Our member William Duncan in Northern Ireland presented new Testaments to the 1st Killyrurris scout group on 16th December. The scriptures were well received.
The Gideons International were recently privileged to be able to place Scriptures in the Prayer Space at The Salvation Army’s Strawberry Field centre in Liverpool. Originally the site of a children’s home, Strawberry Field has been owned and managed by The Salvation Army since the mid-1930s and it was a place where the young John Lennon, who lived nearby, would jump over the wall to enjoy the peace and sanctuary of the grounds – and company of the young people who lived there. The release of Strawberry Fields Forever prompted thousands of people from around the world to visit the site and its iconic red gates. Today, Strawberry Field plays host to a series of programmes aimed at those with learning difficulties or other barriers to employment.
Side note: The Beatles mentioned Gideon Bibles in their song ‘Rocky Raccoon’.
Over 3.6 million teenagers…let that number settle into your heart and mind. It represents the number of current student missionaries involved with The Life Book. Today, as students all over the nation gather around their flagpole and pray, we celebrate 3.6 million students who have distributed over 50 million Life Books to their peers! While these are incredible numbers, we must remember the numbers represent real teenagers who all have a name and a face heading towards an eternal destination.
The Birth and Mission of The Life Book
For decades, school doors throughout the USA were wide-open for Gideons to distribute Scriptures to students. As culture shifted, those opportunities grew more challenging to find. Yet, Gideons still had a passion to reach students with the Gospel, and students have always been able to reach other students. This reality sparked the question: What if we could help local churches mobilize their student missionaries to put the power of the Gospel in the hands of every student?
“What if we could help local churches mobilize their student missionaries put the power of the Gospel in the hands of every student?“
By the fall of 2009, a small team had been assembled, The Life Book was created, and a unique strategy was in place to help churches mobilize their students to share Christ with their peers. During the first test distribution in late 2009, students from several churches gave 20,000 Life Books to their peers. Lessons were learned, systems were streamlined, and TheLifeBook.com was launched in 2010 for churches across the country to request Life Books. The Lord moved, and over 500,000 Life Books were given out in just two years.
It was clear that God’s hand was at work as the distribution numbers increased significantly year over year. God moved in the hearts of many pastors and youth leaders who were excited for their students to be involved in this simple approach to evangelism.
Pastor Mike from Arkansas finds The Life Book is an excellent tool for reaching out to those all around who need to know about the love of Christ. He says, “The simplicity of the Gospel is written so that young people can receive the knowledge of salvation in a simple way, yet at the same time, acknowledging the seriousness of finding a hope that is much needed in today’s time.”
Still Growing Strong
Today, with over 3.6 million students having been involved in distributing over 50 million Life Books, God is still changing hearts and lives. In this same amount of time (since 2010), 35.5 million Youth Testaments have been distributed by Gideons in the United States. Praise God for the growth of the Life Book and the impact it is having on students nationwide! Ralph, a youth pastor from California, is excited about how God will use The Life Book in the days ahead. He says, “Our teens intentionally handed out 2,500 Life Books…I’m grateful for additional copies we will give them to hand out during this next school year.”
Each time Life Books hit the hands of a student, God accomplishes His purpose through it as Isaiah 55:11 (ESV) guarantees, “So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” One student named Jacqueline from Georgia says, “It has helped me know Jesus better and go out and be a disciple for Him!
“It has helped me know Jesus better and go out and be a disciple for Him!“ –Jacqueline
“What If the Book He Gives Me Changes My Life?”
Rina is a student from Maryland who was impacted significantly by The Life Book. She shares:
On the first day of my new school, I felt like an outcast and was desperate for hope. I just wanted to kill myself.
The next day, a classmate asked me who I was cheering for in the World Series. I never noticed how glad I was to be asked a normal question instead of hearing rumors or things that hurt me. He gave me hope, and my entire life centered around figuring out why he was so nice.
