Friday Blessing

The following letter arrived in the post this morning:

Dear Sir/Madam

I am a prisoner currently residing in HMP Wymott.

It’s almost a cliché about prisoners finding God in jail but He has been very patient with me and I have come to realise the love that Jesus has for every one of us, prisoner and saint alike.

I was in church last Sunday and was given a Gideon Bible by one of the Chaplains. On the inside of the Bible it says that I can write if I have been helped. This letter is a thank you for this wonderful gift of God’s Word. I find so much hope and inspiration in what Jesus did and His sacrifice for all of us.

So thank you for spreading the Word of God.

Yours sincerely

Martin

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Changing My Life

We recently received the following email entitled ‘Changing My Life’:

Hi

I live in South Africa and last year my parents were on a trip in the UK just before Christmas. They were walking down the street when someone offered them both a little red pocket Bible.

My parents aren’t usually the kind of people to take things like this. Living in South Africa you know not to take anything that has been given to you on the street but for some reason or other my parents made the exception and even asked the lady if they could have three more, one for myself, my brother and my boyfriend. The lady, with a smile and without hesitation, handed them three more.

At first, this Bible was just something that was in my bag but as the year progressed I started reading it more and more until it became something very, very dear to me and that I couldn’t do without.

Although I have always been a Christian, my life has significantly changed since picking up this Bible and really starting to read it. Although I understand that it is God’s Word that has worked with me and in me and has spoken to me through this Bible, I just want to thank whoever it was in your organisation for their kindness. For giving away five Bibles to my family and enabling me to build and rebuild my relationship with my Saviour, Jesus Christ.

I pray that your organisation is blessed and that you will continue to change people’s lives and introduce them to the Word of God.

Thank you very very much.

Friday Blessing

Stan

This morning I decided to visit some friends who worship in St Clements Church in Neyland, Pembrokeshire.

As I sat by my friend Betty, a birthday card was handed to me to write a greeting in. I was told it was for Stan who will be 102 years old later this month.

After the service I was having a cup of tea and, seeing Stan in his best suit looking very smart, I decided to have a little chat with him. Stan looked familiar to me and I asked him if he had been present when The Gideons had given a presentation at the church just a couple of years ago. Stan replied that he had, and that he had later received a large print New Testament and Psalms from The Gideons as he now had trouble reading his small Gideon New Testament.

I had been at that presentation and I remembered meeting Stan after the service and he told me how he got that little New Testament. I was blessed that he repeated the story to me again that morning, so that I can share it with my Brothers and Sisters.

Many years ago, Stan’s son Terrence was seriously ill in Morriston Hospital. Whilst in hospital, Terrence was given a Gideon New Testament for his personal use. Sadly, Terrence passed away at the age of only twenty two and his father Stan received the little Testament and took it home.

I remember when we first met Stan and, with a small tear in the corner of his eye, he shared how he had read that Gideon New Testament every day, practically wearing it out. It had meant so much to him.

Later on, his vicar Rev Alan Chadwick, had emailed me to see if we might be able to provide a large print Gideon Testament for Stan, so that he might continue to enjoy God’s Word as his eyesight is now failing. Thankfully we were able to provide the largest size Testament that The Gideons have printed and I was able to drop it off for Stan.

I was told by Alan that the Testament had been very well received and was a great comfort to Stan as he passed the age of 100 years old.

So this morning, after realising who Stan was, I asked him how he was finding the large print Testament. “It’s the best thing I have ever been given” was Stan’s firm reply, wagging his finger as he said those words with a smile. “I keep it in the kitchen and read it after breakfast every day and it’s on the shelf for everyone to see!”

I don’t know who in the Swansea area gave Stan’s son, Terrence, that first Gideon New Testament whilst he was in Morriston Hospital, but I do know that it has been well loved and a great encouragement, especially to Stan. That little New Testament is still treasured by Stan but as he reaches 102 years young he is very, very grateful that the Gideons also do Testaments in large print!

We may never know where our Gideon New Testament and Bibles will end up, or whose lives they may touch on their journey…but God knows, and that’s good enough to encourage me and my Gideon friends to keep giving them out here in South West Wales.

Yours in Christ

Andrew Scadden, Pembrokeshire Branch of The Gideons

Friday Blessing

Dear all at Gideons,

My name is Neill Hudson. I am a 50 year old Christian who used to work for the Salvation Army. I had just got married, and like most young families we were finding things tough financially. I left the Salvation Army employment and as things became more difficult, the more hours I would work. Eventually I found myself working seven days a week just to keep our heads above water.

