Testimony number one:
“I noticed a Bible on the dressing-table in the hotel. I was in such despair, I looked in ‘Where to find help when’. To cut a long story short, I found help and now I am a Christian.”
As the result of a business problem, a couple had to sell their home and move to a smaller house in a cheaper part of Britain. Just before they moved, they were given a Gideon Bible.
Some time later the wife wrote to say that her copy was in regular use and that she had become a Christian.
“When I was in the police force, Gideons came and gave out Testaments. I took one and began to read it. That book changed my life.”
You may be wondering whether this group of Christian business and professional people can be seen in the Eastbourne area. Indeed, yes!
Anthony Smith speaks on behalf of the local branch, which has in factbeen operating for more than sixty years.
Current members, some two dozen of them, visit all the secondary schools here to present Youth Testaments to Year 7 students, about 2,300 copies being given away each time.
There is a monthly ‘top-up’ on the wards of the District General Hospital, when about 150 Testaments are provided every twelve months.
Hotels and guest-houses also receive an offer of a Bible for every room, including the removal and replacement of soiled, damaged or ‘elderly’ former copies.
Lewes Prison is not forgotten in this important ministry, as Gideon representatives work with chaplains, and supply a hundred or more Testaments at special Christmas and Easter services.
In addition to all of the above, hundreds of Testaments are offered to individual people and are willingly received by many.
Anthony points out: “Our over-riding aim is not just to get them reading or even simply having their own Bible, but to help them to meet the Lord Jesus and find him as their Lord and Saviour.
We know that the Bible speaks to people, when they are quiet enough to hear God’s voice.”
What happens as a result of this outreach? Anthony again: “We are constantly surprised by the warm and friendly response, from hoteliers, schoolteachers, and the like. Occasionally, someone will simply refuse to take a Testament, but we have not met with outright opposition.”
One last comment: “There are many countries where the nationals cannot afford to pay for Bible distribution, so that we also share the privilege of assisting the Gideon work abroad whilst we make our local presentations.”
Hebrews 4, 12 is our verse for this occasion. ‘The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.’