When a Gideon gifted a red Testament to a young girl at a school in India, the words intrigued her to read more. A subsequent series of events paved the way for her to embrace God’s love and grace. Her story is a powerful witness to how God works miracles in our everyday lives.
Jesus calls all believers to be His hands and feet—to live sent. This principle, which echoes Jesus’ words in John 17:18, describes the spiritual urgency that drove a team of Gideons and Auxiliary to serve the people of Hermosillo, Mexico, earlier this year.
Hermosillo is located in the northwestern part of the state of Sonora and is a large metropolitan area with close to one million residents. Most people consider the area to be affluent—mainly due to a large, successful automobile plant. Hermosillo is also one of the hottest cities in the country as it has a desert-like atmosphere. The team found the mornings to be a little chilly and the afternoons to be relatively warm. In the evenings, the city lights filled the night skies.
Spiritual Preparation Leads to Fruit
The team found there were already solid connections formed with local business leaders in schools, hospitals, police stations, and hotels. Michael, a Gideon from Ohio, was in the hotel lobby excited and ready for God to use him to reach people for Jesus. He had no idea what was about to unfold next. As he sat in the lobby waiting for his local team to arrive, he noticed a hotel employee who had just finished cleaning the floor close to the front desk. When he approached her with a Spanish Testament and tried to explain what it was, she could not understand him. Much to his relief, a young Spanish gentleman saw his dilemma and came over to help. He was bilingual and translated for Michael as he shared the Helps section and the Gospel message. They discussed her beliefs. She believed in God but had never surrendered her life to Him. Michael led her in prayer to ask for God’s love, forgiveness, and salvation. After she finished praying and signing the back of her Testament, the young man translating asked if he could sign his because he had prayed the same prayer. God was not done yet. The desk clerk had overheard them talking, and he wanted a Testament as well. He asked Michael to lead him in prayer. Michael was overwhelmed, “In my first 15 minutes, God had provided me with an interpreter and then welcomed three new Christians to His fold.”
The local Gideons in Hermosillo also took advantage of the excellent working relationship with school administrations. In this area, they only have access to Christian schools; the rest of the distributions are done on sidewalks, much like other parts of North America. Chuck, a Gideon from Florida, recalls an experience with a security guard at a school gate. The man was fluent in English and lived in the United States as a young child. “We spoke for about a half-hour, as this young man poured his heart out to me. Christian was struggling to turn from his sinful desires. He knew who Jesus was, but he didn’t ‘know’ Jesus,” remembers Chuck. “He now knows Jesus more intimately and has committed to follow Him.”
“We spoke for about a half-hour, as this young man poured his heart out to me. Christian was struggling to turn from his sinful desires. He knew who Jesus was, but he didn’t ‘know’ Jesus.”
Mitch, a Gideon from Arizona, had the pleasure of being on the sidewalk just outside a school entrance. Local Gideons and Auxiliary joined him. Together, they met a young lady, Alejandra, who looked sad when she was offered a Testament. She began asking questions in Spanish. Mitch knew Erika, one of the Auxiliary close by, was fluent in Spanish. Erika introduced Alejandra to Jesus and explained to her the only way to new life. The next few minutes, as Mitch and the team silently prayed, Alejandra chose to follow Jesus. “All of us were teary-eyed as we watched Alejandra walk off to class,” remembers Mitch.
While Gideons distributed Scriptures at a middle school, three boys joyfully received a Testament as all of them held their new gift to their nose to smell the little blue book. One of the students was a Christian. He said, “It’s new,” with an excited voice. Another one of the young boys explained to his friends, “When you go to church, read the Psalms…” He then explained to them about Jesus. The third boy had never seen a copy of God’s Word. This was the first time that he held a Testament in his hands.
God continued to move at other middle schools. One boy was already inside the school when Gideons began the distribution. When he realized that the Gideons were giving out free Testaments to the other students, he went back outside and called out, “Sir, can you give me a Bible?” The Gideon went to give him a copy of God’s Word, and the boy said, “Please wait, I want to call my friends; they also need one!” Then another six students came to receive a Testament. The Gideons were blessed to see boys and girls so hungry for the Word of God.
Planting, watering, reaping
Gideons also found access and open doors at local universities. Bill, a Gideon from Texas, was used by God to share the plan of salvation with a University of Sonora student, even though he did not speak Spanish. Bill saw the Holy Spirit move through the Word in the form of a Spanish Testament that the student understood. “This is the greatest Scripture distribution experience I’ve had since becoming a Gideon nearly 20 years ago. The Spirit of God moved, and I have never experienced this kind of tremendous desire to share God’s Word as I did this week,” he says.
Dr. Bill Bryant, a Gideon from Kansas, had the opportunity to meet a young university student named David, who approached him and showed him he already had a Testament one of the other Gideons had given to him. He spoke broken English, and Bill was able to discuss the contents of the Testament. Bill learned David went to church on various occasions. “As we walked through the plan of salvation, David appeared to lack confidence in where he would spend eternity. We talked and prayed together, and at the end of our time, David willingly signed and dated his Testament. What another sweet example of one planting the seed, another watering it, and God reaping His harvest,” said Bill.
