“While it seemed like things were always coming against us, I believe this was one of the most important Scripture blitzes we have put on.” These words from the blitz team leader, Tor, affirm the value of the unique opportunities God provides through the New York City Scripture Blitz. In late 2021, over 120 Gideons and Auxiliary from 15 states joined efforts to engage the people of New York City by sharing the hope of the Gospel and placing and distributing copies of God’s Word.
Over the course of a week, Gideons and Auxiliary gifted approximately 55,000 Scriptures to first responders and correctional officers, staff and residents at safe homes and shelters, students at schools and colleges, and staff and patients at hospitals and nursing homes. The people in these unique locations now have a Scripture to turn to during what could be some of their most challenging moments in life. The blitz team also hosted an event for pastors to thank them and encourage them in their calling to reach people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The power of God’s word
The following testimonies from blitz participants are just a few examples of how God moved during the week:
A Spiritual Birthday
On Sunday, September 19, 2021, after my assigned church service in Queens, New York, I returned to the hotel near LaGuardia airport to help conduct personal witnessing training. We then took teams out into the Times Square area—two brothers on my team from South Carolina joined me. We began to prayerfully walk through Times Square, engaging people and sharing Christ with them. One of the brothers went ahead of me about a half block and gave out some Personal Workers Testaments with a word of witness. As I walked up the block in the middle of Times Square, I noticed a man reading a Testament. As I passed by, I encouraged him and exclaimed, “That’s the Word of God!” He smiled and said that he agreed that it was God’s Word. In that instant, God prompted me to stop and further discuss with him. In a moment of boldness, I asked him, “God forbid, if something happened to you today, would you go to Heaven? On a scale of 1 to 100, how confident are you?” He responded, “Zero.”
Stunned, I looked at him and stated that there must be a reason why it was zero. He replied it was because he had never received Jesus as his Lord and Savior. I mentioned that there must have been something getting in the way of him receiving Christ. He paused as his eyes wandered, deep in thought. Instead of digging further, I replied, “Well, is there any reason why you wouldn’t pray to receive Christ now?” He said no and acknowledged his desire to accept Jesus. I told him I could lead him in prayer but that it must be sincere between him and God. He agreed, and right there, in the middle of Times Square, Clifton confessed his sins and prayed to receive Jesus Christ! After the prayer, we celebrated, and I encouraged him to sign and date the back of the Testament, acknowledging the beautiful moment he received Christ. As he signed and then began to write the date, I mentioned that it was September 19th. He replied that I didn’t need to tell him the date; he already knew because it was his birthday. In awe, I shared with Clifton that it was now his spiritual birthday and that receiving Christ was the best birthday gift.
Not an Accident
On Monday of the blitz, I was assigned to make distributions to middle school, high school, and college students in the Bronx. In the afternoon, my wife and I were giving out Testaments to students on a public sidewalk, and by God’s grace, many students were accepting them. During a slight lull in passersby, my wife noticed a student on the other side of the sidewalk and asked if I had given him one. I looked at the student and couldn’t remember, so I walked up to him to be sure. I offered him a Testament, and he accepted it. We had a few moments, so I showed him the Helps section in the front and the plan of salvation in the back. He shared that his name was Joshua and was receptive, so I asked him if he was saved. He was unsure, so I encouraged him and shared the Gospel with him.
Joshua responded by praying to receive Jesus Christ and then signed and dated the back of the Testament. I was thrilled for him! Before I could walk away, he began to share more with me. He nervously shared that only a few months ago, he was having suicidal thoughts. As he stuttered, he told me it was hard for him, especially since all his friends were atheists. He decided to try going to church at his lowest point, which he had only attended for the last few weeks. He then told me, “I believe it wasn’t on accident you are standing in front of me.” My eyes began to tear up. I told him God knew his heart and that God had put me there in that moment to convey how much God loved him. I shared a few more Scripture verses with him, and he noted them so he could read further. Lastly, I encouraged Joshua to show the pastor of his church the back of the Testament so the pastor could celebrate with him.
“I believe it wasn’t on accident you are standing in front of me.”
God’s Law Convicts
While witnessing in Times Square, I met Tangelo and Andrew sitting on some steps. I handed them each a Personal Workers Testament and shared the Helps in the front of the Testament and the salvation pages in the back. This prompted me to ask if they thought they would go to Heaven. The young men said they would because of their good works. I replied that God had a test to see if they were good enough, and I told them it was the Ten Commandments.
I asked if they had ever stolen anything, and they said yes. “What does that make you?” Tangelo answered, “A sinner.” I said, “Yes, but more specifically, a thief.” They agreed. I asked if they had ever told a lie, and they both said yes. I asked what that made them, and they both said a liar. I told them that Jesus said looking on a woman with lust was the same as committing adultery. I asked if they had ever looked on a woman with lust. They both said yes. I explained they had already broken three commandments; did they think God would let them into Heaven? They said no.
I then told them about God providing a way for redemption again by using the verses in the back of the Testament. I asked Tangelo to read Romans 6:23. I explained to them the wages of sin is death and how this separates us from Christ. But God provided the gift of eternal life if we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. Next, I had Tangelo read Romans 10:13. I asked him if he had ever called on the name of the Lord before. He said no, and Andrew shook his head no. I asked if they wanted to do that now, and they both said yes. They both accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior! Please pray for Tangelo and Andrew as they discover God’s purpose for their lives.
until he comes again
Tor concludes, “I am always amazed at what God accomplishes through His people.” The opportunity to be used by God for His glory is a driving factor for Gideons and Auxiliary worldwide. May we faithfully continue pursuing our calling to win people to Jesus Christ until He comes again.