18,000 Youth Testaments Received

Today, the Gideons International in the British Isles received a gift of 18,000 copies of the New Testament and Psalms from the Gideons International in Switzerland. The pallets were so large and heavy that they could not be unloaded from the delivery vehicle intact and most of the boxes had to be removed by hand and wheel barrowed  to the storage area. These testaments are mainly destined for Year 7 students in schools across the UK. 

We thank God for the gift from our brothers in Switzerland and pray that the Lord will find a welcoming home for every single copy. 

Bringing Hope to Ukraine

“Today is the 47th day of the war, the day on which we are still together, grateful to God that we are still alive and blessed by Him!” This expression from a Ukrainian Gideon in mid-April echoes the hearts of more than 2,100 Gideons and Auxiliary in Ukraine. Nearly three months have passed since the Russian invasion. An estimated 14 million people have fled their homes seeking stability in Western Ukraine and neighboring countries.

Armed with the Gospel

This isn’t the first time Gideons have experienced war. We presented Testaments to the United States military during the Second World War under the motto: Arm them with the Gospel, too! In 1941, Gideons put Service Testaments into the hands of sailors just five days before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Half a century later, Gideons were at the Gulf War distributing over one million Service Testaments by the end of the conflict. Then there were political and social wars in Rwanda, the Congo, and Kosovo. Following the catastrophic events of September 11, 2001, the safety of many Americans was replaced with anxiousness and fear.

However, the spirit of the Association continues moving forward in faith and trusting that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1 ESV) For over 120 years, God has faithfully opened doors for His Word to be shared. It’s the heartbeat of The Gideons International—to help people discover lasting hope found only in Jesus Christ.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” —Psalm 46:1 ESV

United by a Common Purpose

Gideons and Auxiliary in Western Ukraine and bordering areas are assisting with the practical needs of refugees. Many members have opened their homes, and God is giving them opportunities to share the hope of the Gospel. One field representative is housing 22 people. Each night, he holds a prayer meeting with fellow Gideons, Auxiliary, and non-believing neighbors.

“On the very first evening, our neighbors and relatives knelt and began to ask God for forgiveness and cry. The daughter of our neighbor wept and regretted she had not come to God for so long. Tears of repentance flowed down her cheeks, the heaviness fell from her heart, and relief came,” he said. “Our guests received Scriptures from The Gideons—the saving Good News of Jesus Christ. The time has come when people have to stop and think about what awaits them in eternity.”

Gideons in Russia and Ukraine are staying in touch and encouraging each other as united family in Christ. The associate national director for The Gideons in Russia expressed the following to Gideons in Ukraine:

It is difficult for us to understand the pain that you are experiencing. But we pray for you all the time. I believe that our Lord has everything under His control and will not allow testing beyond our strength. I believe that under these conditions, your testimony and preaching of the Gospel will grow. We must become a response to the spiritual demand of people who find themselves in these difficult circumstances.

Ukrainian Gideons and Auxiliary have shared 300,000 Testaments with people who have fled to remote parts of the country. An additional 200,000 are being printed amidst a limited supply chain and transportation routes closed due to the vast destruction in many parts of Eastern Ukraine. Such challenges do not stop members from fulfilling their ministry. They know God has uniquely positioned them in these circumstances to point people to Him, to bring the light of His Word into their darkest hours.

“We must become a response to the spiritual demand of people who find themselves in these difficult circumstances.”

Even more Scriptures are needed for refugees seeking comfort and hope. Association leaders in Ukraine and surrounding countries are working diligently to get additional Scriptures ordered, printed, and delivered to members. As B. Don Johnson, former international president of The Gideons, stated in 1950, “Satan knows his time is short. We, as Gideons and Auxiliary, also have the understanding that our time is short on what we can do for the Lord.”

Prepared for Tomorrow

Despite all the horrors of the situation, the people of Ukraine are gratefully accepting any help and are very open to hearing the saving message of the Lord. “People thanked us, cried, and kissed God’s Word, seeing that it is in their native Ukrainian language. Now in Ukraine, more than ever, there is fertile ground for witnessing about God, about His saving love,” said one Ukrainian Gideon. Continue praying for peace and for many to come to faith in Jesus Christ.

Gideons and Auxiliary in Ukraine are grateful for the ongoing support of believers worldwide. Consider the challenge given in 1945 by former Gideon Charles Pietsch, “The question before all of us today is not about what was done in the past, but what will be done in the future. There are still spiritual battles to fight and wars to be won.”

May we remain confident in the hope of eternity and our calling to stay in the trenches.

Partners in THE Truth

The Bible is God’s most complete and reliable revelation. Its pages show us who God is, His excellent plan for salvation, and how we should live in response to Him. Those who read God’s Word and adjust their lives to Its truth are living on a solid rock that will withstand the storms of life—but only if they understand it correctly.

