The 2014 Dominican Republic International Scripture Blitz

by The Gideons International on January 22, 2015

Children praying during Dominican Republic ISB 2014

Students reverently bow their heads as Gideons lead them in prayer. © 2014 The Gideons International.

In November, local Gideons in the Dominican Republic’s capital city of Santo Domingo conducted an International Scripture Blitz. An international team of Gideons from the USA, Germany, and the British Isles had come to assist them, led by the blitz team leader, International President of The Gideons International, Dr. Bill Thomas.

Months of prayer and planning by members around the world went into preparing for this seven-day event.

Would their goal of distributing 140,000 Scriptures prove to be too ambitious? Would the people of the Dominican Republic be open to receiving God’s Word? Would Gideons get opportunities to personally witness and help lead men, women, and children to a saving faith in Christ?

Gideons Prepared For Challenges
Located on the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic represents the eastern part of the island. The rest of the island comprises Haiti. About one million of the nation’s ten million citizens live in the capital city of Santo Domingo.

During the blitz, Gideons experienced a number of challenges¬–ranging from language barriers to extreme heat, and torrential rains that left a foot of standing water in some roads. However, God was in total control. None of the challenges could stop this Spirit-filled team from sharing God’s Word with students and faculty at 183 schools and three universities they visited.

An Open Spot For Personal Witnessing
Outside of one of the shopping malls, Dr. Thomas came face to face with a parking attendant named Claudio.

“Do you believe in God?” Dr. Thomas asked the young man.

“Yeah, I think so,” he replied.

“Well do you know where you will go when you die?” Dr. Thomas asked him.

Claudio admitted he didn’t know the answer to that question. And for perhaps the first time in his life, he realized he needed to know. So there in that parking lot, Dr. Thomas opened a New Testament and shared the message of the Gospel with Claudio. And with his permission, they led him in a prayer as he asked Jesus to enter his life as his personal Lord and Savior.

Door Opened, Lives Impacted

Man with Gideon New Testament

Just one of the over 160,000 Scriptures distributed during the 2014 Dominican Republic blitz that is now making an eternal impact. © 2014 The Gideons International.

Gideons had been praying for months for open doors to distribute Scriptures on this island. As it turned out, the doors were opened to an even greater extent than anticipated. Nearly everyone they offered a Scripture to accepted one.

There were the many school teachers who said, “Please come in and share Jesus with our students.” And there were the students, whose faces glowed with excitement as they received their own personal copies of God’s Word and made public decisions to receive Christ into their hearts.

“Entering the schools and sharing the Gospel was an experience I will never forget,” said Bob Hathcock, one of international team members from the USA. “To see students and teachers come forward and pray to ask Christ into their heart caused me to once again realize that The Gideons International is truly a life and death ministry. I will return to my home camp with a greater burden to get the Word out to a lost and dying world.”

“The sense of God’s presence was evident from the time I left Wales,” said Graham Ellis of the British Isles. “More blessings and great fellowship ensued during a week packed with opportunities to place Scriptures into the hands of boys, girls, men and women.”

“Everybody on the team caught the vision of reaching the lost for Jesus,” said Dr. Thomas. Robinson Candelario, a leader in The Gideons International in the Dominican Republic, was instrumental in coordinating the Gideons’ activities for this event.

By the end of the event, the team had exceeded their original distribution goal by more than 20,000 Scriptures, for a total of 160,447 Scriptures distributed to the people of the Dominican Republic.

We thank everyone who participated in this blitz. And we thank the many pastors, members, donors and other supporters whose prayers and donations helped make this blitz a great success. And most of all, we praise God and give Him the glory for all that His Word will accomplish as it continues to go forth in the Dominican Republic.

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Blessings in Belgium: The 2014 Belgium International Scripture Blitz

by The Gideons International on January 13, 2015

A student is happy to receive a New Testament from Gideons distributing copies of God's Word on his campus during the 2014 Belgium ISB.

A student is happy to receive a New Testament from Gideons distributing copies of God’s Word on his campus during the 2014 Belgium ISB.

“Do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” was the theme of the International Scripture Blitz in Belgium, home to 11 million citizens.

The local Gideons and Auxiliary were joined by members from the United States, Finland, France, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. Each morning, the team began with prayer in Dutch, French, Flemish, Swiss, Finnish, Italian, and English. They felt especially enthusiastic as the trip was held right in the middle of the Christmas season. All week, team members greeted people with Christmas spirit while distributing the Word of God, the true reason for holiday celebration.

There were challenges. Many facilities rejected Scripture placements with comments such as, “We cannot accept Scriptures; we must cater to everyone.” In addition, a national strike shut down all public air and ground transportation, causing schools and universities to close early for holiday breaks. Protesters blockaded traffic, preventing smooth transportation from one distribution site to the next. However, your prayers were present and God still had plans for Belgium.

One team visited a local seminary where students from over 35 countries were studying for ministry. The Gideons were asked to explain the history of The Gideons International and emphasize the importance of the partnership with local churches. After the presentation, International Treasurer Allen J. Huth gave the students a pop quiz. “Who provides the money for the Scriptures we distribute?” he asked. “Churches!” they shouted. “Who provides the members for The Gideons International?” he continued. “Churches!” they shouted again. The Gideons left that day encouraged by the future pastors who clearly understood their significance in partnering with The Gideons International to win people to Christ.

There Are No Coincidences
As one team called a prison to schedule a distribution, they discovered the prison was hosting a training session for chaplains from across northern Belgium. Instead of reaching just one prison, the team had the opportunity to explain the Gideon prison ministry to nearly 30 chaplains at once.

After a discouraging morning of school closures and rejections, a group of Gideons decided to take a break for lunch. They prayed for God’s intervention. As they headed back out after lunch, a large group of students was walking down a sidewalk right in front of them. The Gideons learned they were all headed to a Christmas program. Gideons took the opportunity to distribute another 200 Dutch New Testaments to the students as they entered the school program.

By the end of the week, over 45,000 Scriptures were distributed. Since The Gideons first organized in Belgium in 1965, over 1.2 million Scriptures have been placed in the country. Praise the Lord for His marvelous grace and divine plan.

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