I finally got the courage to tell him about feeling like an outcast and just a waste of oxygen. He said he wanted to give me a book. I decided not to end my life because I had this thought: What if the book he gives me changes my life?
He was talking about The Life Book. At first, I scoffed at it because I was an atheist. I thought to myself, “God can’t help me, even if He is real.” But I decided to read The Life Book anyway because he gave it to me, and I wanted to know why he was so nice. While reading it, I learned about Jesus—God’s Son who lived a perfect life to die on the cross for my sins. For the first time in my life, I felt hope, not from an ordinary person, but in a God that loves me. My classmate invited me to his youth group, and I learned more about Jesus and how He had a purpose and plan for me. That day, I decided to become a follower of Jesus.
I carried The Life Book around in my pocket—there is still a hole in that jacket where I kept the book. While it was hard to let go of my suicidal and depressed lifestyle from before, I came to know more about the Lord over time. I started regularly attending church, serving at church, and expressing more of my faith. I started praying and spending time in the Word. I still keep my Life Book to this day—knowing it helped me learn God’s Word while I was a broken and hopeless person.
May we faithfully reach more people like Rina before it’s everlasting too late.
The Gospel of Matthew captures an incredible moment between Jesus and men who would later become His disciples. Jesus saw two brothers, Simon Peter and Andrew, doing what they knew well as fishermen—casting a net into the sea. Jesus then said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19) The Savior took what was familiar and translated it into Kingdom influence. For Todd Lowe, he would have his own “fishing for men” moment, bringing about experiences he never saw coming.
Early Years at Home and Church
Todd grew up on a farm in Anderson County, South Carolina, filled with greenhouses and apple orchards. He says, “It was a busy life, but a good life—everyone knew their neighbors, and you were busy with your neighbors.” He was blessed to be raised in a home with parents who loved the Lord and ensured the family was active in the local church. When the doors of Shady Grove Baptist Church were open, you would find the Lowe family present. Todd recalls, “It was the only church I remember growing up, and many Gideons were a part of it. I was always impressed with the Gideons who were passionate about going out sharing God’s Word, no matter the circumstances.”
After several years of church services, Bible studies, vacation Bible schools, and many other church-related activities, Todd realized he needed Jesus to be his personal Lord and Savior. At 12 years old, the Lord continued stirring his heart at a youth retreat. The Lowe’s pastor came to their house to visit and talk with Todd, and he surrendered his life to Jesus Christ.”
“God doesn’t waste anything in your life.”
Gifts He Couldn’t See
As Todd continued to grow, he developed a love for farm life and agriculture. In 1991, he graduated from college with a degree in Agronomy, later followed by a master’s degree in Agricultural Education. These years would be formative for Todd’s spiritual development and calling.
God gave Todd the opportunity to serve as an agricultural evangelist in Haiti for two years. As a technical advisor, instructor, and resource manager, he helped over 500 farmers maximize their natural resources to improve their farms, homes, and communities. Most importantly, he shared the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ with those farmers and their families. ”
Todd returned to the United States and worked as a temporary college instructor for an Agricultural Education Department. Afterward, he moved to North Carolina to accept a position as an extension agent. He assisted county farmers and homeowners with horticultural/agricultural issues, coordinated volunteer projects, conducted weekly radio spots, and produced weekly newspaper articles.
Towards what would be the end of his tenure in this position, Todd began to really wrestle with a call to full-time ministry. He was attending a Bible study at the time, led by a pastor who made a life-changing statement to him, “Todd, everyone can see these gifts in you…why can’t you see them?” Todd struggled to see how all his agricultural experiences had led him to this pivotal moment. The pastor encouraged him with, “God doesn’t waste anything in your life.”