Throughout his early years, Kent Edwards was surrounded by Christian influence. Yet, it wasn’t until he learned the importance of comparing what religious people were teaching with the truth of God’s Word that he discovered God’s purpose for his life.

The Search for Something more

Kent Edwards was born in Toronto, Canada, into a Christian home with three siblings. His parents were thoroughly evangelical and sat under the ministries of A.W. Tozer and Charles Templeton. Kent surrendered his life to Jesus Christ at The People’s Church in Toronto at twelve years old.

Before his high school years began, his mother became dissatisfied with the religious status quo and grew interested in “finding something more.” This led her to an exciting, widely endorsed, supposedly evangelical organization that Kent would later learn was twisting Scripture.

After his junior year of high school, Kent’s parents encouraged him to spend the summer at the organization, during which time their influence grew, and he considered joining the organization. “It was the kind of thing that drew you in, and before long, you felt like there was no way out,” remembers Kent.

However, he returned for his senior year by God’s grace and began leading the InterVarsity chapter in his high school alongside his future wife, Nola. Being godly and wise laypeople, her parents began to ask simple, penetrating questions about the organization his parents were involved in. They were questions he could not answer.

At the end of Kent’s senior year, his future mother-in-law, who had been listening to the devotionals he had been giving at the InterVarsity meetings, said, “Have you ever thought of going to Bible school? I think I hear gift.” Kent was blown away. “Hearing these words completely changed my life,” he says.

Have you ever thought of going to Bible school? I think I hear gift.

Scars Teach Important Lessons

The seventh chapter of Matthew teaches us to “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” (Matthew 7:15) Kent took this advice, changed direction, and enrolled at a Bible college. He started to understand how to interpret the Bible accurately. What he found stunned him and changed his perspective. Not only did he discover his parent’s group was twisting Scripture for their own purposes, but also the dangerous consequences of doing so.

“Sometimes, God uses scars to teach us important lessons,” he says. His eye-witness experience of the terrible consequences of people misusing God’s Word gave Kent a passion for accurately communicating Scripture. He knows that the only source of truth, the only book we can trust our souls to, is God’s Word—a truth that is near and dear to the heart of Gideons and Auxiliary.

“The only way I can protect God’s people from false prophets is to teach leaders in the Church how to understand and effectively communicate the Bible.” Kent’s love for studying Scripture has led him to over 25 years of serving in pastoral ministry (both pastoring and church planting), gaining three theological degrees and a Ph.D. in intercultural education.

“Sometimes, God uses scars to teach us important lessons.”

It’s also the reason he founded CrossTalk Global—a non-profit ministry that seeks to “equip Biblical communicators, so every culture hears God’s voice.” When talking about CrossTalk Global’s purpose, Kent reminds people that an estimated 95% of Christian workers have no formal training—“This is why we do what we do,” he says.

In 2000, Kent was asked to serve on the faculty of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Boston, Massachusetts, where he worked with Dr. Haddon Robinson. In 2004, he and his family moved to Biola University’s Talbot School of Theology on the West coast, where Kent currently serves as a tenured professor of preaching and leadership. Alongside him and Nola are their two children, Nathan and Jonathan.

A shared Passion

 Dr. J. Kent Edwards

Kent’s purpose remains consistent—“to change people’s lives with the Word of God and help others do the same.” A similar passion exists with Gideons and Auxiliary worldwide.

When Kent sees the Gideon emblem, the first thing that comes to mind is the word partner. He says, “God calls all believers to minister in different ways. Some people translate the Bible, others place that Bible in someone’s hands, while others are skilled at helping people understand what the Bible teaches. We all play a part in the Kingdom of God.” He continues, “The most significant thing we can do to impact our world today is getting the Word in people’s hands and heads.”

“The most significant thing we can do to impact our world is the getting the Word in people’s hands and heart.”

A Request for a Young Offender

At Gideons International, here in the United Kingdom, we recently had contact from someone stating:

My son was recently in a young offender’s prison in Scotland. Whilst inside he found the Gideon Bible in his cell … and read it. He particularly enjoyed the “where to find help if…”

We are Christians but our son has never accepted Jesus as Saviour yet … he is constantly in trouble and makes wrong decisions .. Please could I buy a Gideon Bible  for him?

It is messages like this that are a real encouragement to us and we hope that it is an encouragement to you too – wherever you are in life.

Pursuing the Good Work

In John 15:5, Jesus taught, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” The truth of this verse of Scripture was powerfully revealed in the life of each team member who participated in the 2021 Côte d’Ivoire International Scripture Blitz.