A few years came and went and I worked what seemed like incredibly long hours and saw less and less of my family and I missed them as much as I know they missed me. I became incredibly tired and eventually went to see the family doctor who took some blood for tests.

I went back to work and the following morning I received a phone call telling me I had late-onset type 1 diabetes. A diagnosis I was shocked but not particularly surprised by as all my family were diagnosed with the same condition. Anyway, I not only walked away from the Lord but I committed one of the worst sins I could, I led my family away from the Lord also.

On the 13 September 2017 I was admitted to Cheltenham General Hospital where I was operated on and had my left leg amputated below the knee. Today, Monday 18 September, I was sat in my wheelchair feeling sorry for myself, packing my belongings away in my locker when I found a New Testament and Psalms placed by The Gideons.

I let it fall open and you hear of people having these wonderful epiphanies but there it was! Psalm 46, “Be still, and know that I am God.”

What a foolish man I have been. I tried leading my family when all I needed to do was leave it with the Lord. I’ve done that tonight in my hospital bed. I rang my wife and we prayed together on the phone and we are going to go back to church.

Things are still quite tough but I am excited after rededicating my life to the Lord. Please feel free to use this witness statement because I will be telling everyone, not as my own glory, but the Lords.

Neill Hudson

Friday Blessing

I have had the privilege to have been invited into Albany and Parkhurst Prisons by the Prison Chaplain during the past few weeks. On the 24th July I was able to spend three hours with 21 prisoners at Albany Prison, Isle of Wight. It was a time of great blessing as I was able to share what the Lord is doing through The Gideons International and sharing a number of testimonies of the power of the Word of God.

One prisoner pulled out from the inside of his trousers a polythene bag with his Gideon Testament he received at school in 1976. At the end of my presentation one prisoner asked for prayer and another one wanted to know how he could become a Christian.

On the 7th August I visited Parkhurst Prison, Isle of Wight and spent two hours with fifteen prisoners. Once again it was a time of real blessing.

One prisoner shared his testimony with me. When he entered the prison he was given a Gideon Bible by the Prison Chaplain. When he was given the Bible he said he had no use for it and put it to one side. However, after two years he decided he could take no more and had decided to end his life. He saved up all his sleeping tablets in preparation to take them all at once.

The time arrived when he was prepared to end his life and got the glass of water ready. He put the tablets into his mouth and as he put the glass of water to his lips he heard a voice saying, “I am with you” at which time he spat the tablets out of his mouth and turned to the Gideon Bible and grasped it and said, “Is that you Lord?” As a result of this experience he started reading the Bible and realised he needed the Lord and asked the Lord to forgive him and invited Him into his life.

Every blessing

Gordon Ainger, Member of The Gideons Isle of Wight Branch

Friday Blessing

Dear Gideons,

I have recently been in the Royal United Hospital, Bath, with a very serious illness (a cancer growth in my spine and lung). This was a terrible shock as it came on very suddenly and as you can imagine I was devastated.

I just wanted to tell you what a comfort it was to find your little Bible in my bedside cabinet, I don’t know what I would have done without it – the ‘Where To Find Help’ in the front of the Bible is amazing and gave me so much hope. I also thought it was lovely to receive visits from The Gideons in Bath – such nice people and so helpful to be able to pray with them.

The good news I can give you is that the emergency radiotherapy and drugs they have given me have worked wonders and I am now home as the CAT scan showed that the cancer has disappeared. The consultants exact words were that the scan showed no cancer as before and that they are so pleased with me but it is a complete mystery to them how this could happen so quickly.

I have no doubt the medical things helped but I know that the prayers from all my friends and especially the Bath Gideons have been the main reason for my recovery.

I cannot thank you enough and hope you will keep up such good work in the hospitals.

God bless you

Margaret

Friday Blessing

Merseyside Police 1

Hello All,

A few weeks ago, we received an email from Tony Lovering, Scripture Manager for The Gideons International, regarding the Christian Police Association National Day of Prayer.

Our Branch had been in contact with Alan, a Community Engagement Officer with the Merseyside Police and asked if they would like to receive some New Testaments, embossed with the Merseyside Police crest on the front. Alan had already received some before which had all been passed on to either Officers or retired Officers.

