Friday Blessing

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Hello

I knew of the Gideon Bible but I have just discovered your website and realised you are an organisation that helps spread the Gospel by sharing the Word of God with people.

The Gideon Bible saved my life on 11 November 2003. I was at the lowest point in my life, I lost hope in everything and in the world. Absolutely nothing could renew my mind or give me hope.  I was given a Gideon Bibles outside Middlesex University in Enfield, London. I read the whole book of Matthew and no words can explain the calm feeling that flowed from inside me, I felt this peace that I have not felt in a long time and I had the best nights sleep ever. I woke up the next day full of confidence and hope, the key Scripture that has been my anchor in my life since that day is to “live by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7.

My life has grown like a seed into a tree ever since. To keep my testimony short, I was told I would never have children but my faith has cured me and I am now blessed with two beautiful children, my son Jacob and my daughter Jada. My wife and I are truly blessed and we give all praise and glory to God and I thank Him for His power and wisdom that has renewed my mind and transformed my life from the inside out.

Thank you and God bless everyone involved in sharing the Word of God to the world. Now that I have found and discovered your organisation, I will now start supporting the work to help spread the Gospel.

God bless always,

Victor

Friday Blessing Live!

 

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This is Andy. In 2009 Andy wrote to the Gideons National Office from inside HMP Gartree where he was serving a life sentence for murder. This is the story he shared with us in that letter:

In August 2006, while in prison, I decided to take my own life. My situation had become so hopeless I had lost the will to live.

I sat in my cell down in the segregation unit waiting for the day shift to change over to their night time colleagues. It would be then that I would put the noose I had made around my neck, fix it up at the window and let myself hang to death.

No more pain and no more shame, that’s what I thought. Relief from the awful situation I was in, serving a life sentence for murder, the result of a drunken argument.

A quiet voice spoke to me, “Just read that Bible.” On the shelf sat a copy of the New Testament & Psalms placed by The Gideons which, until then, had been an object on the shelf in my cell. My mind answered immediately, “What good is that going to do me.” Again the voice replied, “Just read that Bible.”

I opened the book at the beginning,  Matthew’s Gospel, and started to read. It was just a list of names but something was stirring inside of me. Something was happening! At Luke’s Gospel it happened – the parable of the lost son. During this parable the tears started to flow, my hopelessness disappeared, the wretchedness I had suffered went as well and most of all the idea that I was unworthy of forgiveness was taken from me.

The angry, frightened, desperate person I had become ceased to exist there and then. I was found indeed. I wept openly with joy. Suddenly I had hope. I wanted to live.

Come Sunday, in the prison chapel, I went to the front and gave my life to Jesus.

Andy was moments away from taking his own life but the Lord spoke to him through that New Testament & Psalms placed by The Gideons. We have shared Andy’s testimony at many church services over the past few years and we have always looked forward to the day when he would arrive at the Gideons National Office a free man and share his testimony in person. Today the Lord blessed us with that day! Andy spoke this morning at a special meeting of the Gideon leadership at Chapel Street Christian Fellowship, Lutterworth. What an amazing blessing to hear Andy share his testimony himself in person.

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On the right pictured above is Pastor Alan from Chapel Street Christian Fellowship and he is praying here for Andy specifically that he would get a job and would get one soon. It can be extremely tough for ex-offenders to find work once they are released from prison and Pastor Alan and his church have committed to pray for Andy every day that he would get a job soon. Please join them and us in praying into this situation every day.

Friday Blessing

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Dear Gideons,

In October I was a patient in the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. I had broken my wrist and fractured my hip. I knew Gideon Bibles were in hotels as I have often found them there. Imagine my delight when I found one in the bedside locker the night before the operation on my wrist.

I was afraid and found such support from finding the few familiar passages such as Psalm 23 and others that friends were texting me to look up.

This is such a wonderful service and generosity you offer. I had no idea having been fortunate enough not to have been a hospital patient for all my life apart from aged 11 when I had my tonsils taken out.

