Category Archives: Global News

God’s Work Continues in India and Australia

According to the Joshua Project, more than 40% of the population is unevangelized, and the harvest field is ripe for believers. Paul’s encouragement in Philippians 3:14 rings truer today than ever before—to “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Gideons and Auxiliary in India and Australia have taken this command seriously and have found unique ways to share Jesus with others in spite of circumstances surrounding COVID-19.

Prayer and Personal Witnessing in India

 

It is estimated that fewer than 3% of people in India claim to be evangelical Christians according to Operation World. This reality inspires members of The Gideons in India to press on with reaching people for Christ. However, India is going through one of its worst crises. The pandemic is in its second wave, and the virus has infected over 30 million people.

Amid the disease, the deaths, and the unfortunate events, God is using Gideons and Auxiliary as faithful warriors striving side by side for the faith of the Gospel. It all started last year when the pandemic first hit. In March 2020, the country went into a nationwide lockdown, which brought almost every activity to a halt. There was a ban on all public gatherings—even churches. Leadership met on a virtual platform for the first time and urged the members to pray and offer whatever support they could to the pastors and elders of the rural churches who were in need.

 An Auxiliary in India distributes Scriptures to medical personnel 

While the educational institutions remained closed, members explored what could be done, reaching out to medical personnel and educators to express their appreciation. The Lord blessed these efforts, and they distributed 11 million Scriptures last year.

Entering 2021, there was an expectancy to return to some semblance of normal—only to be caught by the sudden surge of the second COVID-19 wave. While regular distribution channels are closed now, personal witnessing is on the rise. The Witness Pledge initiative, recently launched in India, helps members stay focused on our single objective as an Association. Each officer throughout all the state associations in India is leading members by example. By taking a pledge to share 100 Personal Workers Testaments over the course of a year, these officers are modeling what it means to be Men of Faith.

Members started a 24/7 online prayer helpline to support urgent prayer requests and volunteered their time to keep this going daily. “The pandemic couldn’t stop the work of God. The Lord has enabled us to continue to strive side by side with each other, the Auxiliary, local congregations, and Friends of Gideons,” shared Sam, a Gideon in India.

The pandemic couldn’t stop the work of God. The Lord has enabled us to continue to strive side by side with each other, the Auxiliary, local congregations, and Friends of Gideons.” —Sam, a Gideon in India

Quarantined with God’s Word in Australia

Gideons and Auxiliary in Australia continue to press on, as well. The lockdowns stopped members from physically meeting, going to churches, and visiting distribution areas, but God was not locked down. To the leadership’s knowledge, every hotel used for quarantine of returning Australians and other incoming travelers was Bibled in advance, and guests had 14 days of mandatory hotel quarantine to contemplate God’s Word. Gideon leadership in Australia received many emails from guests blessed by having God’s Word available to them. Many of the members prayed and reach out to aged care homes who had borne the brunt of the COVID cases and tightest lockdowns. There was an openness to receiving Scriptures and a gratefulness not seen before, or at least not for a very long time. Ken, a Gideon in Australia, thanks the Lord for the following success he and fellow members experienced:

We started calling our local nursing homes and had wonderful responses from CEOs, nursing directors, nurses, and receptionists. As of July 2021, we’ve given out 520 large print, over 200 white, and a number of soft cover full Bibles. We’re also telling staff about the Gideon Bible App for those who have residents from another country who would like to listen in their own language. We’ve really seen God moving in this way and several responses saying that it’s very timely.


Australian Gideons and Auxiliary

Personal Witnessing in Everyday Encounters

God continues bringing people across member’s path, and our personal witnessing has never stopped. Lauren, an Auxiliary in Australia, is a stay-at-home mom homeschooling her four children. “My children are always me,” she says, “I’m not particularly brave or great at starting conversations. Often, I’m sleep deprived, and I stumble over my words. I usually have a child on my hip or wrapped around my ankles, sometimes both.”

“Before joining The Gideons, I can’t remember too many situations where I brought the Gospel into a conversation with an unbeliever, especially one that I didn’t know well,” says Lauren. Being an Auxiliary keeps witnessing on her radar. She now keeps Testaments next to the front door, in her bag, and in her car. She and her husband pray together for families to cross their path who need to hear the Good News. “As a Gideon family, my kids see Mom and Dad taking God’s Word seriously by reading and praying for opportunities to give it to those who need to know Jesus. Sometimes it’s my kids who prompt me. They’ll say, ‘Ask them if they want a Bible.’”