Through abiding in Christ each day, the hearts of the men assigned to this blitz were woven tightly together by the first day in Bouaké. Located in West Africa, this city of approximately 850,000 people was the focus of the blitz team. Interestingly, forty-two percent of the 27 million people in Côte d’Ivoire are under the age of 15, making it an incredible place to reach young people with the Gospel. The international team partnered with the four camps in Bouaké. As team leader,  David, said, “It was a joy to work with the local Gideons and Auxiliary who love the work of this ministry.”

Just the Beginning

God provided amazing opportunities for Gospel conversations during the week. One blitz participant shared, “These salvations and testimonies are just the tip of the iceberg; some of the ones that we could see. I am confident there are more yet to come that we’ll never see until we arrive in Heaven.”

Two Gideons with students at a high school in Côte d’Ivoire

At one high school, the students came in waves as classes were beginning and ending. Gideons from the United States and Côte d’Ivoire handed them French Testaments quickly as they passed. In between waves, there was downtime. Seeing a group of students gathered in the shade of a tree, one Gideon named Jim urged two others to join him in witnessing to those students. With the help of a local Gideon translating, Jim asked the students to show him their Testaments and to “please read from this book every day.” He knew it would give them wisdom from God. “Follow what you read, and you will become a spiritual champion,” he encouraged them.

“These salvations and testimonies are just the tip of the iceberg; some of the ones that we could see. I am confident there are more yet to come that we’ll never see until we arrive in Heaven.” —Jim

After having them turn to the last two pages in their Testaments, Jim had some of the students read the verses until they came to the point of decision. A student read the prayer on the last page aloud. Pointing to himself, Jim said, “I have sinned.” Pointing to them, he asked if they had sinned. Several nodded yes. “The consequence of sin upon death is an eternity in hell. But there’s good news: Christ died on the cross to assume the punishment for our – your – sins,” he told them. He then asked all the students to consider the prayer carefully and then join in praying in unison. “I wish you could have heard the beautiful sound of their voices.” When he asked who prayed that prayer, 22 hands were raised. Jim had time to answer a couple of the students’ questions before leaving to resume handing out copies of God’s Word to the next wave of students.

Gideon Teddy shares with students using a Testament

Teddy, a Gideon from Kentucky, had the opportunity to share with boys ranging in age from 10-15 years old at a local school in Bouaké. One of the boys came to him speaking French, and Teddy asked him if he spoke English. He smiled and said, “Yes.” Teddy asked him if he was a Christian, and he said, “No.” Teddy then felt led to ask him if he knew what would happen to him if he died. At that time, a younger boy walked up very interested in their conversation, followed by another young man. Teddy started going through the plan of salvation, and all three boys accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and indicated their decision by signing their names in the back of their Testaments.

David, a Gideon from North Carolina, witnessed hundreds of children receiving Testaments as they passed through the school gate. As the crowd thinned, he handed a Testament to a young man who replied, “Thank you.” When David asked him if he spoke English, he said, “A little.” David then asked if he knew Jesus. The young man paused and said he wasn’t sure. David explained the plan of salvation in the back of the Testament, asking the young man to read the verses. When they finished, he asked if he would like to ask Jesus to come into his life and give him eternal life. Praise God, he said yes and prayed to receive Jesus as his Lord and Savior.

Why We Do What We Do

This was the first international Scripture blitz for Ron, a Gideon from Oklahoma. “What a blessing it was to be a part of God’s work—several salvations were witnessed by the team. To plant the seed of the Gospel and see students’ faces as they took a Scripture from me and others was humbling. They listened intently as we repeatedly went classroom by classroom telling them about Jesus,” said Ron. “I also enjoyed meeting and working alongside the Gideons and Auxiliary in Côte d’Ivoire, many of whom I will remember for years to come.”

Russell greets students and staff at a secondary school in Côte d’Ivoire

One afternoon, two teams headed out to a large public secondary school. When they arrived, several of the local Gideons had gotten there ahead of them and started distributing Testaments at the main entrance. One of the local Gideons then asked Terry, a Gideon from Missouri and Russell, a Gideon from Indiana, to go across campus to the back gate and help with distributions at that location. As they walked across the campus, Terry saw one of the local Gideons enclosed by many students as he was handing out Testaments. They quickly walked over to the boxes, grabbed a large handful, and started distributing. “Several students quickly surrounded me, and all I could see was a sea of empty hands reaching out for their very own copy of God’s Word. As I stood there, the Holy Spirit impressed on me that this is why we do what we do,” said Terry.

