The following is a testimony received at the Headquarters of The Gideons International. This true story is a reminder of the impact that a single church presentation by a Gideon can have for the kingdom of God. It also is a reminder of the impact of the Gideon Auxiliary, whose members distribute Medical Testaments to medical personnel.
When I was little and someone would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always had an answer, but a different one every week. All that changed when a Gideon speaker came to my church when I was nine years old. He held up a little white New Testament and told us that those particular Testaments are given to nurses, because they are often the last ones to talk to patients before they die. God spoke to my heart that day, and I knew right then that I would someday be a nurse. As a teenager, I worked as a candy striper in a local hospital, and after college I worked in various areas of nursing, always being drawn to the terminally ill patients.
Soon I was sure that God was calling me to work in the hospice program, helping to prepare people for death. One of my patients was a nursing home patient named Jim. Jim was a former Marine – all muscle and a fighter – but he was dying, and his family had deserted him.
One thing Jim really liked was ice cream, so before visiting him, I would buy some to bring to him. I would feed him the ice cream, and we managed to build up a friendship during our time together.
Once, I asked him if he thought anybody loved him. He replied, “No.” Then I told him that I knew Someone who did. I quoted John 3:16 to him and told him, “He also promised you can be free, and have all your sins forgiven. You can be assured that you will go to heaven.” I prayed the sinner’s prayer with him and a tear trickled down his cheek. I asked him, “Now do you know that Someone loves you?” He nodded that he did.
Jim died the next morning. I want to thank that Gideon, whoever he may be, for coming to my church and for being instrumental in leading me into this field of nursing. Because of him, God’s plan was made clear to me.
Mrs. James (Jo) Edlin