Lauren doesn’t even need to leave her house to be a witness. “Anyone who knocks on our door – tradesmen, salespeople, fundraisers – may all be offered a Testament. Online shopping can bring a harvest field of delivery workers to my doorstep. If a major appliance breaks down or we need some work done to the house, it’s not just an expense or an inconvenience; it’s a Gospel opportunity and a Testament is offered,” she says. When Lauren goes out with her children, she stays on mission often offering a Testament to acknowledge great service or simply sharing because someone has crossed her path.

“As a Gideon family, my kids see Mom and Dad taking God’s Word seriously by reading and praying for opportunities to give it to those who need to know Jesus. Sometimes it’s my kids who prompt me. They’ll say, ‘Ask them if they want a Bible.” —Laura, an Auxiliary in Australia

“I’m grateful that God would use me and my weaknesses to serve Him,” Lauren continues. “I am grateful that I can serve together with my family and I’m grateful that being an Auxiliary provides me with resources, training, role models, and encouragement to actively share Jesus as I live out my day-to-day life.”

God’s Work Continues

Gideons and Auxiliary like Sam and Laura are genuinely taking the apostle Paul’s encouragement to “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” to heart. While you may never go to India and Australia, you, too, can impact your friends, neighbors, and circle of influence with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Over 40% of the world is unevangelized. God’s work continues…how can you press on?

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” —Philippians 3:14 (ESV)

The Gift that keeps on giving

The Gift that keeps on giving

October is Pastor Appreciation Month, and The Gideons International loves to partner with and support local church pastors! This post celebrates Pastor Gary Linton from Florida, who was given a gift at school as a child that would change his life in ways he could have never imagined. Watch his story below, and consider ways you can show your appreciation for the pastors and ministry leaders in your life.

Who Are Gideons: Men of Action

Who Are Gideons: Men of Action

Today’s video is the final in a three-part series in which we are exploring answers to the question, “Who are Gideons?”

 

In this video, you’ll see members of The Gideons International discuss how membership helps them grow as Men of Action along with other Christian business and professional men. Learn how Gideons impact God’s Kingdom as they build relationships with pastors, and as they share God’s Word in their communities and beyond.

 

To see how membership in The Gideons helps men grow as Men of God, click here. And to see how they grow as Men of Faith, click here.

Who Are Gideons: Men of Faith

Today’s video is the second in a three-part series in which we are exploring answers to the question, “Who are Gideons?” 

In this video, you’ll see Gideons discuss how they grow as Men of Faith by serving alongside other Christian business and professional men in The Gideons International. Learn how Gideons increase their unique influence in their homes and communities as they sharpen their God-given talents to boldly share Christ.

The video can be watched on our international website here:
https://gideons.org/blog/Who_are_Gideons_Men_of_Faith

Who Are Gideons: Men of God

Today’s video is the first in a three-part series in which we are exploring answers to the question, “Who are Gideons?”

In this video, see members of The Gideons International discuss the day-to-day challenges they face as Christian business and professional men. Discover how membership in The Gideons helps men overcome those challenges and grow as Men of God along with other Christ-followers through associating together and practicing spiritual disciplines.

This video can be watched on our international website here:
https://gideons.org/blog/Who_are_Gideons_Men_of_God

From a Purple Heart to a New Heart

Knowledge of God can come from various places. Sometimes it comes from parents who have committed to raise their kids in a Christian home or from a life-long friend who has always been there for us. However, head knowledge does not save us. Transformation by the Gospel of Jesus leading to total surrender saves us and gives us a new heart and identity.

   

Shaken to the Core

 

Brandon Blair was one of those people surrounded by Gospel truths his entire life. His dad was a pastor in Angier, North Carolina, and his childhood was filled with hearing his dad deliver sermon after sermon. Looking back on this time, Brandon admits, “I knew a lot about the Lord, but I was living for the world.”

 

Fast forward to the terrorist attack in New York City on September 11, 2001. This event shook Brandon to his core. It moved him so much he couldn’t stand still and decided to enlist in the United States Marine Corps. Brandon had never considered the military before the events of that fateful September day.

 

I knew a lot about the Lord, but I was living for the world.”

It took Brandon a little longer than expected to get into the Marines because other individuals with prior military experience had decided to reenlist. In 2003, Brandon left for boot camp in Paris Island, South Carolina. When he arrived, he was given a gift—a Testament from The Gideons. Brandon did more than pack his new copy of God’s Word. “On many nights, I read the pages of that Scripture when soldiers were given time to read or write letters. The Scriptures brought me a lot of peace,” he remembers.