The blitz certainly stretched Russell. Fatigue set in early, but he remembered the words of John 15:5—“for apart from me you can do nothing.” He knows every student represents a person who does not have to spend eternity without God. “Something that will forever stay with me is the beautiful faces of the students who received the Testaments. When I would hold up a copy of God’s Word, several hands would grasp for it. Several students signed their names in the back of the Testaments, indicating they had received Jesus Christ as Savior,” he recalls.

Another impactful memory for Russell was the image of one of the estimated 74 firefighters in formation as they presented each person with a Testament. After receiving them, the firefighters resumed their posture looking straight ahead, but one stood with his head focused downward as he read his Testament for an extended time.

“I also enjoyed meeting and working alongside the Gideons and Auxiliary in Côte d’Ivoire, many of whom I will remember for years to come.” —Ron

I Have Set Before You

Each day, physical strength was needed in the prevailing hot and dry climate. Interpreters made the ministry work possible and enjoyable throughout the week. Pastors and church leaders welcomed the team and encouraged their congregations to give and pray for the work of the Association. By week’s end, Gideons and Auxiliary participating in the blitz had hearts overflowing with gratitude to God for the incredible privilege to see His hand so clearly at work in Bouaké, Côte d’Ivoire.

Students hold up Scriptures they received during the blitz

A goal of 100,000 Scriptures was established for the blitz. The local Gideons and Auxiliary compiled a survey listing distribution opportunities in advance of the blitz week. This survey included a large university where it was planned for 30,000 Scriptures to be distributed. However, early in the week, they found out the staff at the university had called a strike, which canceled classes. It appeared the distribution goal would be significantly impacted without this large college distribution. However, God opened doors in 124 schools and nine colleges leading to more than 132,000 students accepting a copy of His Word. Several school administrators opened their school doors and, in most schools, the classrooms for a brief presentation of the Gospel. The blitz team leader concluded, “I could not help but think of Revelation 3:8, which reads, ‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.’”

Along with distributions at schools and universities, members had opportunities to share God’s Word at a local hospital, 52 medical facilities and clinics, 17 hotels, two prisons, and seven police and fire stations. Praise God for the open doors He provided for His Word to go forth. Continue praying for the many students and adults who made decisions for Christ, for without Him, they can do nothing.

Why I’m a Gideon: Danny Woolman

The Gideons International is an Association of Christian business and professional men and their wives who seek to win others to Christ through associating together for service, personal work and testimony, and placing and distributing Scriptures.

As Men of God who pursue Christ-centered integrity, Gideons build mentoring relationships with one another. Through membership in The Gideons for over 25 years, Danny Woolman has experienced the blessing of being mentored by leaders in this ministry, and he has extended the blessing by mentoring others while striving side by side for the faith of the Gospel.

Danny and his wife, Shanda, are members of First Baptist Church in Frostproof, Florida. They have three grown children: Amanda, Chase, and their oldest, Heath, who was recently appointed as chief of staff for the president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Their seventh grandchild was born in December 2021 to their daughter, Amanda.

Danny joined The Gideons in 1995 after being invited to a new member event. The table host who signed Danny up at that meeting 27 years ago was a Gideon named Guy Sanders. Danny and Guy were actually members at the same church.

Using God-Given Talents to Help Build God’s Kingdom

Guy mentored Danny in the various responsibilities of leading a camp. “The neat thing was, Guy didn’t just tell us what we were supposed to do. He also told us the ‘why’ behind what we were doing.” That kind of relationship helped Danny to grow in his service and impact.

Guy emphasized to Danny that the promise of Isaiah 55:11 is key to keep in mind when doing the work of the ministry. Knowing that God’s Word “will not return void” is an encouraging reminder that the copies of God’s Word shared by Gideons have purpose, which God ultimately honors in His own way.

Today, Danny mentors other Gideons who serve with him in the Lake Wales Camp in Florida. He has recently been mentoring a retired dentist, training him to set up the GideonCard displays in churches and keep them stocked.

Danny has spent his career in sales. Serving in The Gideons, he has leveraged opportunities to further develop his God-given talent of communication to be a church speaker, sharing the story of The Gideons with church congregations who partner with the Association. “While I always communicate the key points, I speak from my heart.” He says sharing testimonies of lives changed as a result of the ministry of The Gideons always brings a tear of joy to his eyes.

Gideons also go into their communities sharing God’s Word and giving witness to Its truths. Danny has helped get God’s Word placed in hotels and jails, as well as distributed Scriptures on school sidewalks.

He recalls one instance when he was a guest at a hotel in Venice, Florida. There wasn’t a Bible in his suite, so he let the hotel manager know he could help them get Scriptures through The Gideons. While the manager was grateful for his offer, she responded, “We don’t have Bibles because people steal them and we have to pay to replace them.”