For His Renown
The Gideons stayed sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading throughout the week—this act of obedience led to more than 94,000 people being reached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Spirit of God continued to move, even as the team traveled home. One of the Gideons encountered Heidi, an airport employee, in the Phoenix airport. After speaking with Heidi, she told him she “thought” she may be going to Heaven but now, through his witness, “knows for certain” she will spend eternity with her Heavenly Father.
The team visited over 100 schools, more than 25 universities, 30 hotels, and 15 hospitals. Why? Because Jesus calls us to go—to live sent for His name, renown, and glory.
The Gideons International delights in being a missionary arm of the local church. Throughout our history, members of this Association have locked arms with pastors and churches to reach more people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. No matter what circumstances may arise across the globe, this mission will never change.
For four pastors from four unique parts of the world, serving alongside local Gideons and Auxiliary has resulted in fruitful ministry. May their experiences inspire other Christ followers to keep sharing the Gospel and encourage pastors to faithfully continue equipping the body of Christ.
Pastor Jose (Colombia)
As Pastor Jose prays and thinks through the ways he and his congregation can best impact families with the Gospel in Bogotá, Colombia, The Gideons International comes to mind. Twenty-six years ago, in the city of Cali, he encountered the Association when a church member invited him to a meeting with The Gideons. “I very much enjoyed the testimonies, and I liked what I heard,” Pastor Jose affectionately recalls. Since becoming a pastor, he has stayed in close contact with The Gideons. In fact, a Gideon frequently comes to his congregation to share how God is using the Association. His congregation also invited local Gideons to train, equip, and help them share their faith. He knows The Gideons provides an opportunity for those in his church to participate in expanding the Kingdom by adding new believers. “When I look at the Gideon emblem, I immediately think of reach and impact. I have had a long admiration for the work God is doing through The Gideons International,” says Pastor Jose.
Pastor Raja (India)
Pastor Raja in India has also been ministered to on a personal level by The Gideons. He first learned about The Gideons while working for Lufthansa. Every hotel he stayed in had a Bible placed by The Gideons. “There were times when I felt low, and I used to open the Bible in the hotel for comfort. I don’t know whether you can comprehend what you have done to save lives. This ministry has been influential in so many people’s lives. It has been in my own life,” says Pastor Raja. Another connection to The Gideons has been through a spiritual figure in his life—a woman he now calls Mom. She has family members who are Gideons and mentioned the Association as a great ministry partner. Through her influence, his church now partners with The Gideons to provide more Scriptures. Raja looks forward to a continued partnership and hearing about the many people changed by the Gospel. He knows with the truth of the Gospel, a significant impact can be made for the Kingdom.
Pastor David (Florida)
Pastor David Delph, who leads First Presbyterian Church in Plant City, Florida, treasures the worldwide impact his congregation and Gideons make together. He has welcomed Gideons to share with his congregants about the work God is doing in and through the Association. “I began to learn more about The Gideons by having lunch with the members who came and shared with us. After the worship service, we would eat, and I heard the stories and passion for getting the Word out. I got a grasp of what God was doing through these interactions.” Pastor David also loves The Gideons’ passion for coming alongside him and his congregation as an arm of the Church. It’s a phrase he has heard many times over the years and has experienced firsthand as a pastor. “One of the desires of Gideons is to be a tool that your church can use to send Scriptures to a place that, perhaps, your church can’t physically get to, but together we can get the Word out.” He loves the healthy relationship he has with Gideons in Plant City. “They come beside us and don’t ask for anything of us. Never once have Gideons put pressure on me to do anything. They simply want to be there as an arm of the Church—to get the Word that changed my life and the lives of many others out into the world.”
Pastor Derek (Colorado)
Pastor Derek Jones serves as the lead pastor at Applewood Baptist Church in Wheat Ridge, Colorado—a 60-year-old congregation known for international missions, intentional discipleship, and reproducing/funding church plants. Within the 750-member congregation, nearly 20 faithful Gideons serve as key leaders in the church. Not growing up in church, Pastor Derek had previously never met a Gideon. Yet, he quickly became a huge supporter of the Association’s vision and ministry reach. “I have gotten to know these godly men in our church as we serve together,” says Pastor Derek. He continues, “I think about Gideons like Bob in my church who always has a Testament with him and is faithfully sharing Jesus with others. That is the type of example I desire to see in all our members—that is what I want to see reproduced.”
“There is no better time to get the Word of God in people’s hands,” he says. “The church grows when it gets persecuted. The passion of Gideons for Jesus Christ needs to continue to change the culture of the local church. I’m excited about what the Lord will do in the days ahead.”
In 2 Timothy 4, Paul gives his young protégé timely instruction. He teaches Timothy to “…always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:5 ESV) These past several months have been challenging for pastors and churches. However, God is faithful, and The Gideons International is extremely thankful for the countless men and women called of God to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We applaud how God uses you to fulfill your ministry, and we stand beside you as partners to fulfill the Great Commission.
Daily life during 2020 continues to change. What began as fear, panic, and uncertainty for many believers has also produced a renewed sense of peace and thankfulness for every present moment God gives us. It seems this year has been a stark reminder to make the most of the influence we have as Christ-followers…as men and women who understand the lasting hope found only in the Gospel.