Out of the Pit

Brandon ended up serving in two full-time combat tours. On his last tour in 2006, as soldiers were getting on the bus, he was again handed a Testament from The Gideons, and he placed it in his left chest pocket.

 

War is brutal in many regards. The environments are often challenging, and one never knows what may take place. In August 2006, Brandon was shot by a sniper. He took it to the chest and didn’t know if he was going to live or die. “I begged the Lord to spare my life,” recalls Brandon. He said this knowing his injury was severe. He eventually arrived at the hospital and, to his surprise, realized he had suffered no internal bleeding from the gunshot wound. It was a miracle. At the time of his injury, he was in a mobile unit with armed vehicles outside the wire. They didn’t have a base to come back to at the end of the day. The only time soldiers would come in was because of injury or if a roadside bomb hit them.

 

Brandon continued to receive medical treatment. A friend from Tennessee came to visit him. Just a week after the visit, the friend, too, was shot by a sniper and passed away. The reality of war had just gotten personal for Brandon. Looking back, he said, “This was an extremely low point for me. My friend was just 19 years old and engaged to be married. I asked the Lord, ‘Why not me, Lord? Why did you take him and not me?’”

After his friend’s death, Brandon was lying in a hospital bed surrounded by four walls. He had no television to watch and no phone to call people back home. Then he remembered the Testament in his left pocket and wondered if it was still there or if someone had removed it. The Testament was still there. Brandon found the book of Psalms and read about a time when David was at a low point in his life. He read the words from Psalm 40:1-3: “I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.” Brandon had heard Bible verses his entire life, but this time it was different. God brought Brandon out of his own pit and changed his life in an instant. He asked God to forgive his sins and accepted forgiveness through salvation in Jesus Christ. “I told God I would serve him from that day forward. Before I was shot, spiritually, it was all head knowledge. After I was shot, it was true surrender—I was all in for the Lord,” says Brandon. 

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.”
—Psalm 40:1-2   

A new Heart

In 2007, he was honorably discharged from the military. Remembering his promise to the Lord, he felt called to serve in ministry. He enrolled at what is now Fruitland Baptist Bible College in Hendersonville, North Carolina, and then went on to Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. He has been serving in ministry ever since, beginning full-time ministry in 2008.

 

Youth ministry was the first area of service for Brandon. One evening, while speaking at a youth event, Brandon met a photographer named Tristan. They soon began to date and married in 2009. Today, they have three adopted kids.


Pastor Brandon Blair

Brandon served as a youth pastor for 11 years. In 2019, God moved the Blair family to Knoxville, Tennessee, where Brandon is now the senior pastor of Loveland Baptist Church. For 13 years now, he has faithfully taught the Word of God that changed his life while lying in a military hospital bed. “The Word of God changed my life; just the Word was enough. I often say, ‘The military gave me a purple heart, but God gave me a new heart.’” Pastor Brandon also has a great appreciation for the ministry of The Gideons International. “I may never know the Gideon that made the Testament available, but I do know his reward is in Heaven. That Scripture changed my life forever. I love The Gideons and their mission and encourage them to keep pursuing all God has for them.” An accessible copy of God’s Word allowed Brandon to move from head knowledge to heart transformation. This is the power of Scripture and the message of Jesus Christ.   

I may never know the Gideon that made the Testament available, but I do know his reward is in Heaven. That Scripture changed my life forever.”

Why I’m a Gideon: Justo Escobar

When you see someone excel at something, how do you react? At times, we may stand back and think we could never accomplish the same activities at that level. However, we should remember that God’s plans are not always the same as ours. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9 ESV) God places us in roles and situations that, at first glance, may cause us to wonder why He would use someone like us. Yet, we must remember that God has given us all that we need to accomplish His purposes.

 

Justo Escobar, a Gideon from Florida, has a lifetime of moments where he thought: Who am I to do this? Through trust and obedience, he has learned that God is always preparing him for the next thing He has in store.

  

Open Eyes and Heart

 

His journey began in the Republic of Cuba. As an eight-year-old child, his family fled the communism of Cuba, seeking a better life. Eventually, in 1961, he and his family ended up in Miami, Florida, after spending some time in Honduras. Justo knew no English as a third-grade student but that quickly changed after building relationships with his new friends.