Todd met and married his wife, Donna, in North Carolina in May 1997. He committed to full-time ministry and began seminary in August 1998. Soon after, God opened doors for Todd to serve first as an interim pastor in North Carolina, then as an associate pastor in South Carolina. The Lord then moved the Lowe’s to Georgia for his first full-time senior pastorate. In September 2008, God called Todd to serve as the senior pastor of Cedar Springs Baptist Church in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where he currently serves.”
Pastor Todd was never far removed from the influence of The Gideons International. His college roommate’s dad was a Gideon, and his congregations have had several active Gideons. At Cedar Springs Baptist, they welcome Gideons to share about how God is using the Association. Each Christmas, the congregation takes an active role in Birthday for Jesus, and Pastor Todd encourages his congregants to send GideonCards when loved ones pass away because it is “a gift that always gives.
One of God’s greatest gifts is His Word—and it shows the ultimate gift—salvation and redemption through Jesus Christ. Pastor Todd cheers on members and their influence when he says, “Be encouraged, Gideons and Auxiliary, you are presenting the Word of the Lord. There will be people in Heaven because of you. You may never see your efforts on this side of things, but we know people are spending eternity with their Heavenly Father because of you and your faithfulness.
The idea of agriculture is growing crops to provide needed substance such as food to survive. God never wastes our experiences and the things we learn in different seasons of life. From developing crops to developing people, Pastor Todd’s calling from what he knew in the agricultural sciences taught him the necessary lessons he still uses in ministry today. Alongside his wife of 25 years and their two children, Chapman and Isabella, they are excited to continue in this calling in the days ahead.
“When I see the Gideon emblem, I think of servants of the Lord. I know they are men with a calling from God to share His Word across the globe and will be an incredible asset to me as a pastor.“ – Todd Lowe
An Accident That Changed Everything
Our lives can change in a single moment. Daniel and Gaby Blanco were on their way to sign paperwork for their new home when they ended up in an unexpected circumstance. What happened next can only be attributed to the Holy Spirit’s moving.
What breaks our hearts often leads us to act. John, and his wife Gloria, have been members of The Gideons for over 50 years. Their passion for helping people find Jesus Christ through the truth of Scripture has fueled some of their greatest moments in life and ministry.
A Pardon for Their Sin
In 1976, after hearing the testimony of Mary Kay Beard, God began leading Gloria toward jail ministry. She listened to some training from other Auxiliary and started preparing to go. “What pricked my heart about jail ministry was when I read verses about God cleansing us from all iniquity. I knew God could give these women a pardon for their sin. Even though they may have to remain behind prison bars, I wanted to tell them they could be forgiven,” says Gloria.
She started training other Auxiliary in her camp and encouraging them to join her in jail ministry. Around that time, John came home from a Gideon prayer meeting and said, “Gloria, the Gideons have obtained permission for y’all to go to the parish jail.” The door was open. Gloria was reminded of Isaiah 65:24, “Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.” And so, they started to go once a month to the parish jail in Shreveport, Louisiana, and God gave them excellent opportunities to share about Him.
“I knew God could give these women a pardon for their sin. Even though they may have to remain behind prison bars, I wanted to tell them they could be forgiven.”
When John and Gloria moved to Texas in 1991, the Auxiliary told Gloria, “We’re going to continue the jail ministry.” They knew that was a concern of Gloria’s—she didn’t want to leave those women without having someone coming, sharing the Good News with them.
A Call to Faithfulness
Jail ministry hasn’t always been easy or fruitful for Gloria. “At times, I tell God, ‘I quit…I’m not doing this anymore.’ Then He reminds me He didn’t call me to be successful but to be faithful and leave the results to Him.”
She will never forget meeting Ginger in a county jail. “As I talked with her, she told me she was a prostitute,” says Gloria. “She didn’t accept the Lord during that first visit. But as I would see her from time to time, she finally accepted Him as her Savior.” She would get out of jail, and then she would get drawn back into the old lifestyle. “I can remember when she saw me pass by, she wanted to hide from me. And I said, ‘Ginger, is that you?’ She finally came to the bars to talk because she was so ashamed that she had fallen back into the old pattern of life.”