In late July, Gideons and Auxiliary began leaning into God’s direction to take action. While many of our normal ministry activities were put on hold, we knew God had a unique assignment for us. Following His leading, we launched an effort called Reach Responders—a simple way to show appreciation to those in our communities and neighborhoods worldwide who are helping others during this time. These men and women often feel empty and drained after pouring into others. Such exhaustion is the perfect place for God’s peace, love, and comfort to intervene. In addition to expressing appreciation, Gideons and Auxiliary are taking this opportunity to pray for these individuals, and offer a Testament, explaining how Scripture gives lasting hope during our toughest times.
So, how is Reach Responders working? We’ve gathered some recent success stories to show how God is at work through this effort.
Gideons and Auxiliary in Illinois knew it was time to act after one Gideon had an interaction with a frontline worker at a local hospital who was exhausted and discouraged. This opened the door for them to distribute Testaments to over 50 frontline workers. In addition to the free gift of Scripture, they also provided lunch as a way to let the workers know they are appreciated. Members in Illinois continue to look for opportunities to reach others who may be searching for the light of Jesus Christ.
Adolfo, a Gideon from the Dominican Republic, shared the following recap from Reach Responders efforts in his region:
Reach Responders is a gift from Heaven. Our members are shoulder to shoulder and face to face with these men and women, working to win the lost for Christ. Seven people came to know Christ in the Dominican Republic in just one Scripture distribution to first responders. Reach Responders is encouraging our camps to work—to fight the good battle of faith. Thanks be to God for what He allows us to do. We are working under all the protective guidelines to take care of our members’ health. We are blessed to know the Lord and declare His great name!
Don and his wife, Brenda, from Somerset, Kentucky, recently reconnected with a young man they knew from Sunday School, who is now a police officer in Somerset. Don and Brenda could tell this season has been hard for him and his team. Don wanted to do something, so he went to his fellow Gideons with a plan. Together, they visited the Somerset Police Department for a time of Scripture distribution and prayer.
“Our members are shoulder to shoulder and face to face with these men and women, working to win the lost for Christ.”
The local officers were grateful for the Gideons and their ministry efforts. These Gideons hope to reach all local fire departments and emergency medical services over the next few months.
Bradford County, Pennsylvania
Eager to embrace Reach Responders, Dale, a Gideon from Pennsylvania, decided to contact police stations and emergency services personnel in his community. He began by thanking these men and women, then he asked if he and fellow Gideons could come by for a visit. The responses were unanimous: yes! The Gideons spent three days distributing God’s Word and expressing words of appreciation to local responders.
Because He First Loved Us
As Christ followers, we are called to love one another, just as Christ first loved us. John 13:35 (ESV) tells us, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Scripture distribution and personal witnessing are just two of the tangible ways that Gideons and Auxiliary worldwide love others in their communities.
“As Christ followers, we are called to love one another, just as Christ first loved us.”
We are thankful for the ways God is allowing us to remain active in ministry and present in local communities by opening doors to share the Gospel with medical personnel and first responders. It has been and continues to be a blessing to put the Word of God into seeking hands. There is no greater gift or answer than the truth of Scripture.
We invite you today, and in the days ahead, to look for the doors God is opening around you. Let us together continue to seek first His Kingdom, His will, and His righteousness to bring hope to the world.
The inspiring story of the birth, growth, and impact of The Gideons International.
By Beth Brannan
September 18, 2020
When you think of The Gideons International, what comes to mind? Bibles in hotel rooms? Small pocket Testaments? Men speaking in churches about what God is doing around the world? These images may be iconic, but they are just a small picture of who Gideons are, our enduring purpose, and how God has used us for more than a century to take His Word to the world.
Now you can get a more complete picture of what God has been doing through The Gideons in Witness to History—The Story of The Gideons International. This brand new book is now available at WitnessToHistory.org.
For the most part, the work of The Gideons has been accomplished without much publicity or fanfare. However, Witness to History provides a deep dive into the story of an Association that has endured for over 100 years. Witness to History presents a decade-by-decade account of The Gideons utilizing many never-before-shared photos, ministry records, first-hand accounts, and more.Each chapter covers events how members faithfully met the challenges and opportunities of their times.
“Witness to History provides a behind-the-scenes look at how Gideons adapted, interceded, labored, and triumphed through the decades as they faithfully and diligently accomplished the work God placed before them. The milestones and personal stories are astounding and inspiring.”
So how did The Gideons International—an Association in which hundreds of thousands of men have served around the world—begin? Small. Like so many lasting endeavors, it started with a strongly felt, tightly focused, determined effort to make a difference.
In the late 1800s, the three founders of The Gideons International sought to meet a need among their peers. They wanted to create an Association for Christian traveling men to identify and support each other when away from home. The effort to place Bibles in hotel rooms started a bit later, in 1908. Those Bibles were a great way to help traveling men avoid sin and temptation while away from their families. (Look for the full story in Witness to History starting on page 35.)