 

The Escobar family was also raised with Christian beliefs. Justo does not remember when the local church was not a part of his life—a reality he is still grateful for today. He learned about Jesus and His Gospel at their Quaker church through his childhood and into his teen years but, as he says, “knew Jesus wasn’t real to me.” Justo excelled in school, and he had a particular interest in mathematics. When the time came for him to go to college, he decided to pursue his love for math at a college in Saint Petersburg, Florida. It was here God began to open his eyes and heart. 

 

A friend of Justo had a father who was a pastor. This pastor began to ask Justo questions about his direction in life. These words impacted Justo and his journey with Christ. After a couple of years in Saint Petersburg, Justo decided to transfer to Florida Atlantic University to continue his pursuit of mathematics and connect with a local church in Fort Lauderdale. During this season of life, Justo was watching television one evening and came across a Gospel crusade. The preacher’s words gripped him, and for the first time, he realized he needed to be saved from his sins. “God opened my eyes to the Gospel of Jesus Christ through a Billy Graham crusade,” remembers Justo. He was so excited about his new life in Christ.

New Beginnings

While pursuing his math degree, Justo recalls a special moment in his number theory class. One day before class began, he was looking through a scuba diving magazine when a classmate looked at him and said, “Oh, you scuba drive as well.” The rest was history. Justo and his classmate, Coleen, married in August 1975. In 1978, they welcomed a son named David, and Justo began working in the family furniture and cabinet business after being employed two years as a math teacher. He firmly believes and lives by this principle: It doesn’t matter what profession you are in; you can always serve the Lord. A year later, the family welcomed another son, Jonathan.

 

The same year he started his new career, Justo and his family joined a sister church in Coral Springs, Florida. Over the years, Justo has served in various capacities such as usher, deacon, and elder. This congregation has proved to be instrumental in his life for many reasons. In 1986, he met Lester and Ann Carter, became close friends, and later found out they were members of The Gideons International. This led to Justo and Coleen being invited to a membership dinner and feeling led to join the Association a year later.

 

Serving Well

For the first three years, Justo attended monthly Gideon meetings and did a few Scripture distributions. Then, he was presented with an offer to give Gideon presentations at churches. “When the opportunity came, a friend of mine told me I should serve in this capacity. The problem was I felt extremely unqualified, and by nature, I’m a fairly shy guy,” recalls Justo. Before he knew it, his second church presentation was at their home church back in Fort Lauderdale. He couldn’t believe what was happening. “I’m proof if you stay humble and obedient, God can accomplish much even when we feel inadequate. He has stretched me in so many ways, including public speaking,” says Justo.

I’m proof if you stay humble and obedient, God can accomplish much even when we feel inadequate.

“I’m a Gideon because I answered God’s call on my life. My attitude was ‘Here I am, send me,’” he says. His earnest prayer of seeking what God has planned for him is answered as God continues growing and stretching him to be more like Jesus as he serves in his camp, church, and community. He continues, “I was looking for ways to serve God, and He placed The Gideons International in my life. This has afforded me opportunities beyond my wildest imagination to make an impact for Kingdom as I continue to serve the Lord.” 


Chris and Justo

 

One of these moments was with Chris, a man he met while doing a fair distribution in their town last Christmas. Gideons passed out 900 Testaments to the youth and hundreds of Gideon Bible App cards to the adults who came by their booth. Chris was one of these adults. “Chris came up to me at the booth and was interested in what we were doing. I shared a Gideon Bible App card with him, which led to us having a Gospel conversation. Praise the Lord, Chris received Jesus as his Lord and Savior in the moments that followed,” remembers Justo.  

 

This moment with Chris was just one of many open doors God has placed in Justo’s life since he became a Gideon. Yet, there still lingers the humble “who am I to do this” mindset. He knows through God all things are possible, and it is God who prepares us for what lies next. Psalm 37:4 (ESV) serves as his life verse, which reads, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Justo knows the key to successful ministry is delighting in the Lord and stewarding what God has given us well.

  

“I’m a Gideon because I answered God’s call on my life…I was looking for ways to serve God, and He placed The Gideons International in my life. This has afforded me opportunities beyond my wildest imagination to make an impact for Kingdom as I continue to serve the Lord with my life.”

A Joy WIthout Regret

A Joy WIthout Regret

In our search to truly know the Creator and Sustainer of all things, only God satisfies our deepest desires. Through a personal relationship with Him, we come to understand that His love, grace, and mercy never fail. For Pastor Mike Andrews, being surrounded by man’s religion from an early age just wasn’t enough…he knew there had to be another way.