Ginger was finally able to go to a Christian women’s job corps where she was trained and doing well, she was giving her testimony at churches, and Gloria connected with her again. “She was living for the Lord! We brought her home, and she lived with us for a year. She was like a daughter to us but was drawn back into her old ways.”
Throughout her years of ministering to women like Ginger, Gloria has seen many accept the Lord. “Some of them do well, and then sometimes they do well for a time, but that’s not my responsibility. Jesus commands us to go and tell. And that’s what we must do.”
I Know You!
In 2015, Gloria and some fellow Auxiliary were on a distribution at a rehabilitation facility. “When I walked in, I saw the name Vera printed on a lady’s name tag. I recognized her because she had made a great impression on me when she was in the county jail.” Gloria recalls her story:
I remember going up to the cell, and I asked the women, ‘Do you know if you died tonight that you would go to Heaven?’ Vera knew that she wouldn’t but told me she would sure like to. The other women in the cell said the same thing and accepted the Lord that day. The following week, I was at another cell, and there was Vera. She began to tell the girls what had happened the week before. It seemed like every week that I went, Vera was in a different cell, and she was telling people about Jesus and how He had transformed her life. When she was sent to state jail, she asked me if I would pick up her clothes and belongings. For 14 years, I had a box in my storage room with Vera written on it.
Vera and Gloria had a joyful reunion that day at the rehabilitation facility. The administrator said, “We couldn’t do without Vera around here.” Vera replied, “I couldn’t do without this place—it holds me accountable.” God is effectively using her as she shares her testimony with others going through drug rehabilitation.
They are women who are broken and need to know Jesus. “They need help and love, which I like to give them,” says Gloria. “Being an Auxiliary provides us with tools to use with these broken women. It also provides us with the confidence that we need as we approach them—it opens the door for us.”
On the heels of a decade-plus rise in Christianity’s popularity throughout Zambia, a former Zambian president declared the country a Christian nation in the early 1990s. Today, Zambians practice many religions, which opens the door for occult practices. According to Operation World, few believers “know the Word of God, or how to live a Christian life.” Knowing this reality, a team of Gideons passionately shared the hope of the Gospel in over 90 institutions in Luanshya during the 2022 Zambia International Scripture Blitz.
Luanshya is an area that was once a thriving industrial center producing copper and other minerals. The mining company in the area has long since changed hands to foreign interests but has not been a sustainable driver for the economy. Spiritually, most residents in the area are either familiar with Christianity or classify themselves as Christians. Most institutions are very receptive to the Gospel, which led to many open doors for the blitz team in hospitals, clinics, schools, and guest houses.
Team members were able to gift Scriptures to five hospitals during the week. One man named Edwin was curious about the team’s presence at the Chaisa Medical Clinic. He watched intently as they met with the clinic administrator. Edwin was profoundly interested in receiving his own copy of God’s Word. One of the Gideons spoke with him for a while about his work at the clinic and then asked him about his Testament. Besides it being a gift, he was unaware of what he had been given. The Helps on the front pages drew his attention to the value of Scripture in guiding his everyday life, while the verses in the back also made an impression. Edwin acknowledged his need for forgiveness from his sins and indicated his trust in Jesus Christ for his salvation.
While the team was visiting a guest house, one of the Gideons met Mutambo and Reagan. They began a conversation about why Gideons were in Luanshya for the week. The discussion led to the Gideon offering each a copy of God’s Word. They listened, with Reagan paying close attention and Mutambo appearing less interested. When asked, both acknowledged being unsaved and uncertain of their eternal destination. As they considered the remaining verses, it was evident from their responses that they were ready to consider following Jesus. After confessing their sins and accepting God’s gift of salvation using the sample prayer on the back pages, they signed their Testaments.
