I was sharing my testimony with a bunch of Christians earlier this week, and the starting point to it all was a Gideons New Testament I received from your organisation many years ago. The people I shared with encouraged me to tell you my story in the hope of encouragement to you to keep doing what you do, and as a thank you, because I don’t know what my faith journey would have looked like otherwise…
When I was in Year 7 in high school, in 2007, two people came from Gideons into a school assembly. I can’t really remember what they said to us if I’m honest, but I remember receiving a little, red book, containing the New Testament and Psalms. I didn’t have very many friends in high school, and I spent many break times and lunch times alone. I always had the little, red book in my blazer pocket and I decided to start reading it just to help me feel a little less lonely. I read through Matthew and Mark, not really thinking too much about the fact I was reading about God, but I was just intrigued by the story.
There’s prayers in the front of the book, and I committed some of them to memory, and at the end of each day I would say the Lord’s prayer, and a prayer of forgiveness of sins, not really to anyone in particular, I just said them for myself.
In 2009, in my geography lessons, I ended up sat on a table with four Christians, and they mentioned they’d seen me reading this Bible and asked if I believed in God. I wasn’t really sure so I started asking them questions about Him, and from there they invited me to their church youth group, where I continued to question things for the next two years.
A teacher joined our high school and set up a Christian Union and at this point I was so used to hanging round with the Christians I just went. I kept asking questions there, always wanting to find out more and weigh up if I believed in God or not. Then the teacher that ran the CU invited us all to hear him preach at his church the next Sunday. We went as a group, and it was great, I enjoyed the service. But it wasn’t until the end, whilst we were worshiping that I felt God’s presence; and in that moment I realised all the things I’d learnt about God were true. I knew in my head that He loved me, but it wasn’t until that moment that I realised in my heart…
That was May 2012, and many things have changed since then. I now study at a theological college and feel God may be calling me into ministry, so I’m in the process of discerning that with others.
Sorry to have written so much. My hope is that this will in some way encourage you to keep sharing the Gospel, and to keep giving out Bibles to all sorts of people. I am thankful for the work that you do, and the way that has changed my life. Even before I came to know God, the difference it made to be able to read something and take away the fact I felt lonely was massive.
May God bless you and the work that you do,
Yours in Christ,