A Stark Difference

Mike was not raised in a devoutly Christian home, but various religious perspectives were scattered throughout his childhood in Charlotte, North Carolina. “When we did go to church, I remember being taught that ‘being a good boy’ and ‘God grading on the curve’ paved the path to heaven,” Mike sadly recalls. Even as a young child and into his teenage years, that way of thinking just did not satisfy Mike.

“Before I went off to college, there was this lingering pain within my soul. I owned a Bible for a long time but had never really read it,” remembers Mike. As a freshman at the University of North Carolina, Mike was exposed to Gospel truths for the first time. Reflecting on those early impressions, he says, “I got invited to a Bible study where participants were going through the Gospel of John; I saw the biblical Jesus for the first time.” When the group got to the third chapter of John, Mike realized he was not a Christian. “I started to like and grew to love the person of Jesus—how He was gentle with sinners and didn’t shy aware from challenging hypocrites. I knew I wasn’t saved but didn’t know how I could be.”

“I got invited to a Bible study where participants were going through the Gospel of John; I saw the biblical Jesus for the first time.”

Another event also greatly impacted Mike’s spiritual journey. Cliffe, an apologist, came to speak on campus one day. A student in attendance kept cussing at him out loud as he spoke. Cliffe calmly said, “Friend, you don’t have to do that.” Mike saw in Cliffe’s life what he was looking for and remembers Cliffe teaching Jesus Christ became sin for us on the cross. At that point, Mike understood what it meant to be a follower of Jesus Christ.

Discovering God’s Call

God used a college Bible study, an apologist, and His Word to draw Mike toward Himself. Two weeks later, in Mike’s dorm room, he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior.

Soon after, he saw an older man in a suit and tie on campus, who he later learned was a Gideon. The man offered Mike a Testament featuring the Gideon emblem on the cover. “This was a huge encouragement to me as a new believer. The copy of God’s Word he gave me ended up finding a home in my back pocket. I used it until it completely fell apart,” recalls Mike.

A couple of years later, Mike participated in an evangelism event with an organization called Campus Crusade for Christ. At just 20 years old, he traveled to Daytona Beach and shared Jesus alongside his college peers. “I found joy telling people about Jesus—a joy without regret,” he says. Mike was beginning to discover his calling and experience what God had for his life.

Mike continued studying the Word daily. At the same time, he began to work as a resident assistant on campus. He noticed Sharon, a fellow resident assistant who also loved the Lord, and they decided to start a Bible study for their residents. Through this experience, Mike saw her passion and heart for the Lord. The couple fell in love and married in 1992.

I found joy telling people about Jesus—a joy without regret.

Sensing the Lord’s call on their life, they attended a small Bible school in New York, which God used to strengthen their marriage through His Word. This passion for the Scriptures led them to Dallas Theological Seminary in Texas a couple of years later. Mike received his Master of Theology. “I studied hermeneutics, original languages, and grew in my handling of the Word. But mostly, I grew in grace,” says Mike.

Passionately Loving God and Making Disciples

In 1998, the Lord called the Andrews family to serve a church in Houston, Texas. They stayed there for 18 years—ten years working with the youth ministry and then eight years in an associate pastor role for the adult ministry. Mike is grateful for his time in Houston. God used this season to continue to grow him as a disciple and as a minister of the Gospel. God moved the Andrews family to the small, agricultural community of Camden, Delaware, in March 2016. Since then, Mike has served as senior pastor of Faith Community Church—a 60-year-old congregation whose mission is to passionately love God, sacrificially love others, and courageously make disciples of Jesus Christ.

Faith Community Church in Camden, Delaware

During his time at Faith Community Church, Mike was once again connected with the work and ministry of The Gideons International. Members from two different camps are part of his congregation. He says, “When I find men and women in my church serve as Gideons and Auxiliary, I’m so encouraged because I know I have a strong partner in ministry.” Pastor Mike and Faith Community Church partner with The Gideons in many different ways. The church gives its students copies of The Life Book to share with their peers. The congregation also financially supports the Association so the Word can continue to be spread around the world. Each year, they invite Gideons to share with the congregation how God is using Gideons and Auxiliary worldwide, along with vital church partnerships, to win others to the Lord Jesus.