It’s fitting, then, that the iconic image of The Gideons may well be Bibles placed in hotels. These Bibles quickly became, and have remained, a comfort to travelers of all sorts. As Gideons check these Bibles for wear, we often find notes and messages left by those who interacted with them. Praise God for how the presence of His Word in a hotel room leads to an encounter with the Holy Spirit—sometimes just in the nick of time. Here is one of the personal stories from Witness to History (page 44):
A man went into a hotel in San Francisco, secured a room with the intention of committing suicide, and laid a vial of poison on the table while making preparations for the final act. When he stepped to the table, he discovered that accidentally he had put the vial upon a Gideon Bible. As he opened it, his eyes fell upon the reference: “If discouraged or in trouble, read Psalm 126 and John 14.” He read these two selections, threw the bottle of poison out of the window, knelt, and then and there gave his heart to God. He is today an active church member and a good citizen.
What will you discover as you read about the history of The Gideons International?
You will see how faithful men of God can listen, follow, and accomplish huge things by first achieving small things well. (Matthew 25:23) Founders of The Gideons did not initially have a powerful worldwide vision, but they did envision a powerful impact. Their vision quickly caught fire in the hearts of members. Former National President Samuel R. Boggs expressed it well:
“A world-wide ministry! What a blessed thought. How it should take us to our knees in humiliation of spirit and we pray God that this may be accomplished.” (Full passage in Witness to History, page 67.)
And that’s key. Read Witness to History, and your vision of how diligent faith can be used by God to result in broader impact is sure to grow, as well.
Witness to History provides a behind-the-scenes look at how Gideons adapted, interceded, labored, and triumphed through the decades as they faithfully accomplished the work God placed before them. The milestones and personal stories are astounding and inspiring. For example, you’ll learn the answers to questions like these:
Who first proposed that churches assist in funding The Gideons efforts to provide God’s Word? (You might be surprised!)
When was the Auxiliary introduced, and how are they an integral part of the Association?
What amazing doors did God open to The Gideons just before the United States entered World War II?
What is the furthest a Gideon-provided Testament has traveled? (Hint: it happened during the space race.)
How quickly did Gideons respond and provide God’s Word to Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall?
What significant milestone did Gideons celebrate on September 10, 2001? When you learn what this was, we predict you’ll be praising God for the spiritual comfort He ensured was available around the world before that fateful day.
And how are the Gideons of today compared to those who came before?
About that last question . . . reading Witness to History will illustrate that the Gideons of today are not so very different from the Gideons of earlier decades. In fact, on page 82, we find leaders who attended the ministry’s 1934 International Convention claiming:
“. . . the entire party seemed to be more of one mind and one spirit to carry out the purpose of Gideons ‘evangelism.’ It seems to me that this convention deepened the conviction that each of us could do more to place God’s Holy Word than we have formerly done.” —C.T Grizzard, Secretary, Georgia
“. . . all of one mind, one body, one hope, one object, one Lord over all.” —W.M. Amderding, Vice President, St. Louis Camp
Today, Gideons still embrace a vision that says: One Spirit, One Mind, One Vision—Striving Side by Side for the Faith of the Gospel. The Gideons of yesteryear would definitely feel akin to the Gideons of today.
Steadfastness may be an enduring trait of members of The Gideons International. However, the most crucial truth shared by Witness to History is not the efforts of Gideons, but how the growth of the Association attests to the constancy of God and His marvelous plan to use His Word to share Jesus with the world. He heard the prayers of three men who dreamed of helping their peers, fulfilled that prayer, and then guided them to begin a ministry that would one day span the globe.
“ . . . the most crucial truth shared by Witness to History is not the efforts of Gideons, but how the growth of the Association attests to the constancy of God and His marvelous plan to use His Word to share Jesus with the world.”
A lesser-known truth about The Gideons International is that while some members travel extensively on behalf of the Association, most members live and serve in their own communities. This is actually one of our strengths. Who better to reach a culture than those from that culture?
Dive into Witness to History, and you’ll come away celebrating the fact that Gideons speak in hundreds of accents and languages. Yet, our voices are the same in ways that are most important—they are prayerful, praise-filled, and boldly sharing Jesus with those around us.
So the next time you’re in a hotel, and you find a Gideon-placed Bible in the drawer, we hope you’ll smile and remember that the prayerful hope of three traveling men more than a century ago put it there to provide comfort and guidance for all those traveling, including you.
“We’re going to worship Satan now. You should leave if you’re not interested in participating.”
Those were the words Roy Pate heard at 3:00 a.m. in a hotel in Saginaw, Michigan. At the time, he was studying to become a professional musician and was invited with a friend to network at a famous band’s after-party. The man who made this statement proceeded to pull out a book called The Book of Satanic Worship. “I didn’t even know such a thing existed,” Roy recalls.
He decided to excuse himself from the room. No one else left, not even his friend.
Unexpected New Friends
Roy went downstairs to the hotel lobby, where he found a Gideon-placed Bible. He sat down and looked through the Helps in the front of the Bible, desperate to find something. When nothing on the list spoke to his specific situation, he decided to start reading. To this day, Roy doesn’t know the specific Scriptures he read, but he kept reading until he fell asleep.
“To this day, Roy doesn’t know the specific Scriptures he read, but he kept reading until he fell asleep.”
He woke up the next morning in the middle of the hotel lobby. Roy saw a conference room across from him where eight or ten men all had their heads bowed. He knew they were praying. He didn’t know how they would receive him, but after the night before, he had to talk to someone. He barged into the room with no knock or polite request to enter—he simply walked in.