This letter comes somewhat belatedly but nonetheless with my gratitude.

Warm regards,

Angela

A Pocket Full of Power

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Lester Harper is currently the Pastor at Reilly Springs Baptist Church in Sulphur Springs, Texas

I grew up in Northern Virginia, in a town called Manassas. I had loving parents who did everything in their power to raise me and my siblings right; they just didn’t take us to church. I remember making wrong decisions so many times growing up. I was a bad kid – a liar, addict, alcoholic, and blasphemer.

Halfway through my senior year of high school my principal came to me and said, “Lester, you have enough credits to graduate. You need to leave now. Don’t come back until June when you walk for graduation.” I was basically kicked out of high school.

At age 17, I felt a need to change my life. I didn’t even know who God was but I sensed him speaking to my heart. I enlisted in the military in an attempt to escape from the life I was living. I remember standing in the Military Entrance Processing Station in Baltimore, Maryland, when a man approached. He handed me a New Testament and said, “You’re making the best decision of your life.” I thought to myself: I don’t know, I’ve done a lot of crazy stuff but this is scary!

As I left for basic training I found out that my girlfriend was pregnant. We got married when I came home on leave in December but when I returned to training, life was a struggle. I traded a lifestyle of drugs for one filled with alcohol. I had a new wife, a child on the way and I was drinking myself to death.

I had no idea about the power of the Word of God but I knew there was something special about it.

For whatever reason, I carried that New Testament in my left front pocket. Every time I changed my uniform I would transfer it to the next front pocket. I had no idea about the power of the Word of God but I knew there was something special about it. Even when I deployed to Vicenza, Italy, on a Quick Reaction Force team I carried that New Testament with me.

Eventually, my wife arrived in Italy with my two week old daughter. I picked them up at the airport in Venice and took them to our home. Then, I jumped on an airplane to Congo. I came back six months later but then immediately went to Haiti. When I came back from Haiti I was off somewhere else. I deployed over and over again. Before I knew it my daughter was four years old and I had seen her very few times. In September 2001 I decided I couldn’t take it anymore. I got out of the service and I went back home to Virginia.

The next five years of my life were spent trying to rebuild a relationship with my family but I could not put what I had done behind me. I pulled out that New Testament and read Matthew 11:28 which says, “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” With that, I surrendered my life to Christ. I was baptised that year and I felt God’s call on my life to ministry. However, He wasn’t done and things got worse.

After Christmas in 2004, we lost everything to a house fire. A month later my dad fell off a scaffold and we had to shut down our masonry business. Feeling overwhelmed, I reenlisted in the military. Four years later I was in an airborne accident that shattered both of my legs, broke my back, and separated my shoulder. I thought to myself: What now, Lord?

On an airplane heading back to Landstuhl, Germany, I said, “God, You’ve got to give me something. I don’t know what I’m doing.” He said, “I called you into ministry, so why are you running?” That day, I surrendered my life completely. I prayed, “Lord, whatever it is you want me to, I will do it. I can’t do anything else now and there is nowhere to run.” The Lord called me to preach, so I became a minister.

My own power kept me running. His power gave me rest.

That New Testament was given to me in 1996 and I carried it with me because I knew it had some kind of power. It exploded in my heart and it revealed the one true God to me. It showed me where I could find what I needed. My own power kept me running. His power gave me rest.

Friday Blessing

 

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Good evening

I am just writing to you to say how much the Bible I received as a child has helped me through my teenage years and adult life so far.

I dated my Bible on 30/09/1998, the day my Granda passed away – as a school we were given them at St Bedes at Lanchester, County Durham. All children in my year received a Bible and no doubt some children at the time maybe didn’t seem to understand nor care for the importance it can hold or what help it can bring.

Through my teenage years I felt it help me in times when I needed advice or guidance. I started reading my daily passage when I was about 15 years old and I really felt it helped me so much at a crucial time in a young girls life.