“Every time I see the Gideon emblem, I go back to when I was a baby believer on the University of North Carolina campus. I received a Testament when I wasn’t sure which way was up.” Pastor Mike often uses this part of his story to encourage Gideons and Auxiliary. He adds, “You have the tool in your hands that changes lives. There is something supernatural that happens with the Word of God. There is no better work. Keep going!”


Pastor Mike Andrews

Pastor Mike is eternally grateful for the people God placed in his life who have pushed him to love God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength. This begins with the most significant people in his life—his wife, Sharon, and their five children. He is also grateful for Bible study leaders, an apologist, and a faithful Gideon who, at different points in his life, have all shown him the importance of grace and obedience grounded in the Word of God. Jesus and His Gospel is what gripped Pastor Mike’s heart over three decades ago and still move him today to reach as many people as he can with the Good News.

Every time I see the Gideon emblem, I go back to when I was a baby believer on the University of North Carolina campus. I received a Testament when I wasn’t sure which way was up.

In Search of HIs Excellence

In Search of HIs Excellence

What happens to your Christianity when you go to work? It seems like a simple question, but you’d be surprised at some of the difficult answers I hear from other Christian businessmen and professionals. While many take their faith right through the front door of their occupation in a blaze of glory, others pause at the doormat. They pause at the prospect of being labeled or not wanting to infringe upon others.

In contrast, most everyone is quick and passionate to answer the question, “What do you do for a living?” Our identity is tied to our work. However, if believers’ identity is also tied to Christ, somewhere between Sunday and Monday, there can be a disconnect. The marketplace is one of the most complex scenarios to be thrown into as a Jesus follower. We are tempted to conform to the world in the struggle for the legal tender. There are integrity issues, competition, and demands on our personal time. Work can often become more of a means to an end called “the weekend.”

We all want a sense of belonging at work because it’s where we spend most of our time. Some even speak of their companies as family, at least until a layoff occurs. But when we do step out to share the Gospel, our faith can be seen as a clique or even a crutch. It’s no wonder many believers dream about going into “full-time ministry.” But as author Hugh Whelchel pointed out in How Then Should We Work?, God doesn’t just send ministers to give the world sermons; He sends doctors to give medicine, teachers to impart wisdom, and businesspeople to serve. In other words, no single vocational pursuit is superior to another in God’s eyes.

As Gideons, our history is about bringing our witness to work. In the beginning days of our Association, traveling salesmen would catch a train on Sunday night to journey across a region. During their business week, many were without accountability and restraint. They were known for their heavy drinking and card games that filled the hotel parlors to pass the time. But when the Association’s founder, John H. Nicholson, got on a train, he laid out his evangelical campaign like a general. Many were seen leaving the train at the next stop with a tear in their eye or a Gideon emblem on their lapel.

Not only are Gideons still winning others to Jesus Christ as traveling salesmen, but also as managers, lawyers, teachers, doctors, military and government employees, and business farmers. It’s still about being faithful in the little things. As author Zig Ziglar said, “Unfortunately, too many people labor under the illusion that unless they can do something monumental, they have achieved nothing in this life. That’s too bad because pleasant smiles, words of encouragement, and examples of gentle kindness and consideration for others are much more needed in this society today.”

Not only are Gideons still winning others to Jesus Christ as traveling salesmen, but also as managers, lawyers, teachers, doctors, military and government employees, and business farmers.

Occupational Hazards

I don’t have too dramatic of a testimony, but it was all business. I grew up in a good Catholic home. In college, I read a book called Power for Living about successful leaders who were unashamed of the Gospel—businessmen like Holiday Inn founder Wallace Johnson and insurance giant Arthur B. DeMoss. That book, and a friend named Howard, brought me to my knees and a true understanding of Jesus Christ.

After graduation, I worked for an entrepreneur named Mike, where my faith first got tested. I was COO of his technology company. He was one of those book-of-the-month managers where the whole company read the same business book, such as In Search of Excellence. One day, an employee named Kelly asked Mike if we could read from a book she liked called the Bible. Mike was shocked and later asked me, “How can anyone just sit in the back seat and let God drive their life around?” Not wanting to jeopardize my steady income, I didn’t answer. I was in the proverbial trunk of the car. That was the epiphany I needed to start living out my faith. I booked a trip to Israel. I read the Bible cover-to-cover. I stepped up to serve at my church. And I eventually became a Gideon to continue my accountability. I got out of the trunk.