“What are you guys doing here?” Roy asked. He expected them to call security and have him escorted from the room. Instead, they explained that they were members of The Gideons International and were having their morning prayer meeting.
One man asked if Roy was a believer. “I told him I wasn’t, but I was interested in learning more about Jesus,” remembers Roy. Just like that, the man reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a little book. He handed Roy a Testament and told him to open it to the back page. The Gideon told Roy that God loved him and asked him to read the Scriptures listed under that statement. “He had me read them for myself, rather than simply telling them to me,” Roy recalls. He read Romans 5:8 about God proving His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Jesus freely died for mankind. These words were good news to Roy, especially after the experience he’d had the night before.
Then the Gideon had him read Romans 3:10, which states, “None is righteous, no, not one.” (ESV) That verse struck a chord with Roy. He knew he wasn’t righteous. He knew the kind of person he was and what kind of life he had lived. “Even though I always thought I was a halfway decent person, I certainly wasn’t righteous. Yet, Christ died for me,” Roy admits. This man went on to tell him the remedy for sin was Christ, who died for our sins and was buried and raised on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3–4). He told Roy he could be saved and accept Christ into his life. He had him read one more verse—Romans 10:13. Roy learned everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
Roy vividly remembers what happened next. He recalls:
“I ended up on my knees with tears in my eyes beside that Gideon. The others in the room joined us in prayer as I accepted Christ. Jesus came into my life, and I was reborn. We opened to the back of that Testament again, and I signed my name. There’s no way to describe how great God is!”
In Just the Right Place
The road was difficult for Roy in the days ahead. The first thing that happened to Roy after he gave his life to the Lord was him getting arrested. He and his friend had left the hotel only to have his car break down on the way home. Angry and frustrated, Roy got out of the car. He was a new Christian, and he didn’t know how to handle this situation. He started crying out, “God, please help me.” Soon, the police arrived and charged him with disturbing the peace. Since no one could bail him out, he spent three days in jail. However, he found God—again, in a Gideon-placed Bible in the jail. Roy spent three days in jail immersed in God’s Word.
Over the next few months, he read the entire Bible. He finally understood the Gospel and the need to proclaim it. He began to declare that Christ is Lord, who rose from the grave and conquered death. People around him thought he was mentally disturbed. They called the police and had him institutionalized for psychiatric evaluation. “I would answer every one of the psychiatrist’s questions the same way—I believe in the Lord. That’s what it amounts to,” says Roy.
“However, he found God—again, in a Gideon-placed Bible in the jail. Roy spent three days in jail immersed in God’s Word.”
While he was there, another patient started going into a rage over something. It terrified him and everyone else around them. Luckily, there was a Bible from The Gideons in that facility, too. Roy opened God’s Word and began reading aloud from the Book of Psalms. As he read, the raging man grew calm. Roy learned in that moment how the Word of God makes a difference in people’s lives.
Today, Roy is a Gideon. He knows the work of fellow members in the Association is significant. How does he know this? Because in some of the toughest moments in his life, God used faithful Gideons to minister to him. “I am passionate about what we do as Gideons. We need to trust and have faith in God and His ability to continue helping us spread His Word.” This work changes lives—Roy Pate is one of them.
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We often find ourselves in places we never thought we would be. God uses situations, people, and circumstances to direct our paths as we search for purpose. For Dr. Raymond Leung, his life of unexpected turns is a testimony to God’s unwavering love and pursuit of His children.
Raymond was born in China but quickly left with his mother for Hong Kong. Life was tough. For them, leaving a Communist society also meant leaving a wealthy family behind. Raymond’s mother was not equipped to provide for him. The only job she could find was carrying concrete bags on a construction site for fifty cents a day. As a two-year-old boy, Raymond lived with his mom on the streets under a stairway. Each day, his mom would go to work and leave him to fend for himself. “Somehow, I never got lost or hurt and made it home every night,” recalls Raymond. He didn’t know it then, but God’s hand was on his life—even before He knew God.
Over the next few years, Raymond’s mom saved enough money for them to go to America seeking a better life. They arrived in Los Angeles and lived in the basement of a home. Being a United States citizen, Raymond’s mother went to work in a factory, and he went to school, where he struggled for the first time in his life. Back in Hong Kong, he was a straight-A student. In America, it was a different story. He would get into fights at school as his peers would mistreat him. He did not know the English language but knew he was a smart young man. On top of this significant life adjustment, it was still just Raymond and his mom—no other family was around.
only God can help you
Raymond wanted to be successful. After all, his mother had come to America, so he would have a chance to be prosperous. One day, his mom gave him $1.00 and told him to go down the street to a local church. His mom’s co-workers at the factory had told her, “Only God can help your son get better.” The church down the street was the First Chinese Baptist Church in Los Angeles, California.
“Only God can help your son get better.”