A local Gideon named Simon served as the chairman for the blitz, and the team did an excellent job organizing the daily work for local members and the five Gideons who traveled from other countries to participate. The primary opportunity to distribute Scriptures during the blitz was in public schools. Team leader David, a Gideon from Pennsylvania, says, “We were well received in each school, with an opportunity to speak to each class and give them a brief presentation of the Testament and the Gospel. Nearly everyone we encountered knew John 3:16. Yet, each time a person hears the Gospel, it has the potential for a transformative effect in their life.” In the team’s interactions, they emphasized trusting Jesus Christ as a personal choice that everyone must make. The team was blessed to see students follow along in the back of the Testament and sign the back page, indicating their decision to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.
“We were well received in each school, with an opportunity to speak to each class and give them a brief presentation of the Testament and the Gospel. Nearly everyone we encountered knew John 3:16, yet each time a person hears the Gospel, it has the potential for a transformative effect in their life.” —David
Local members arranged presentations to be given at church services with several team members sharing how God is using the Association worldwide to win the lost for Jesus Christ. Each church they presented in was a home church for a local camp member. In addition, during an event for pastors, the testimony speaker shared how a Testament guided him to Jesus. After losing his mother, he went to live with his aunt and uncle. He stumbled through a pile of books his aunt had for school. In doing so, he found a small white book that ended up being a Testament provided by The Gideons. He remembers, “While reading the back pages, I realized that even though I went to church my whole life, I needed to receive Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. I found Scriptures that spoke to me.”
“Would You Like to Now?”
God led Gideons and Auxiliary to place and distribute over 29,000 Scriptures in Luanshya during the week. They stayed in a hotel in Ndola, about 45 minutes from the main blitz area. The hotel afforded excellent space for the team’s daily meeting for devotions and prayer as well as each evening’s wrap-up meeting. A recurring theme of their discussions was Proverbs 16:3, which reads, “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”
The Holy Spirit gave the blitz team sensitivity to opportunities throughout the week. Friday of the blitz took an unexpected turn when a former Zambian president passed away. Many schools ended up closing for the day. “Most blitzes are so fast-paced you barely have time to slow down. On this day, we were given the opportunity to take time and do a lot more personal witnessing,” says David.
One Gideon sat down at a table with three men outside a lodge in Luanshya. He asked if they knew Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Two of the three men said they did. The third, Edgar, said he did not. The Gideon offered him a Testament. Edgar accepted it and, when asked, read the verses in the back outlining the plan of salvation. The Gideon then asked Edgar if he had ever called on the name of the Lord for salvation. Edgar indicated he had not. “Would you like to now?” Mark asked. Edgar said he would. After praying to confess his sins and receive Christ, Edgar signed and dated his Testament, acknowledging his decision. A second Gideon, from the Ndola Camp, observed that the man next to Edgar was listening intently as the Gospel was shared. This man was Edgar’s friend Robby. The Gideon took the opportunity to witness to Robby, who also prayed to receive Jesus.
While many Zambians are at least familiar with Christianity, sharing the Gospel with people like Edgar and Robby gives them a chance for God’s Word to change them individually and personally. Gideons and Auxiliary were blessed to see God move during the blitz as His Word went forth. Continue to pray for the people of Luanshya who received a Scripture and are considering a relationship with Jesus. As they turn the pages of God’s Word, pray they would see how much Jesus loves them and move from knowing about Jesus to knowing Jesus. After all, each encounter with the Gospel holds the potential to transform lives forever.
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.
Why I’m a Member
If you drive through the scenic rolling hills southeast of Farmville, Virginia, you’ll come to the Sandy River Reservoir, part of the Bush River Watershed Project initiated in 1967. You’ll also see a marker there commemorating the dedication of that dam in 1994 to two men—one of those men is David Farmer Jr., who has been a Gideon for over 50 years.
David grew up on a farm in Vernon Hill, Virginia in Halifax County. Growing up, he attended church and accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior at the age of 13.