Through the years I kept looking at certain helpful readings which were clearly labelled, e.g. prayers of thanks, grieving etc. It has helped me so much for the times I have lost loved ones and being able to say a prayer (I have even highlighted some) means so much to me.

Throughout these years I feel as if it has helped me so much so although maybe 100 are given out at a time, and only a small percentage may have it nearly twenty years later, I believe it has helped me unreal amounts and sometimes when I don’t know how to word it to God, the Gideon Bible does it correctly.

So thank you from the bottom of my heart for the kindness you all have done and the Bible will stay with me for hopefully the next twenty years. I wish you all the best and continue doing this fabulous work of spreading the Word of God.

Take care, Kind regards

Caroline

Friday Blessing – UP For The CUP!

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Fans of Stockport County Football Club were streaming into Edgeley Park in eager anticipation of their cup tie with the visiting Woking Football Club in the second round of the FA Cup. However, most of the fans would have been unaware of a unique event which took place earlier, at 12pm in the Club Boardroom, and would never have dreamt that there might be a special verse in the Bible for footballers!

Members of the Manchester South and Manchester City Branches of The Gideons were meeting with the Directors, Team Manager and Chaplain of Stockport County for a presentation of Bibles and New Testaments to the Club. John Powell, Chairman of the Manchester City Branch presented Jon Keighren and Steve Bellis, Club Directors, with a Bible printed on the front with the Club crest.

Bill Watson of the Manchester City Branch then presented the Rev. Billy Montgomery, Club Chaplain, with a similar badged Bible and pointed out the ‘footballer’s verse’, Philippians chapter 3 verse 14, where the Apostle Paul says: “I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus.”

James Gannon, the Team Manager of Stockport County, gave his appreciation of the gift of special Bibles to the Club and departed to complete the preparation of his team for the afternoon’s match.

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Tracy (centre) receives a New Testament & Psalms on behalf of the Club employees and volunteers.

The Gideon members stayed on to enjoy the match but despite playing very well, Stockport County sadly succumbed to a 4-2 defeat by Woking.

The presentation had been made possible through Gideons’ contact with Hazel Grove Baptist Church and their minister, the Rev. Billy Montgomery, who also happened to be the Chaplain to Stockport County. After Billy had gained the Club’s consent, two Bibles and 100 New Testaments & Psalms were printed on the front with the Club’s crest and a Club prayer inserted inside. Billy, in the course of his work as Chaplain, will be able to present the team members, club employees and volunteers with their special badged Testaments.

The Christmas Eve When Gideon Scriptures Circled The Moon

In December 1968, the world was in great need of a message of hope and peace. It had been a tumultuous year. War. Assassinations. Riots.

That Christmas Eve, the world witnessed history. The Apollo 8 spacecraft with its three-man crew became the first manned spacecraft to leave the earth’s orbit.

As with any journey into the unknown, there were no guarantees. The brave crew members realized their chance of becoming the first humans to see the far side of the moon was balanced against the risk they may not return home alive.

Robert Zimmerman’s book, Genesis, The Story of Apollo 8, details the events leading up to that historic Christmas Eve in 1968.

According to the book, a press conference was held a few weeks before the mission’s launch. A news reporter asked the crew members if they planned to make a “Christmas-type gesture from space,” given their lunar orbit would coincide with Christmas Eve.

The crew members didn’t have an answer. For the next several days, the question continued to nag at Frank Borman, the commander for the Apollo 8 crew. What message could they share that might help unite a world that had become divided in so many ways?

In Search Of The Right Words

With the Apollo’s launch growing close, Frank talked with his fellow crew members, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders, about what message they should share with the world once they entered the moon’s orbit. Suggestions ranged from citing the words of a prayer to reading an adaptation of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. The astronauts agreed, none of their ideas seemed fitting for such a momentous event, especially in light of all that had taken place in the world that year.