God was at work, and Raymond’s life was soon to change forever. In May 1966, he met Eugene Wilkerson, who taught a Sunday school class for students his age. Summer camp was coming up, but Raymond could not afford the $15.00 to go. Eugene, knowing the impact camp could have on a young person’s life, stepped in and paid for Ray to attend. At summer camp, Raymond heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the first time. He was compelled and moved by what he heard. That day, Raymond became a new creation in Jesus Christ, and his life has never been the same. There was an immediate change in his behavior and relationships. He was no longer disrespectful to his mom, and his grades improved. His homeroom teacher even said, “This can’t be the same kid.” The Gospel changed him, and he wanted to dedicate his life to the God who had pursued him. As a high school student, Raymond began serving at the church in various capacities.
a New Path Forward
After graduating from high school, Raymond received a scholarship to the University of Southern California, where he majored in chemistry. While in college, he continued to mature in his faith and started a Bible study in the dorms. In 1976, he was accepted into medical school at the University of California-San Francisco. There he also started a Bible study while performing six years of residency in the field of surgery. While attending medical school and being in leadership at the Chinese Christian Fellowship, he began dating a fellow medical student named Monica. The couple married in 1982.
In 1986, Raymond and Monica moved back to Los Angeles. Dr. Leung started a private practice in surgery. As a Christ following, bilingual-speaking surgeon, he desired to serve low-income Chinese-speaking patients. He fulfilled this dream for the next thirty years of his life. In the midst of this, his family started attending the First Chinese Baptist Church again. Dr. Leung served as a Sunday school teacher for young adults and served on the membership committee at the very place that meant so much to him as a young boy.
“I Want Everyone to Know the God of the Bible”
In 2010, Raymond and his family started going to church at Calvary Chapel Sun Valley to be closer to home. It was here God opened Raymond’s eyes to another way to serve the Kingdom of God. One Sunday, Raymond heard a speaker from The Gideons International for the first time. Raymond was so motivated by the mission of this Association that he immediately joined as a member and was excited to partner in God’s work with Gideons and Auxiliary across the globe.
A month later, while reading the pages of a Gideon newsletter, he read the name “Eugene Wilkerson” in the obituaries. Dr. Leung was filled with emotion as he recognized this as the man who introduced him to Jesus and made way for him to attend summer camp. Eugene Wilkerson, a Gideon, invested in the next generation. Dr. Leung now had the opportunity to do the same.
Why did Dr. Leung join The Gideons? “I want everyone to know the God of the Bible. I’m a living example of God taking care of His people—it doesn’t matter your past; God can change you. I want to share the Scriptures with people in all languages,” he says.
“I’m a living example of God taking care of His people—it doesn’t matter your past; God can change you. I want to share the Scriptures with people in all languages.”
As a Gideon, Dr. Leung has joined other Gideons in Scripture distribution opportunities, served in various local leadership roles in the Association, and shared with congregations how God uses His Word to impact lives all over the world.
Dr. Leung retired in June 2019, and he and Monica moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, to be near their daughter and two grandchildren. In this new season of life, his mission is the same—to introduce people to the God who pursues His children. “God is so good to me; He prepared the way out—even before I knew Him,” says Dr. Leung.
Sometimes small towns are filled with people who have hearts that are larger than life. If you drive 90 miles south of Washington D.C., you arrive in Page County, Virginia, home to a couple that fits this description. Carl and Linda Quintrell are lifelong residents of this county, which is home to less than 25,000 people and the beautiful Shenandoah National Park. In this small town filled with hospitality, Carl and Linda have raised a family, cared for their parents, and decided to make their life’s mission larger than Page County.
Five minutes apart
Carl, a retired electrical engineer, grew up seeing the Shenandoah River from his front porch in Newport. His mother stayed at home to help raise him and his older sister, while his father worked in the Page Valley hatchery and raised chickens, among other things. His father was also an avid baseball fan. “This led to many special family memories engaged with the sights and sounds of various baseball teams,” says Carl. The Quintrell home was also built on strong Christian beliefs. Carl’s dad was the church treasurer at the family’s home church, St. Paul Lutheran Church.
Linda, an accounting clerk, grew up five minutes down the road from Newport in a town called Stanley. She, her sister, and two brothers were raised in a home filled with Christian influence. They, along with their parents, were members at Leake’s Chapel Church of the Brethren—a small congregation of no more than 60 on a typical Sunday. “My parents have always been inspirational in my life. This began with us praying and reading the Bible together as a family,” says Linda. After years of deep spiritual sustenance, it was during a revival as a preteen that Linda came to know Jesus Christ as her personal Lord and Savior.
Carl and Linda did not meet until Linda was a junior in high school. As they say, “The rest is history.” This Fall, the Quintrell’s will celebrate 38 years of marriage. Through the highs of a raising two daughters and creating memories with their three grandchildren and the lows of losing two family members in recent years, their faith remains foundational for everything in their lives.
Together, Carl and Linda have been active at Leake’s Chapel for many years. One particular memory at the church was when Carl, and their daughter, Carla, were baptized on the same Sunday. Carl has served in many roles with the congregation over the years, including webmaster, managing the church’s social media accounts, the media ministry, and serving as treasurer of the men’s group. Linda has previously served on the board at church and is heavily involved in the women’s group.
more than hotel bible men
The Quintrell’s also share another vivid church memory from their childhood—Gideons coming to share about the ministry of taking God’s Word across the globe. As children, they knew Gideons as “the hotel Bible men.” Carl and Linda got to know Gideons on a personal level later in life. They quickly realized there was more to the story, and Gideons were not only church speakers and hotel Bible men. At the same time, people saw something in the way the Quintrell’s lived their lives that maybe they didn’t see themselves. Carla, their daughter, would say, “Dad, you would make a good Gideon. You should consider joining.”