So why don’t more believers share our faith more at work? Lee Strobel, the author of The Case for Christ, suggested, “I’ve seen far too many Christians who are more than willing to travel halfway around the world to volunteer for a week in an orphanage, but who cannot bring themselves to take the personal risk of sharing Jesus with the co-worker who sits day after day in the cubicle right next to them.”

I asked Pastor Howard Malone of The River Church in Waynesboro, Missouri, about why work and faith don’t always seem to want to share a cubicle. He believes fear gets in the way, and we don’t want to risk being rejected by our co-workers. Further, some may have given up witnessing at work because they haven’t seen any immediate results.

Having served in the military, Pastor Malone added you might be subject to certain limitations. It will also depend on what country you’re in. While employees in the USA have broad rights to express their faith to co-workers, you can’t allow religious discussions to interfere with your work, according to David Gibbs, founder of the Christian Law Association. He also said if a co-worker indicates directly or indirectly that they don’t wish to discuss matters of religion, that’s the end of the sermon.

Perhaps this is why so many Christians in the workplace subscribe to what St. Francis Assisi supposedly said, “Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.” While this sets a good example, Jesus used a lot of words, says Vince LaPoint, a software engineer and Gideon. LaPoint has worked in large corporations and small, but his faith has always gone with him no matter what size the door. He’s led Bible studies at work, and when the office environment doesn’t seem right, he takes people out to lunch. “While it is true not every person has a spiritual gift of evangelism, we are all called to do the work of an evangelist,” he added.

Our membership includes many who own their businesses. You would think that would be easier, but as Perrin Prescott, former president of The Gideons International, is quick to point out—there’s really no such thing as a Christian business. “A business is an inanimate object. It’s a group of people. But what you can offer them is Christ-like management.” Prescott recently retired from his industrial pump company in Exeter, New Hampshire. “It was easy when I owned my business because I was able to set the tone and culture. But there are benchmarks along the way that test your consistency.” Prescott had one customer bring in a pump for repair, but it was inoperable. The customer asked Prescott if he could zap it with some high voltage so an insurance claim could be filed. Prescott said no way. The customer replied, “Good, because I would have lost my respect if you tried.” Sometimes it’s better to be good at consistency instead of trying to be consistently great. 

Sometimes it’s better to be good at consistency instead of trying to be consistently great.

Thank God It’s Monday

The Gideons International has always sought members who, by virtue of their jobs, made decisions and had a measure of freedom regarding their time and resources. That would include teachers like Bruce Chadwick, a Gideon from Michigan. Chadwick said, “Years ago, it was okay to start my fifth-grade classroom with the Pledge of Allegiance and a moment of silence.” While these practices have changed, God’s Word hasn’t. When Chadwick became a school superintendent, he started recognizing each employee’s birthday with a GideonCard and a personal word of encouragement. “I usually received a positive response from my co-workers and never heard anyone objecting to a card that stated I was making a donation to purchase Scriptures in their honor.”

Praying for co-workers can lead to open doors, as Colossians 4:2–3 says. In Gideon Dave Morel’s book, The Secret to an Open Door, he wrote, “When we’re in our comfort zone, we rely on ourselves. When we step out in faith, we are with God. How many times does He say, ‘Surely, I will be with you?’” Morel adds, “Satan is slick—he’s not concerned about our prayer lists as long as they don’t include the lost.”

If we look back at the apostles’ lives, we can clearly see how they worked in the marketplace. They had an intimate personal relationship with Jesus. They welcomed the works of the Holy Spirit. And they prayed against the fear of man in Acts 4:29 (ESV), “And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness.” The apostles didn’t have pocket Testaments, but they had many Roman roads built to reach new marketplaces. They had a common language and common currency. They had law and order with Paxus Romanus. Today, we have the Internet, planes, electric cars, cell phones, and Starbucks. There’s no excuse. But we also live in an age where many Christians see more Scripture on Facebook than from studying their Bible.

There was a time when Christians talked about a “calling” to work. Then we all read What Color is Your Parachute? and our careers became about finding our passion. However, Scripture says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,” in Colossians 3:23 (ESV). Perhaps the adage “do what you love” should have “remember Whom you do it for” attached to it. Excellence is attractive, and if we bring it to work, along with the story of our hope, it’s an excellent strategic plan. As Andre du Plessis, trustee of The Gideons International in South Africa, and a business owner, says, “By selling our products, we change the way people live, but we change the way people see God through our way of doing business.”