Danny responded, “No, ma’am. You don’t have to pay to replace them. In fact, hotels don’t pay for them in the first place. Bibles are placed by The Gideons at no charge to the hotel. And if they are stolen by guests, Gideons simply replace them at no charge, as well.” The manager was delighted to hear this news and accepted the offer.

Danny reached out to a local camp to let them know they could place Bibles at the hotel. The camp officer he contacted was astonished. “Praise God. We’ve been praying for that opportunity as that is the only local hotel we’ve not been able to get into with Scriptures.”

The memory stirs Danny’s heart to this day. It showed him how the Lord can move through circumstances to open doors that seem permanently shut. “It truly was a work of the Holy Spirit.”

Danny is both humbled and inspired by the passion he sees other Gideons demonstrate in serving the Lord. Being around other Gideons also helped Danny become bold in personal witnessing. He frequently shares copies of God’s Word along with a personal word of witness as he encounters others in his work and travels.

Being around other Gideons also helped Danny become bold in personal witnessing.

An Invitation to tour the History of The Gideons

Recently, Danny received a call from the International Headquarters of The Gideons. The timing of the call was providential—it turned out Danny was preparing to leave out the next day for Nashville, Tennessee, where the Headquarters is located. “International Headquarters never calls me,” he says. Only the Lord could have arranged this kind of incredible timing. The staff member invited Danny to visit the Headquarters and tour the newly opened Heritage Center while he was in town. Danny accepted the invitation.

Upon arriving at International Headquarters, Danny was greeted and personally guided through the Heritage Center by a staff member. Seeing the collection of artifacts, photographs, and other antiquities exclusive to The Gideons left a very strong impression on him.

“You feel like you’re walking through history. The way it’s laid out, it’s almost like you’re experiencing all the stories.”

In the middle of the tour, Danny came upon a multi-media exhibit that featured an image of a familiar face—it was a picture of his mentor, Guy Sanders. “It was a total joy to see Guy’s image,” says Danny. Guy had presented a Scripture to President Ronald Reagan on December 22, 1983. Seeing the image brought back many cherished memories. “I do remember Guy telling me about getting to give President Reagan a copy of God’s Word.” After Guy passed away, Danny met with his widow. She gave Danny a commemorative edition Scripture from Guy’s office library celebrating the 100th anniversary of The Gideons International.

Guy Sanders and Gideons presenting a Bible to President Ronald Reagan

“That personal tour of the Heritage Center and the rest of the Headquarters will be embedded in my memory as one of my favorite experiences as a Gideon,” says Danny.  He encourages people to schedule a tour of the center and experience what it is like to walk chronologically through the history of The Gideons, and to see actual relics from the ministry.

Danny says seeing the Heritage Center’s displays featuring key milestones of the ministry over the past decades was a reminder to him of the different milestones in his own experience as a Gideon and of the Lord’s faithfulness. “When you see how far this ministry has spread over the years, it makes you realize that God had to totally be involved.”

“As a body of believers working for the same ultimate purpose, we can all do what we can,” says Danny, reflecting on the legacy of so many Gideons. “Even if you can only occasionally attend monthly meetings or prayer breakfasts; or can only occasionally speak in a church or participate in a Scripture distribution­—we all have to do what we can. Together, we make up The Gideons and complete the Association as a whole..”

“When you see how far this ministry has spread over the years, it makes you realize that God had to totally be involved.”
—Danny Woolman

Moving Forward

Inside every human heart is the longing to find purpose and fulfillment—to be loved and known. What can take someone from living for the world to finding their true identity in Jesus Christ? A prodigal son from East Tennessee discovered this and so much more along the way.

A Prodigal Son

Steve Witt was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, and raised in a loving Christian home. He was brought up by godly, Christian parents who attended Lyons Creek Baptist Church in Strawberry Plains, Tennessee. He remembers growing up in this congregation with “Gideon Sunday” every year when a Gideon would come and share about what God was doing in the Association.

Although surrounded by godly influences, Steve was not a believer and struggled with the temptations of the world. “I really struggled with alcohol in my high school years and in college at East Tennessee State University,” remembers Steve. He describes his younger years as “having a great upbringing but ending up being a prodigal son.”

Things changed for Steve during his senior year of college. He met a young lady he worked with named Nikki; his friends dared him to ask her out on a date. She asked Steve if he was a believer. Knowing she only dated Christians, he lied and said yes. “Nikki invited me to go to church with her, and I remember the pastor making a clear and simple Gospel presentation. I truly met Christ that night, and it changed my life.”

Steve was about to graduate but did not waste any time sharing Jesus with others. He started a Bible study on the third floor of his fraternity house. In 1992, he moved to Athens, Georgia, to become a regional operations manager at a trucking company. In 1993, days after Nikki graduated from college, the couple got married. Today, they have two daughters who also love and serve Jesus.