One Sunday morning, it all came together. A Gideon name Randy Clark came to Leake’s Chapel to share an update on what God was doing through The Gideons International. Yet, this Sunday was different for Carl. He approached Randy at the end of the service and started a conversation. Randy and Carl were both graduates of Virginia Tech and immediately found common ground. Randy saw and heard Carl and Linda’s passion for serving and asked them to consider joining. In 2019, the Quintrell’s did just this and quickly became active members in the Association.
a change of perspective: What is a Testament?
As engaged new members, Carl and Linda began participating in the various aspects of the ministry they had long admired. Carl went on a hotel distribution with the camp and was impressed with making sure hotels were supplied with the correct number of Bibles and ensuring they were in mint condition. Carl and some fellow Gideons were a part of a Scripture distribution at a nearby university. Before they started to distribute the Testaments, camp leadership instructed the Gideons to ask students, “Would you like a copy of God’s Word?” Most students would not be familiar with the term “Testament.” This newfound realization made a considerable impact on Carl. “Where I come from, most people know what the Old and New Testaments are—the realization that some of these college students wouldn’t recognize a term like Testament was very revealing to me,” recalls Carl. At the same time, many students were appreciative of what the Gideons were doing. He adds, “I remember some of the students thanking us for our efforts and even offering us a bottle of cold water on that hot August day.”
The Quintrell’s have found a great connection with their fellow Gideons and Auxiliary. “These brothers and sisters in Christ have become like family to us. Saturday morning prayer time is special,” says Carl. “This Association is filled with godly men who are carrying out the Great Commission together.”
“This Association is filled with godly men who are carrying out the Great Commission together.” —Carl
Linda supports Carl and the efforts of other Gideons as an Auxiliary. She looks forward to greater involvement in the Association and loves being active in prayer. She says, “Serving together as a couple shows unity. There are so many people in our world lost without Christ. I’m passionate about reaching the lost, as well. We have the chance to give someone a Testament that will change their life. It’s not just Page County we are reaching; it’s the whole world.”
Storms in life will come. However, it’s Who meets us in the storm and our response that makes the difference. There was a point when Brant Lindsey faced storms, and his life started to unravel. At the time, he thought everything was going fine. He met his wife in high school. The couple had been married for 19 years and had two sons, Chris and Greg. After, he got a construction job working out of town, and things quickly went downhill.
While on a job, Brantreconnected with a former classmate from junior high. She told him she was going through some difficult times and needed to talk to someone. He agreed to go to dinner with her, not seeing any harm in one conversation. One conversation led to a motel room.
He went home and told his wife about the affair, then told her he wanted a divorce. She cried as he had broken her heart. He felt so ashamed for what he had done. She told their sons what had happened, and he could see the pain it caused them. He thought he was unworthy of such a good family and could only see one way to fix things—he was going to commit suicide.
He walked into the bedroom and pulled his pistol from the bedside table. The couple had a chair in the corner of the room. He sat down and put the barrel of the gun to his head. Before he pulled the trigger, a thought stopped him. “I couldn’t shoot myself in our house with my family inside. I need to go outdoors.” He hid the gun in his pocket and walked past his wife through the front door.
As he made his way around the front of the house, the mailman dropped their mail into the mailbox. He saw Brant and waved, then pulled into our driveway. The mailman asked if he could talk to Brant for a minute. The family had lived in this house for 15 years, and a mailman had never done that before. He told Brant that he wanted to invite the family to his church the next morning. Brant tried to brush him off, thanked him, and said his family might go. Then the mailman started pleading, “Please, please come to church.” Brant thought about the gun in his pocket, and he told himself he would just do it later.
Brant went back into the house and told his wife they were going to church the next day. Again, she cried. She told him she had been praying for this—praying for them. He was not a Christian, then. Prayer was not even on his mind, but the family went to church. Then, they went again for the next three weeks.
a Heart Saved
On the fourth Sunday, the pastor preached on John 3:16 (ESV), “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” When the invitation came, Brant sat frozen, white-knuckling the pew in front of him. Those words stayed with him as he left for another off-site job the next morning.
All the workers were staying in a motel until the job was finished. On his first night there, he tried to find something on television, but he couldn’t settle. He left and took a walk a few times, then tried the television again. Nothing worked. He heard something within say, “Brant, there’s a Bible in that dresser drawer. I want you to go and get it.” He pulled open the drawer and found a blue Bible from The Gideons International.
Brant told the Lord he didn’t know where to start reading. He felt the Lord impressing on him to pick a passage and start reading. He read Luke 8:22-25 and the story of when Jesus calms the storm. He felt Jesus tell him, “Brant, if I can save these disciples from this fierce storm, I can certainly save you from your sins. Just yield to Me.”
He placed the Bible on the bed and fell prostrate on the floor before the Lord. Weeping, he surrendered his life to Jesus Christ. “He rescued me from my sins that night, and I’ve never been the same. I called my wife and told her the amazing news. She cried with me and praised God. We told our boys and started regularly attending church, then Sunday School. We were there every Sunday after that decision,” Brant joyfully recalls.