Help was sought from a professional writer, Joe Laitin. The challenge of finding the right words to say proved just as challenging for him. Hoping to draw inspiration from an artist’s rendering of the view that the astronauts would see from space, Joe began to write.

In the late hours of the evening, all he had to show for his efforts was a floor covered with paper wads. Then, in a moment of sudden inspiration, he thought, “Why not go to the Bible for the right words?”

Joe reached for a Gideon-placed Bible he had taken earlier from a hotel room. At the suggestion of his wife, Joe turned to the book of Genesis. As soon as his eyes landed on Genesis Chapter 1, Joe knew the words on that page would be the perfect words to mark the occasion.

The message was sent to the Apollo 8 crew. They all agreed the Genesis passage was perfect. Borman took the letter containing the Scripture and photocopied it onto fireproof paper. He stuck it inside the crew’s flight manual.

Incidentally, there were other copies of God’s Word aboard Apollo 8. After permission had been granted, Service Testaments from The Gideons International had been placed on board.

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This photo taken from the Apollo 8 that historic Christmas Eve shows the earth rising above the lunar horizon.

For All The People Back On Earth

At 9.30pm Eastern Standard Time on the evening of December 24th, people throughout the world tuned in for the live TV broadcast from the Apollo 8 crew’s historic lunar orbit.

As viewers watched the grainy black and white images of the moon’s surface, they heard the voice of Major Bill Anders breaking through the static.

“For all the people back on earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message that we would like to send to you.” Anders then began reading from Genesis 1:1,

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…”

He read through the end of verse four, and Captain Lovell took over reading with, “And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night…”

After Lovell finished with verse eight, Colonel Borman picked up. “And God said, “Let the waters under the heaven be gathered unto one place.” He continued through the end of verse 10, “And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas: and God saw that it was good.”

Borman signed off saying, “And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas. And God bless all of you, all of you on the good earth.”

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

moon-landing-1968-2On that December 24th, Scripture pulled from a Gideon-placed hotel Bible was read live to an estimated one billion people in 64 countries, one of every four people on the planet at that time. No single event had ever drawn such a large TV viewing audience.

At some point in history, a Gideon placed a hotel room Bible as part of a mission to reach the lost with God’s Word. When Apollo 8 left Earth, it was carrying Scripture pulled from that Bible. That Christmas Eve in 1968, in the dark expanse of space, those two missions came together, while the world watched and many celebrated the birth of a Saviour who came to Earth to redeem us from our sins – the greatest mission of all.

Watch the historic broadcast of the reading of Genesis by the Apollo 8 crew members on December 24th, 1968 here https://vimeo.com/195973358

 

Opportunity Amidst Tragedy

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The following story came from Roger Meagor in the Worcester Branch of The Gideons International and it tells of how God used a tragedy to spread the Gospel through Friends of The Gideons.

Alan, one of our church members, was knocked off his bike on the last day of March. He was airlifted to the QE Hospital in Birmingham where he stayed for two weeks. He had damaged three of his vertebrae which left him paralysed from the neck down. In spite of this he witnessed to the many people he met there, supported by his wife Janet who visited him nearly every day.

He was airlifted again by the same helicopter crew to the spinal injuries unit at the Albert Jones & Alice Hall Orthopedic Hospital at Gobowen, near Oswestry. In spite of being confined to his bed and unable to do anything for himself, he and Janet were witnessing again to the different people who were attending to him. He soon gave away the seven Gideon New Testaments he had with him.

He and Janet became Friends of The Gideons which enabled Janet to obtain a good supply of New Testaments.

As time went on he had his 65th birthday and regained some feeling in his arms and legs which meant he could be hoisted out into a purpose designed wheelchair which he operated with his chin! In August he was discharged from the hospital at Gobowen, but before he left he offered each of the medical staff he had met a New Testament & Psalms, several accepting one.