Nikki invited me to go to church with her, and I remember the pastor making a clear and simple Gospel presentation. I truly met Christ that night, and it changed my life.

A New Calling

God moved the Witts to Spring Hill, Tennessee, in January 1996, where Steve began a new job. They joined First Baptist Church Spring Hill. It was here, for the first time, Steve sensed God was pulling him out of the transportation industry and into ministry. He became the associate pastor at this church (working especially in youth ministry), serving for the next four years.

A move to Elizabethton, Tennessee, where Steve became the senior pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church, included significant exposure to the work and ministry of The Gideons International. Steve recalls those days with love and appreciation. “Over 20 Gideons were in my congregation. These Gideons honored pastors in our area while at the same time supporting me and were a blessing to our church. They were model church members who served in several areas of our church.”

So Many People, So Little Gospel Influence

After twenty years of pastoring in various capacities, Steve found himself back in Middle Tennessee, serving at Thompson Station Church, loving where God had him and what he was doing in ministry. But then, things got personal for Steve. In October 2014, the congregation was looking at funding church planting out West. He remembers traveling to Las Vegas and meeting with a pastor/church planter named Vance Pittman. When Steve heard the words, “Over two million people will go to bed tonight in this city without the Gospel,” that wrecked him.

“By November 2014, I knew God was calling us out West to plant a church. I’m grateful Thompson Station Church became our sending church as God had clearly laid this on my heart.” The following year Steve transitioned from Middle Tennessee to the West coast and went through the North American Mission Board’s church planting assessment and training.

By the time January 2016 had arrived, Steve and his family began with a few people meeting in their home with an idea to start a church that would preach the Gospel and disciple people well. At the same time, he coached football at a local high school. In September 2016, they officially planted The Well Church, which has baptized over 30 players from that football team, plus some family members of the players.

Over two million people will go to bed tonight in this city without the Gospel.

As the congregation grew, they rented a storefront and expanded as God increased their numbers. In 2018, The Well ran over 200 people and needed a new space. Today, the congregation still meets in storefronts but is currently building its own space. It will be finished in Spring 2022. “God has blessed our church with a location that has the potential to reach many, many more people for His Kingdom, and we could not be more excited about the days ahead,” says Steve. Since 2016, the congregation has baptized over 130 new believers, and they are actively growing in their faith to make a difference throughout their community.

Keep Charging Forward

 Steve & Nikki Witt

The Well Church will have a space on their missions’ wall for The Gideons in their new building. A man named Clyde is highly active in the congregation and is also a Gideon. “Gideons like Clyde and several I had in my church in East Tennessee are such a blessing. God is using Clyde and his camp in great ways—nearly every week, he is encouraging men to join The Gideons and telling me about where they have distributed Scriptures.” Steve knows Gideons help the local church because they are active in their faith, support the church, and offer prayer and encouragement to the pastor.

Steve and Nikki have also served in the Youth Program at the International Convention of The Gideons for many years. “I love being a part of the Convention every year. It allows me another avenue to continuing to serve the next generation, which will always be a passion of mine.” Steve has also felt the love and support of Gideon families involved in the Youth Program as they planted The Well Church.

“I love the mission and impact of The Gideons and encourage Gideons and Auxiliary to keep charging forward for the Kingdom,” says Steve with joy in his heart. A once prodigal son has not only come home but has spent the last nearly three decades bringing people home with him.

Moments from the 2021 New York City Scripture Blitz

“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


Reza (left) with Clifton, who accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior during the 2021 New York City Blitz

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

Bill (left) sharing the Gospel with Tangelo and Andrew during the 2021 New York City Blitz

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.

A Changed Man

A Changed Man

Jim Boone was raised in a Christian family in a small North Carolina town known for tobacco and barbecue. His family was very active in the local Methodist church. Over the years, he had many godly Sunday school teachers speaking into my life. 

“Sir, Why Are You Giving These Things Out?”

After high school, Jim enrolled at North Carolina State University to pursue an engineering degree. “But my real focus was on surfing and partying, resulting in me growing far away from my Christian upbringing,” remembers Jim. During his senior year of college in May of 1973, he had an encounter that changed his life. One afternoon, he left his school building and came upon a group of men who had a box on the sidewalk filled with Testaments.

Several of Jim’s classmates scoffed at them. Jim had a different reaction and said, “Wait a minute, I think I want to have one of those.” He asked one of the men, “Sir, why are you giving these things out?” For the first time, he heard about The Gideons International. He took that Testament, and a few weeks later put it in his backpack as he left North Carolina hitchhiking to surf in California. Over many weeks, Jim experienced numerous lonely moments sitting around a campfire at night or on the side of the road. He would pull out that Testament and read the Helps section looking for guidance and read about God’s love for him.