“Brant, if I can save these disciples from this fierce storm, I can certainly save you from your sins. Just yield to Me.”
a Heart Comforted
Triumph and tragedy would follow these days. When Brant’s son Greg was 17, he and his cousin BJ were led to Christ by their youth pastor. A year later, BJ was killed on Greg’s 18th birthday. Eight months after BJ’s death, Greg was killed on the job alongside Brant when a crane boom fell on his chest. Brant tried to pull the boom off his son, but he died underneath it. He cried out to the Lord, not understanding why this would happen.
Their local church rallied around the family. During the darkest time in their lives, God was a tangible presence—He ministered to the family and helped them see His goodness in saving Greg and BJ before they passed. They died with Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. “I know that God has a wonderful place for them now,” says Brant.
This knowledge fuels Brant and his wife’s ministry of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. Brant is currently involved in a prison ministry and knows it is rewarding to carry the name of Jesus into the jails and see inmates come to faith in Christ.
“When I think about storms, I think about the passage God used to lead me to Himself. He knew I would face storms in life. He knew that I needed a Helper to get through them. I believe with everything in me that there is no help like the Lord Jesus,” says Brant. One of Brant’s favorite passages of Scripture is Isaiah 41:10 (ESV), which says, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” God sought him and found him. God called him and saved him. God healed him and wrapped him in His loving arms in that motel room. “When Greg died, I felt those same loving arms around me. I look forward to the day when I can meet my Savior face to face,” says Brant. He looks forward to this day because he has experienced firsthand the Savior in the storms.
“When I think about storms, I think about the passage God used to lead me to Himself. He knew I would face storms in life. He knew that I needed a Helper to get through them. I believe with everything in me that there is no help like the Lord Jesus.”
God is still calling His children to diligent and rewarding Kingdom work. While this past year has been filled with challenges to many of our Association’s ministry opportunities, our calling and mission remain the same. People still need Jesus and His Gospel.
Gideons and Auxiliary in Guatemala have seen God open doors that allowed them to have several in-country blitzes (ministry efforts where Gideons and Auxiliary distribute Scriptures in approved areas and share their faith as God leads) across ten cities this past February. Ministering and sharing the Gospel in cities including Guatemala City, San Marcos, Totonicapán, and Antigua, were fueled by a hunger to see God save souls despite any roadblocks that may have been in the way. These members found God opening doors to reach school teachers, hospital workers, first responders, military personnel, and inmates. The following are some of the unique ways ministry occurred:
Reaching Teachers with the Gospel: During these blitzes, schools were not meeting in person due to COVID-19. Yet, learning was still taking place through teachers’ concentrated efforts to get information and lessons to their students. They arranged for parents to come by the school to get baskets for their children with food, supplies, and educational resources. In place of normal Scripture distributions at the school, Gideons and Auxiliary took the opportunity to witness to the teachers using Personal Workers Testaments. Teachers were encouraged with the hope of God’s Word even while they were encouraging parents and students.
Ministering to the Army: Gideons were able to give all of the soldiers in one county a Testament. Gideons would go to the capital and connect with the chief commander to begin this process. A great, long-standing relationship with these officers helped in providing opportunities to minister. Some of these officers are Christians and even called local Gideons on occasion to ask for Spanish Testaments as the need arose. But most importantly, it was gifting these soldiers with the message that could change their life that mattered the most.
Meeting Spiritual Needs: Outside of ministry engagements with educators and the military, local members found great success in sharing the Gospel and a copy of God’s Word at over 40 hospitals and more than 20 prisons. They also had a significant reach to first responders at over 70 locations. Many of the men and women in these places had significant needs or found themselves in challenging circumstances. Amid this reality, Gideons were able to share God’s love with them.
Delight and hunger
During a distribution in the Ceiba Blanca village of San Martín Zapotitlán, Retalhuleu, Gideons were also looking for personal witnessing opportunities. Mario approached the Gideons and let them know he was desperate because he could no longer find a way out of his life. He had many problems with his wife and also had an alcohol addiction.
He felt there was no solution.
But the Gideons knew there was a solution, and His name was Jesus. The Gideons shared the love of Christ with Mario, which led to him receiving Jesus as his Lord and Savior.
Twenty days after this encounter, the Gideons who had ministered to Mario learned he suffered a heart attack and passed away. Though sad, these Gideons found joy in knowing Mario was now in the presence of His Savior.
Exhausted yet pursuing
The Gideons and Auxiliary were blessed to be a part of what God was doing as hearts and lives were turned to Him during these blitzes. They felt the reality of the spiritual battle at hand, yet God was gloried through their prayers, strategic preparation, and efforts. Members also found great comfort knowing their families were praying for them.
And Gideon came to the Jordan and crossed over, he and the 300 men who were with him, exhausted yet pursuing.—Judges 8:4 ESV
Much like Gideon and his men in the eighth chapter of Judges, these Gideons and Auxiliary were a part of tireless efforts but kept doing what God called them to do. This diligent yet rewarding work is what God desires of all His children as we win others to faith in Jesus Christ.