We had a small stock left which I passed on and ordered another 100 which I took round to the Police Headquarters one afternoon. Alan was delighted to receive them and other Officers were coming over and asking for one before I had even finished opening the box!

God’s Blessings

Ron Barber, Member of the Wirral South Branch of The Gideons

Merseyside Police 2

Warcop Army Training Camp

Hi Everyone

Greetings from sunny Cumbria.

Yesterday, bright and early, Jim and Jenny McCallum along with William and June Allen from South Lakeland Branch visited the Army Training Camp at Warcop in Cumbria. Nearly 400 Cadets from the Lothian and Borders Battalion were in the camp for two weeks training.

IMG_2246

Their Padre, Cameron Mackenzie, a fantastic Christian ambassador, gave the Cadets a wonderful “Gideon Talk” on the parade ground, using the illustration of a sat nav. He emphasised the need for direction and guidance in all the complexities of life. The Bible provides both.

Padre Cameron Mackenzie
Padre Cameron Mackenzie

Jim then made a presentation of an Army Cadet Force Badged Camouflage Testament to a 17 year old young Cadet which was gratefully received after which we ended up in the camp coffee shop talking with the uniformed Army Cadet trainers.

A very worthwhile experience!

Jim McCallum
Jim McCallum making the presentation to a Cadet

Friday Blessing

Lord bless you

Dear Gideons

A few years ago I wrote to thank you on behalf of our son for the New Testament you placed in his hands at the beginning of his first year in secondary school.

Three years later as he moves into Year 10 that New Testament is still his most treasured possession and well read. He has other Bibles, but that one goes pretty much everywhere and he reads it at night. He has since left that school and attends a different secondary school however that visit and that gift was probably the most treasured and import life lines in what was otherwise a grim time at the previous school. The Lord is gracious, however, and he is now extremely happy in his new school and still walking with the Lord.

However, that isn’t the main reason I am contacting you. Once more it is to say a huge ‘thank you’.

My father, now in his late 70s, was admitted into hospital yesterday in Telford. As the years have gone by he has become very frail, has many medical conditions and although he loves the Lord still, has become increasingly stubborn and belligerent. He is also convinced that everything he reads in the press is true to the letter and as a consequence he has a completely irrational fear of hospitals.

After a long and tiring day of tests and admission procedures he arrived in the ward yesterday evening. As I was unpacking his bag, at the back of the locker I spotted a Gideons New Testament. And that is why I am emailing you.

I showed it to him and he became so excited and genuinely happy. I can’t say what a blessing that was. I have no idea if he will ever leave the hospital and if he does if he will ever go home but he was delighted to find that Bible yesterday.

So, could I say a huge ‘thank you’ to whoever placed those Bibles in that hospital. You helped settle a very awkward patient in a hospital he hates. That Bible brought him peace.

Please persevere with your work. It is tough in the public arena in the UK today but do know you are making a huge difference. Our Lord and Saviour is gracious, compassionate and loving. Above all He knows His own – even if they have turned into grumpy old men! His Word is precious and powerful and He makes a difference.

Thank you. May God bless you all mightily and keep you safe and cause His light to shine upon you all.

With all of our love and thanks

Amanda and Family

Friday Blessing

The following encouragement was submitted by Bob Cooper of the Bournemouth of The Gideons a few weeks ago:

My wife Jane and I went to Richmond Park Church in Bournemouth recently to speak about the work of The Gideons. Like most Branches who visit churches we have a display and put out a range of our Bibles.

As we were chatting before the service we were introduced to an overseas student, Akihiro. He had wandered into the church a few weeks before and had been coming ever since. One of the church members came up and asked if it would be possible to have one of the Testaments that were on display as Akihiro didn’t have one of his own. He was Japanese and noticed the Bilingual Japanese/English Testament. We had seen this Testament when we put out the display but had no idea what language it was! Naturally we said yes.

We see the Lord’s hand in this. The timing was just right. A few weeks earlier he wouldn’t even have been there. We were there just at the time he needed a copy of God’s Word. Our Branch has never needed or asked for a Japanese Testament and have no idea where that Testament came from or how it got into our display materials. It just shouldn’t have been there!

We need to pray that as Akihiro reads his New Testament the Holy Spirit will work in his life and bring him to the Lord.

Then just this week, Bob emailed to say:

“Just to let you know that your prayers have been answered. Akihiro came to the Lord a couple of weeks ago and we had the joy of meeting him last week.”

Praise the Lord!