“Get Out of the Water!”

Jim made it to California, bought a surfboard, and hitchhiked to many of the beaches to surf. He met two lifeguards going to Mexico, and they invited him to go with them. They traveled in a van along the coast of Mexico and many weeks later came to Playa Azul—the blue beach about 1,400 miles below the Arizona border. They surfed there, rented a cabana, and stayed for a couple of months. One day, they were out surfing beautiful 15-foot waves, which was significant for Jim. He got tired of surfing, so he went to the beach, got his underwater camera, and swam back out to take pictures of his friends. He noticed the beautiful scenery, including the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean, the cloudless sky, and the lush tropical forest that came right down to the beach edge.

Suddenly, one of his friends paddled up to him and said, “Get out of the water! We’re swimming in a school of feeding sharks.” He turned and left Jim alone in the ocean. Jim had two distinct thoughts in his mind at that moment. The first thought was: I’m about to die. He was about 200 yards from the beach, and he knew what sharks could do. Even if they didn’t eat him or tear off one of his arms, they could bite and he could bleed out before he got to the beach. They were about a mile down this lonely beach from where they had parked their van, and then it was about five miles to the nearest town. Jim knew his chances of getting to that beach alive were slim. The second thought he had was just as clear: I’m not going to heaven. “I had learned about God all my life, but I didn’t really know God,” Jim sadly recalled.

“I had learned about God all my life, but I didn’t really know God.”

“I Want to Know You”

As Jim swam for that beach, he said, “God, I realize how foolish I’ve been living. I want to know you.” Thankfully, he got to the beach. A couple of days later, he got on a bus headed back to North Carolina to see a Christian friend who was also a surfer. Jim knew he would tell him about Jesus. A couple of nights later, in the Sonoran Desert, about six Mexican army men stopped their bus at around two in the morning. Jim was led off the bus by himself, and as he looked at the bottom of the stairs, there they were with guns pointed right at him. A Mexican army officer shook his pistol at him and yelled for him to get back to the bus. He pulled Jim’s backpack off, and the men started going through it.

He pulled all the clothes out. Then, one of the soldiers pointed to the flap on his backpack and said, “Look there.” The officer reached in, and he pulled out his Testament. “Que es?” (What is this?) Jim replied, “Mi Biblia” (my Bible). The officer looked at the Scripture and smiled as he handed it back to Jim. He put his pistol back in his holster, waved his men away, and told Jim to get back on the bus. That Testament had kept him away from prison, and Jim felt it was one of the most important things he could ever own.

“Lord…Will You Save Me?”

“That night, it was as if the Lord Jesus himself stood in my bedroom,” remembers Jim. Up until that moment, he probably assumed salvation was by works. However, now he knew Jesus was the Savior, and He died not just for the sins of the world, but He also died for him. As he slid down to the floor on his knees, Jim prayed, “Lord, I’m so sorry. Will you save me?” He did not know how to pray with eloquence—he just spoke from the heart of his need for Jesus to come into his life. As he stood to his feet, he knew he was a changed man.

The Bible had new meaning every time Jim read it. Each time he went to church, he felt as if the pastor prepared each sermon just for him. He called his girlfriend and told her about Christ—Jim told her she needed to be saved. She said, “I see a change in you. Tell me what happened.” He opened the Word, and he talked to her about Jesus, and she was truly born again as a result. The couple got married a few months later and recently celebrated their 47th wedding anniversary.


A young pastor and his wife took them under their wings and discipled them, continually grounding them in the Word. Jim and his wife started serving during worship services and in other areas of the church. They worked in the nursery and as young married Sunday school teachers. Jim was a deacon and is now an elder overseeing their Sunday school and prayer ministry.


“I wish I could find that Gideon to tell him how much I appreciate him giving me that Testament,” says Jim. He is grateful for the faithfulness of Gideons in the Gospel, their love of God’s Word, and the lost. “Keep on—be faithful until the end.”

I wish I could find that Gideon to tell him how much I appreciate him giving me that Testament.

God’s Faithfulness Continues

God’s Faithfulness Continues

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from The Gideons International! God has accomplished so much this past fiscal year and beyond for His glory. We are eternally grateful for the role we play in sharing the hope of the Gospel. Join us in celebrating the following ways God has been using the ministry of The Gideons International to reach more people for Him:

Bru Language Bible Becomes the 109th Translation Approved for Gideon Use

In late 2020, the Bru translation Bible was approved for distribution by The Gideons. It is the 109th language translation of God’s Word made available for placement and distribution wherever Gideons are active in service around the world. The Bru community is one of the twenty-one tribes in the Indian states of Mizoram and Tripura—and with a population of about 600,000, they are the second-largest tribe in Tripura. Most of the Bru are poor and live in very remote areas. Although many have adopted more modern agricultural practices, they are primarily a farming community. The majority of the Bru people follow the Hindu religion. This means they are polytheists who believe in multiple gods and goddesses. Bru also observe Animism, which includes the worship of ancestors, along with fire spirits and the spirits of rice. The new Gideon-sponsored translation will help these Bru people understand that there is only one true God who deserves their worship and devotion.