He and Janet are now living in a suitable bungalow near Cirencester with two residential carers as well as other medical personnel coming to see him. The carers change frequently but before they leave they are given a New Testament as well as being witnessed to whilst they are living there. As the carers come from a range of different countries, Alan and Janet are having an international Gospel witness without leaving the house! As Friends of The Gideons they have given away twenty eight New Testaments over the last seven months and have just asked for some more.

We have “good news that will cause great joy” to share and Alan and Janet responded to God’s call on all our lives to be witnesses for Him. As you share the good news this Christmas we trust that you will be blessed and encouraged as you join us in our mission of winning lost souls for our Lord Jesus Christ.

Friday Blessing

 

On Tuesday this week, Tony and Teresa Lovering were invited to join Jaguar Land Rover’s (JLR) carol service led by the Christian Fellowship at JLR. They had the opportunity to set up stall next to the mince pie table and offer people a New Testament & Psalms as they passed by or picked up a mince pie.

They met a lady there called Srilakshmi who emailed Tony and Teresa the next day, this is what she shared:

Dear Tony and Teresa,

I hope you are doing well,

I was very glad to talk with you at Jaguar Land Rover on Tuesday 13th December 2016. I would like to share my testimony with you, my name is Srilakshmi Channamallu and I am from India.

When I was 11 years old The Gideons came to my school and distributed the Gideon red Bible. I stored that Bible but I did not read it. I come from a Hindu family who worship stones and ideals, I used to do the same but I did not feel happy about that.

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Srilakshmi pictured at the Jaguar Land Rover’s carol service.

Before accepting Christ, my life was not wonderful. My parents and relatives felt very sad about me because my behaviour was very arrogant, I had a lack of knowledge and my behaviour was bad. I searched for God but I did not find anything.

When I was 16 years old my mother observed my behaviour and she suggested to me that I should try other gods, that I had better try Jesus as He may suit me, He may like me. My mother was not a Christian at that time.

At the age of 16 years old I started reading the Gideons Bible. God spoke to me and still He is speaking to me. He said heaven and earth may pass away but my words will never pass away. Your mother may leave you but I will never leave you nor forsake you. Humble yourself and I will exalt you. Love your neighbour, however you love others I love you the same. I started putting this into practice and I received His peace. Now I am with Him and He is with me.

By His promise He exalted me and now has put me in this job at JLR as His testimony. Now my parents and sister they are also walking with Christ. My husband also accepted Christ and we are serving God. God blessed me with two children to serve Him and I lack nothing in Christ.

Glory to God.

Thank you, Srilakshmi

Doncaster Rovers Football Club

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November 2016 saw eight members from the Doncaster Branch of The Gideons present 300 Badged Testaments and 2 Badged Presentation Bibles to Doncaster Rovers Football Club (DRFC).

It all started in May when local member Chris Axelby was invited to a Bishop’s Breakfast. Here, Chris sat down with a stranger to enjoy breakfast and some local company. The first person Chris spoke to unknowingly was the Doncaster Rovers Support Services Manager. He was shocked to be sat next to a Gideon, especially as he had recently spoken with the Chaplain to DRFC about Bibles for staff and players. He and Chris were amazed that they should be sat together that day!

The result? On Thursday 17 November, Chris and 7 other Gideons met the Chief Executive of DRFC and the Chief Operating Officer. They presented them with 2 special DRFC Badged Presentation Bibles. In reply the CEO, Gavin Baldwin, invited all the Doncaster Gideons to attend a home match with him, including refreshments! The Doncaster members then had the opportunity to present Badged Testaments to some of the players, staff, groundsmen and chefs.

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Everyone from the CEO to the apprentice groundsman were thrilled to accept a copy of God’s Word with their own club badge in gold on the front and they readily started diving into the “Where to find help when…” section.

So it all started with a “chance” meeting but so far God has made available to the people of Doncaster another 302 copies of His life saving Word.