A Photo That Includes A Gideon Service Testament Touches Tens Of Thousands

by The Gideons International on November 15, 2011

The photo of Landon Carpenter that has touched tens of thousands.
(Photo: Marcia Truitt, Inara Studios)

A photo featuring a 12-day old infant along with a photo of his father and his father’s Gideon Service Testament has generated an enormous amount of online sentiment.

The infant in the photo is Landon Carpenter. His father, Andy, shown in the framed photo next to him, made the ultimate sacrifice in March while serving in the U.S. Marines in Afghanistan.

Within days of being posted to the Seal of Honor page on Facebook, the photo received tens of thousands of “Likes” and comments. To date, the photo has received over 135 thousand “Likes” and more than 34 thousand comments.

We recently contacted Landon’s mother, Crissie, who is LCPL Andy Carpenter’s widow. She has been very touched by the public response to her baby Landon’s photo.

“It is pretty incredible seeing the response to the photo. For those who have been moved by the photo, I just want to say thank you for taking that time out and remembering those sacrifices that are made by so many families,” says Crissie. “The main reason I wanted to have this photo taken was to have a picture of Landon with his father.

“I wish I could tell you how Andy got his Gideon Testament, but I do not know. But I do know that he liked to take it with him to training when he had to be out in the field for a while. I remember when I found it with some of his belongings, it was in a Ziploc bag that protected it from weather damage, I assume. And, one of the cool things about it was he had our wedding announcement in it as a bookmark.

“God is definitely a huge part of my life and was a huge part of Andy’s life as well. When Andy and I got married and I moved to North Carolina, where he was stationed, to be with him, I wanted us to go to church every Sunday that we could. I always had told myself, ‘when I marry, I want to make sure God plays a huge role in our marriage and family.’

“Andy was a wonderful man and was very humble about things. He believed in God totally and was a great role model to everyone around him,” she adds. “I know that his relationship had grown with God because I could tell.”

Marcia Truitt of Inara Studios in Nashville, TN is the professional photographer who shot the photo. She too is amazed by the photograph’s popularity.

“When I arranged and took this photograph I never imagined anyone but Crissie’s family would see it and understand its deep sorrow,” Marcia told us. “I am so humbled that it has touched so many lives and I only hope that it continues to bless those that see it.

“Landon’s mother brought all of her husband’s things which had just been shipped back to the U.S.,” says Marcia. “She requested that we capture them in an image with Landon and this is how we laid them out. I found the size comparison of how tiny baby Landon looked next to his father’s boots to be very striking.”

The loss of her husband has given Mrs. Carpenter a great appreciation for the brevity of life. And she has words of wisdom to share with the rest of us.

“We never know when our last breath will be,” says Crissie. “What happened to Andy is something I never thought would happen to us. But, it did. Don’t take things for granted. I want every person out there to thank the good Lord up above for what they have in this life and who they have. Look at that person and tell them you love them. Hold your children and enjoy them and let them know every day how much you love them.”

We thank Crissie for allowing us to share this very touching photograph and story with you.

And we thank our members, donors and other supporters. It is your support that helped make it possible to place this Gideon Service Testament into a young serviceman’s hands before he went home to be with the Lord.

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Jim Taylor November 15, 2011 at 3:16 pm

The sacrifices that our military have made and continue to make for our freedoms are especially mindful as we have just celebrated Veterans Day 2011.

Our military leave their loved ones and familiar surroundings to serve in often hostile places. They take with them their memories, their pictures of loved ones, and the most important thing of value … the words of God in the form of a Gideon service testament.

Thank God that some Gideon somewhere gave of his time to ensure that LCPL Andy Carpenter has his personal copy that meant so much to him.

Just as his widow stated above … we should not take things for granted. We must not assume that someone will share a Scripture with someone in need. We may be in a place at a time (God’s appointed time) for sharing with the person across from us. Time is far too short to fail to share God’s love with those around us wherever we find ourselves.

Make it HAPPEN for the Lord,
Jim Taylor

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john kellogge November 16, 2011 at 9:55 pm

Thanks for sharing. Many people will see the need for God’s Word.