From an early age, David took a great interest in agriculture. He went to college and received a B.S. in Agricultural Education from VPI (Virginia Tech) in 1948. The next year, he married Katherine. The couple settled in Farmville and are members of Farmville Presbyterian Church. They raised three children—David S. Farmer III, Allen B. Farmer, and Ann F. Richardson. In addition, they now have six grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.
Sowing Seeds for the Kingdom
David spent his career with the USDA Soil Conservation Service, serving as the District Conservationist for Prince Edward, Amelia, and Nottoway Counties. He has also spent a major part of his life sowing seeds for the Lord’s Kingdom with The Gideons.
“The first time I remember hearing of The Gideons was sometime in the 1960s when they came and gave a presentation at the church I was attending.” David was later invited to the Farmville Camp’s new member event. It was at that event in 1972 where he felt God’s call on him to become a part of what The Gideons were doing and joined. Katherine joined the Auxiliary at that same time.
David says serving in The Gideons strengthened their marriage and their family relationships.
“Since joining The Gideons, Katherine and I have read the entire Bible through each and every year and had our prayer time every night,” says David. “If something kept us from our Bible reading one night, we made it up the next night and tried to not get behind. The couple has been married 72 years. And while they always did things together as a couple, David says that after joining The Gideons, they found themselves doing even more together.
“Since joining The Gideons, Katherine and I have read the entire Bible through each and every year and had our prayer time every night.” —David Farmer, Jr.
Katherine, who spent her career in education, enjoyed many blessings serving in the Auxiliary. “I’ve always supported David in whatever he was doing. The Auxiliary would meet and have prayer times. We prayed for many things for our husbands, including that they would have good relationships with the churches.” She recalls many times when God would deliver on their prayer requests in greater ways than they could have ever asked. She also enjoyed when the Auxiliary would visit local doctor’s offices to place Scriptures. “Over the years, I met so many good Christian ladies in the Auxiliary who made such an impact on me.”
Membership in The Gideons opened the couple’s eyes to the opportunities around them to help people going through problems. They also served as volunteers for 16 years at their local hospital. “That was very rewarding for us, and we hope it helped our community, too.”
Serving with Like-minded Christian Businessmen
From associating together for service to personal witnessing and placing and distributing Scriptures, David has enjoyed the many activities conducted by Gideons. He has served in camp officer roles, engaged churches as a church speaker, and has seen the Lord could bless those moments in unexpected ways.
“I remember arriving at a church after a long ride to find only six people present for the meeting. I was initially a little discouraged by the small turnout and thought it was going to be a waste of time. However, it turned out to be one of the best meetings.”
David stayed after that meeting and visited with those who had come. It turned out some of the folks who were there had served in World War II. They shared with David that the Service Testaments they received from Gideons during the service had provided them great comfort.
“I feel that, because of this more personal interaction, we were able to make a greater impression on this smaller group than we might have if it had been larger. It was a real blessing.”
The community of like-minded Christian business and professional men striving side by side in The Gideons for the faith of the Gospel helped increase David’s commitment to The Gideons. “In my professional life, I worked with many people who were Gideons,” says David. One of the Gideons he served with was the late Hugh Jenkins, who also was a member of the Farmville Camp. Hugh was the other man honored in the dedication of the Farmer-Jenkins Dam back in 1994, as he was chairman of the Piedmont Soil and Water Conservation District for much of the project.
David and Katherine are no longer able to get out to attend camp meetings and place Scriptures like they could when they were younger. However, they know the difference they can still make by praying for the ministry and renewing their memberships each year. Much has changed in the world since the Farmers joined The Gideons 50 years ago. However, one thing that hasn’t changed is the supreme need of every individual for a Lord and Savior—a need that can only be filled by Jesus Christ. And throughout the world, members like David and Katherine are committed to reaching the lost before it’s everlasting too late.
“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.