and completed distributions until 6:00 p.m. When one Gideon or Auxiliary got sick, God provided another member to take their place.
By the end of the week, God used over 80 Gideons and Auxiliary to reach more than 259,000 people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ in schools, colleges, universities, and prisons. What started as a seemingly impossible task turned into thriving ministry. Gideons and Auxiliary ended the week together by praying for and encouraging local pastors. These interactions are especially meaningful as The Gideons International has always functioned as an extended arm of the local church. Eighteen pastors welcomed Gideons to share with their congregations how God is at work through The Gideons.
It’s incredible what can happen when believers sense the Holy Spirit’s presence and act in faith. “We give thanks to God for this wonderful work that has been effective because of the prayer support at all levels. Really, with God, nothing is impossible. To Him be the glory,” said Dr. Saleu.
By the end of the week, God used over 80 Gideons and Auxiliary to reach more than 259,000 people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ in schools, colleges, universities, and prisons. What started as a seemingly impossible task turned into thriving ministry.
Ministry Behind Bars
With the highest population of incarcerated men and women of any country, Gideons and Auxiliary across the United States work to take the Word of God to inmates.