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Marie Holtzmann November 17, 2011 at 11:43 am

This is very touching and I think God is going to use that Gideon placed
Testament in Landon’s life and I believe it will lead him to our Lord.

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Lela Collins November 17, 2011 at 2:11 pm

The picture is beautiful. God bless you both. I’m a veteran’s wife of 66 years–my husband was in the Air Force for 21 years, was in England for one year during WW11 0n the -B-17. Thank the Lord he came home uninjured. All of our service men & women are Patriots. The Gideon’s are a great group of people and thank the Lord for them. I was very touched by this beautiful picture–God bless you and thanks for sharing the lovely picture with all of us.

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Timmy April 13, 2013 at 12:45 am

Lela,
excellent comments; God bless you. Gideon in CO

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Billy J. Thompson November 17, 2011 at 9:38 pm

This should touch the hearts of believers as well as non-believers.

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Wayne Robbins November 18, 2011 at 4:29 pm

I was very proud to serve as military veteran! I pray for all veterans daily! As Gideon, I am very humbled by this picture! God gives all of us blessings, each day! Do not forget to count them daily! Sincere in Christ! Wayne

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David lubuli munyengo November 21, 2011 at 4:38 am

Cette photo m’a beaucoup imprésionée que Dieu soutiennent tous les soldats qui se conduisent selon la volonté de Dieu

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Lenora Jestice November 23, 2011 at 4:28 pm

How grafeful I am , To have seen this picture. Only a loving Heavenly father will be able to help you through this time in your life. Never has the cost been higher for freedom across the the land than this.

How many more soldiers are carrying their Gideon Bible?

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Robert Spires November 24, 2011 at 4:21 am

The testimony of this picture will endure forever. Amen.

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B,dael. hunter November 25, 2011 at 7:36 pm

Dear friends, Gods word says; He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the almighty. I will say of the Lord he is my refuge and my strength, my God in him will I trust

-Crissie , May God be with you and comfort you. Read John 15 verse 7&8 .

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Crissie Carpenter February 7, 2012 at 1:23 am

I just wanted to say thank you for sharing that verse with me. I was just randomly looking at all the incredible comments left under my son’s photo with his daddy and wanted to stop by this site.
I needed that verse. :)
It’s crazy… because I actually had John 15:13 put on Andy’s headstone… and I never really read the verses surrounding it… and it just shows how wonderful God is. He truly knows how to talk to us.

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MAXINE Broughton November 26, 2011 at 7:36 pm

how precious– looks as though this baby is snuggled and keeping warm, and safe just breathing the “smells” of his daddy’s shirt. So endearing, showing the closeness and continuation of love.

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maggiebredentaylor November 30, 2011 at 8:13 am

I pray this young family will be blessed with Landon learning about his father from his family. Those of us who know the sacrifices the military families endure, stand tall and Thank them for all they do.

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fredacaines November 30, 2011 at 4:52 pm

God bless you for sharing this precious moment and may He see you through each and every moment as you raise this son for Him and his dad!

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phil December 3, 2011 at 9:19 pm

The juxtaposition of the boot and the baby is symbolic of how God overshadows us and we can rest in peace.Let not your heart be troubled Jesus said for in my fathers house are many mansionsWe are always home with God around.Let us rest from our cares like the baby in the photo whom God takes care of.

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Grammy December 18, 2013 at 10:04 am

Indeed, “the peace that passes all understanding” is ours when we rest in Him!

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Lowell Pumphrey January 19, 2012 at 12:57 pm

The price for Freedom is not Free. We pay dearly with the lack of knowledge and understanding of God’s intentions for our lives. Some people just don’t get it; therefore leaving situations like this in the path of humanity. In the words of Rodney king “Can’t we all just get along?”. God’s plan for us is to spread love, not hate. Hatred has been destroying the fabric of our universe since the begining of time, & as long as we are alive, God is giving us one more day, and sometimes another day, to get this thing called life right, while blood still runs through our veins. Once we are gone, & abused that opportunity to make things right with the Lord, it’s too late. Choose you this day to make the right choice in serving God, & receive your free gift of eternal life, given to all who believe that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, rose again, & is now sitting at the right hand of the Father (God), as Intercessor for all who ask forgiveness of their sins. Will you confess today, & make the Kingdom of God your Resting Place? If so, my name is Lowell; & I will be seeing you in God’s time. Love you.

