The 2014 Kenya ISB: Speeding Ahead With God’s Word

by The Gideons International on September 26, 2014

Kenya ISB 2014 Image

One of the many students who were thrilled to receive a copy of God’s Word from The Gideons International during the 2014 Kenya International Scripture Blitz. Over the course of the two-week event, Gideons distributed over 600,000 copies of God’s Word. © 2014 The Gideons International

“Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you,” – 2 Thessalonians 3:1 (ESV)

Inspired by Paul’s prayer request in 2 Thessalonians 3:1, Gideons and Auxiliary made that passage their theme verse for the two-week International Scripture Blitz (ISB) this September in Nairobi, Kenya. They were praying for a sense of urgency as they would be sharing God’s Word in schools, medical facilities, and other locations. They had set a goal of distributing 400,000 Scriptures.

The blitz goals included sharing Scriptures with students in over 1,500 schools in less than two weeks. It seems impossible that a handful of teams could begin to share God’s Word in that many schools in less than two weeks. The task would seem even more daunting given some of the remote areas where the schools were located.

A team of 22 Gideons from Germany, Switzerland, British Isles, South Africa and the U.S. came to help the Gideons and Auxiliary in Nairobi, Eldoret and Kisumu.

“The local Gideons were very well organized,” says Cal Lucas, who served as the team leader for the blitz. The logistics for getting the teams and the Scriptures to and from the distributions had all been planned.

Kenya Students And Teachers Receive God’s Word With Enthusiasm
The schools were very excited to see Gideons bringing the Word of God. “We were amazed at the opportunities and open doors,” says Rodney Jones, another Gideon from the U.S. “From primary and secondary schools to high schools, the headmasters were all very open to our visits. They were eager to drop what they were doing and call an assembly so we could explain to the students what these Scriptures we were distributing were really about – bringing a message of hope through Jesus Christ.”

At one school, a teacher told the Gideons that prior to them arriving, the only Scripture references they had access to were a few verses printed in some Gospel tracts. With the New Testaments the Gideons were bringing, the students would have so much more of God’s Word from which to read and grow.

As Gideons entered the school assemblies, they announced to the students, “We have brought a gift for you.”

The children beamed with joy as they received their Scriptures. The Gideons tied the giving of Scriptures into the salvation message, telling the students, “Just as Christ reached out His hand with the gift of eternal life, we are reaching out our hands to give this gift to you.”

The lasting impact of the Scriptures distributed by The Gideons International can be seen on these blitzes.

At one school, Gideons asked the principal if he was familiar with the Gideons.

“I know the Gideons very well,” he replied. He then pulled out a worn New Testament from his pocket. His daughter had received it from Gideons in March of 2010. “This book changed our entire family,” he told the team, as he welcomed them into the school to distribute more copies of the life-changing Scriptures to the students.

“I’ve traveled for years serving in The Gideons International,” says Lucas, “What I have noticed in Kenya is that it is by far the most Christian country. We are seeing the residual effects of what happens over time when copies of God’s Word are distributed in schools and adapted as part of the school’s curriculum. The students line up by the hundreds, and most can quote Scripture.”

The members of the team on this blitz were thrilled as they saw great numbers of students responding to the Gospel message and making public decisions to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

Exceeding The Scripture Goal

Local Auxiliary also participated in the blitz, distributing copies of God’s Word in medical facilities. Other distributions made by the Gideons included jails.

We thank the Gideons and Auxiliary in Kenya whose planning for the blitz helped ensure its success. We thank pastors, donors and other supporters for their prayers and financial gifts to help provide Scriptures for these blitzes. And most of all, we thank God and give Him all the glory and praise for every Scripture distributed and the lives we know will be impacted for years to come as a result.

By the end of the Scripture Blitz, the teams had exceeded their original distribution goal, and had distributed over 600,000 copies of God’s Word to the people of Kenya. Keep coming back to our blog in the weeks ahead for stories from upcoming Scriptures blitzes, as we approach the distribution of our 2 billionth copy of God’s Word.


Addicted to the Word

by The Gideons International on September 16, 2014

In middle school, I remember a Gideon handed me a New Testament after class. I was raised in a Christian home and thought I knew all there was to know about being a Christian, so I set the book aside for several years.

At age 19, I became involved with drugs and alcohol. I drank every chance I could find and went through ten different jobs before landing a full time position at a clothing factory. I was assigned the late shift, and found I had a lot of time to myself during work hours. So, I decided to read the Bible.

The orange New Testament I had received in high school was the perfect size to carry to work. The more I read, the deeper my convictions became. I knew my substance abuse was holding me back from developing a full relationship with God. Once I made the decision to quit abusing drugs and alcohol, I became addicted to the Word, and my life began to change.

Pastor Nace Howell reads the orange New Testament he received from a Gideon many years ago.

Pastor Nace Howell reads the orange New Testament he received from a Gideon many years ago.

Soon, I felt God calling me to become a pastor. I graduated from Lancaster Bible college with a Bachelor of Science, then finished with a Masters in Divinity at Luther Rice Seminary. Today, I serve as the Senior Pastor at Harrisburg First Church of God, in Pennsylvania.

God’s Word is infinitely life changing. What I find most exciting about knowing Jesus is the discovery and ownership of truth. As a younger man, I listened to the Gospel of John on an iPod during work until I nearly memorized it. John’s emphasis was the truth of Jesus—He was the Son of God. Showing the historical Jesus is the truth, is where my pastoral passion lies.

I still have the New Testament that proved so instrumental in my life, though now the pages are worn and the binding is held together with tape. If I could talk to the Gideon who gave me this book when I was a kid, I would thank him and encourage him to continue the Lord’s work. Like so many others changed by the power in the conviction of the Word, I am the fruit of labor for many faithful Gideons who are consistent in distributing the Gospel.