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” —Colossians 3:23 (ESV)

Together Is Better

Together Is Better

An Auxiliary praying with her Gideon husband

The Great Commission instructs believers to advance the Kingdom of God. The Gideons International provides a unique way for Christian business and professional men to see people come to Christ. Officially, the role of an Auxiliary (wife of a Gideon) is to assist her Gideon husband in this mission through prayer, personal testimony, personal work, association for service, and placing and distributing God’s Holy Word in approved areas. Yet, the role of the Auxiliary is even more significant considering the partnership of holy matrimony. The wife of a Gideon brings encouragement, support, and gentleness. As an Auxiliary, I share in this blessing serving alongside my husband, Mark.

A verse that became near and dear to my heart in this 28-year journey as an Auxiliary is Acts 6:4 (ESV), which reads, “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” I take great delight in praying for Mark and supporting him in his ministry endeavors. Something else I have learned along this journey is that there is immeasurable impact and spiritual blessings when a wife joins in ministry alongside her husband.

The Blessings of Auxiliary in My Life

A couple of years ago, David W. Martin, former international president of The Gideons International, talked about the powerful influence both his mom and wife have played in his life as Auxiliary. He shared the following:

For many years, I have significantly benefitted from living within the sphere of two Auxiliary. First, I was blessed to live within the sphere of influence of my mom as an Auxiliary. After Dad joined The Gideons International, it did not take long before he began talking to Mom about coming with him to the Gideon meetings. Dad valued the fellowship of those men, but nothing could compare to having Mom involved with him in this amazing work.  

 

Mom began attending the camp meetings, and after several months, she joined the Auxiliary. As she entered the sphere of influence of some godly ladies in the Auxiliary, she found a wonderful environment where she could grow personally and spiritually with other like-minded ladies. Along the way, she began participating in distributions, and sometime later, she began serving in Auxiliary leadership. Her friendships with ladies in the camp started to deepen, and her investment in the ministry of this Association began to grow. Mom’s involvement alongside Dad was invaluable to him. She was his most trusted advisor and coach. She would listen to his thoughts about messages and encourage him. In so many ways, it was very evident two were better than one. She never wanted to be in front of people; she was delighted with her quiet life, and now she was traveling the country, speaking to large crowds of people she had never seen before and thriving in the opportunities. As her son, it was powerful to watch.   

 

Second, I have been blessed beyond measure to live within the sphere of influence of my wife as an Auxiliary. After joining The Gideons as a single man, at almost every Gideon meeting I attended, I was reminded that most Gideons find great joy and blessing to have their wife serving alongside them. I had relocated to a new city on my job and had begun visiting a singles class at a new church. In that Sunday School class, there was a young lady named Emily. I knew her name was Emily, she was a believer, and she sang in the choir. That is about all I knew, except that I knew I was very interested.

 

Soon after, it so happened we were planning a large city-wide Gideon event at Christmastime, and I began to think about how nice it would be for Emily and me to attend this event together. The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. I called Emily and asked if she would like to go with me. She was not sure what the event was, but with some additional explanations, she agreed to go. My Gideon and Auxiliary friends’ godly influence and friendship made a good impression that evening and in the months that followed. Emily and I were married, and not long after that, she joined the Auxiliary. Thus, I began to experience the great blessing of pursuing the mission of this ministry together with my wife as an Auxiliary.   

It has been a great joy for these last 34 years to have grown together with my wife. Living within the spiritual influence of her as an Auxiliary has resulted in extraordinary blessings in our lives. Looking back, it is evident to me that two are better than one. My life and our children’s lives have been richly blessed by living within the sphere of influence of my wife and their mother as an Auxiliary.

David W. Martin and his wife, Emily

The Blessings of Shared Ministry

You see, the Auxiliary plays an invaluable role for the Kingdom. From the very beginning, The Gideons was built on the idea of strengthening the traveling businessman’s testimony. No earthly person knows their husband like his wife, and a wife’s love accomplishes more in a man’s heart than can be easily explained. As Auxiliary, we direct people towards Christ through living out our faith, praying, and encouraging others. What an Auxiliary does for and with her husband strengthens him and his ministry efforts. I take great pride in joining my husband in ministry, supporting and encouraging him—that is the unique benefit of being a part of The Gideons International. Together, we seek to win the lost to Jesus Christ.

An Auxiliary taking part in a hospital distribution

I take great pride in joining my husband in ministry, supporting and encouraging him—that is the unique benefit of being a part of The Gideons International.