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Theresa M. January 19, 2012 at 6:37 pm

Wow what a eye-opener! We all have taken life for granted from time to time but you are so right each second that we have need to be acknowledge, as well as we need to be responsible to ourself and to God and learn what your purpose of being here is and allow yourself to accomplish it!!Not for your will but for God’s will how bout that lol…
To Ms.Crissie thank you so much for sharing your story with me, that’s exactly what I needed you see I’m struggling with my health these days and you were God’s sent to me to encourage me and you did exactly that.. Thank you God for giving me what I needed today, wisdom and understanding…

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Kim Fuhrmann January 20, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Chissie,
I am a Military Wife of 23 years, from the depths of my heart, I understand the price of Freedom and I am deeply saddened by your husbands, your son’s, & families loss.
Not one day goes by, without the understanding that I am able to walk outside my front door without any worries, because many have and continue to pay the ultimate price for us all, to be able to not having to worry about daily life activities.
May you build strength day by day and know that all of your family served also! You were all the strength to where Landon could serve Our Country Proudly.
If there is any chance please contact me, to where I may gift you my message for your sacrifice.
Remembering Their Sacrifices & Their Families TOO!
Kim Fuhrmann via FB

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Vickie March 12, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Your son Landon is part of you and your husbands traits…God wrapped himself in flesh and became as man to reach us…to pay the ultimate price so we didn’t have to…That is what your husband did for all of us…so glad I can sleep at night in peace…because of the peace God places in our hearts when we serve HIM…God has a plan….your husband is safe….safe in the arms of the one who gave HIS life for him and all the world…I know you are soooo proud of the blessings and the thoughts this picture portrays for all the world to see…and it will change lifes…as GODs Word…changes the lifes of millions..thanks Crissie for sharing..and you all can rest together one day…throughtout the endless ages with God…on streets of gold and gates of pearl…frredom and peace forever more! Thanks and May God bless your everyday walk with him….and hug Landon every day for us…and his Dad~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Craig Berger April 5, 2012 at 11:31 am

not enough words…to say thanks…to America’s best!

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Rose German May 8, 2012 at 8:41 am

Our church held a Mission’s day last year & a Gideon representative was there with New Testaments in various cover colors, including cammo. He would only give the cammo ones to members of the military, however, I told him I had “adopted” a couple of soldiers through the Adopt A U.S. Soldier program & would like to send a few to him to hand out & keep one for himself. I’m sure other people have done the same thing. Thank you Mrs. Carpenter for sharing with all of us & may God bless you & your precious son.

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woody page October 14, 2012 at 2:53 pm

There is no greater love than that which makes the ultimate sacrifice…

Thanks to Jesus for demonstrating that Love. Thanks to those who emulate that love.

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Bill Ellis April 13, 2013 at 12:27 pm

My Father served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam. My Mother showed me his New Testament that he carried. I sometimes go over that testament and look for marks, dog eared pages or some sign that my Father found solace in one of the verses within. I know that the Word of God is powerful and will not return void. I am glad that Landon’s testament was delivered by some faithful Chaplain and paid for by some loving church member. I know the words in that testament and in millions of Gideon-placed New Testaments to our servicemen and women are having an impact in their lives and in countless others. May God bless you and yours and may God give you peace in knowing that God’s word did not return back to you empty but filled your loved one with peace and hope. In Him. Bill

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Rhonda Edie July 27, 2013 at 7:53 am

I too am touched by this photo. Thank God for the work of the Gideons–reaching one soul at a time.

It is great to play a part in God’s great vineyard.

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Sgt. Robert S. Morrison August 17, 2013 at 7:21 am

I am a veteran and want to let you know I appreciate your husbands service and ultimately his sacrifice. Continue to keep God number one in your life and raise your child to know him. God is good ALL the time, in good times and bad. Hold his hand tightly and he will see you through it.
Much love for you and your family,
Sgt Robert Morrison

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