A Successful Scripture Blitz in Antsirabe, Madagascar

This past January was the first time Gideons in Antsirabe, Madagascar, organized an in-country Scripture blitz. Antsirabe is a town located south of the capital city, Antananarivo. Eight Gideons, consisting of four teams of two, visited several distribution venues. The teams faced challenges due to the rainy season. At times, members had to ride motorcycles and hire a rickshaw to transport the Scriptures from location to location. These obstacles didn’t prevent the men from fulfilling the Kingdom work God had prepared for them. God answered their prayers as Gideons surpassed the goal of impacting 30,000 people with the Gospel. Gideons reached over 39,000 people in just five days, sharing God’s Word at 121 schools, one jail, and two military camps.

God Working Amid a Condo Collapse

On June 24, 2021, a 12-story condominium in Surfside, Florida, partially collapsed, leaving nearly 100 people confirmed dead. Through all of the disaster and loss of life, God worked in the hearts of survivors and those who had lost loved ones. Gideons reached out to survivors in a nearby hotel, as well as people still waiting to hear about their loved ones. Members from Miami and surrounding areas supplied Testaments to one Gideon, who is a first responder. He was able to share them with those inside the disaster area, which had limited access.

Gideons also connected with local chaplains from the Red Cross. South Florida Lead Chaplain Pat Lucey said, “Gideons have been a blessing to work with here in Miami. Keep us in prayer. It is heartbreaking, yet God is working in the hearts of people like I haven’t seen in a long time.”

Gideons have been a blessing to work with here in Miami. Keep us in prayer. It is heartbreaking, yet God is working in the hearts of people like I haven’t seen in a long time.
South Florida Red Cross Lead Chaplain Pat Lucey

Hope in the Midst of Hurricane Ida

Hurricane Ida presented another opportunity to reach people in need. This hurricane struck the Louisiana coast in September 2021—exactly 16 years to the day when Hurricane Katrina hit the same coast. While relief efforts were soon underway, many felt overwhelmed by the long road ahead. Many local members lost their businesses and suffered major damage to their homes. “We know God’s Word provides the ultimate comfort and hope during the worst of times. Gideons and Auxiliary are thankful for the opportunities God gave them to share Scriptures and encouragement. Almost everyone we offered a Scripture and prayer to were open and grateful, even crying when we shared words of comfort and hope,” said Chris, a Gideon from Louisiana. Over 25,000 Scriptures were shared with those suffering from the devastation.

Growing Again after 2020

These are just four short stories of impact in which God used ordinary Christian business and professional men, along with their wives, to reach people for Jesus—offering hope to people in their most challenging moments of life.

We celebrate worldwide growth in Scripture distributions coming out of the pandemic. Over the past fiscal year, 3.9 million Scriptures were distributed in the United States, over 2.9 million in Latin America, over 4.1 million in Africa, and over 16 million Scriptures in Asia. Our Scripture receipts have increased including funds given through the GideonCard Bible Program, which increased 20% last year and is growing another 10% this year. This allows us to impact more and more people with the hope of the Gospel.

Through training and encouragement, we are seeing an increased utilization of Testaments by Gideons and Auxiliary on a personal basis, as they individually share their faith with those God places in their path.

We are thankful for the opportunities our members had to meet and pray together utilizing online platforms. Members in California were even able to have a virtual Pastors Event to pray for and encourage pastors and their wives. One pastor said following the event, “My wife and I would like to thank you and all those involved in providing the Pastors Appreciation Event. We truly felt appreciated by their words and stories of how God’s Word impacts people worldwide through The Gideons. The Association’s sincere appreciation for pastors came through to us loud and clear. Thank you for your thoughtfulness in including us in a memorable evening.”

In addition, we praise God for new members joining this Association all over the world. Our prayer of gratitude is the same as the apostle Paul to the church of Thessalonica—“We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you,” (1 Thessalonians 1:2-4 ESV).

This holiday season we pray you and your family will enjoy time together remembering the Savior’s birth. As we celebrate, we are eternally grateful for the moments He has allowed us to share the hope of the Gospel with people all over the world.

“We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you,
1 Thessalonians 1:2-4 ESV