I love to hear stories from our members of how God is using them to love their neighbors, whether they live next door or halfway around the world. Here’s a testimony Robert Campbell recently sent me describing an opportunity he had to take the gospel to Panama on a missions trip with Gideons International.
In June of last year, I had the opportunity to work with the Gideons in Panama in passing out New Testaments. This ministry provides and distributes Bibles and New Testaments to individuals in 197 nations worldwide.
The purpose of the trip (I was part of a ten man team) is to support and encourage the local Gideons in the work of distribution. Our goal was to place 70,000 Testaments in one week; the actual number given out was approximately 130,000. Our primary target was in schools (fifth grade and above). We also distributed in universities, prisons, and to the military. The country is wide open to the distribution of God’s Word, and we had full governmental support for what we were doing.
One very special blessing came at a school where I was distributing on the first day of activity. In a classroom after giving out Testaments and sharing the Gospel message, the teacher, Ariel, asked if I had a copy in English. I stated I did but it was in the truck. He asked if he could have it. I agreed but told him it would need to wait until the distribution was completed.
He was clearly anxious to get the English Testament for he followed me from classroom to classroom for the final few rooms. He listened each time to the Gospel message and even helped pass out Testaments. Finally we completed the task at hand and I was able to give him English copy he desired.
Ariel said that if he would read it, he could improve his English. I shared that if he read it, other things would also improve. He then became quite serious and began to share how he felt his life had been a disappointment, particularly to his wife and family. It was then that I prayed for him, and I prayed with him. After some further discussion, he soon prayed the sinner’s prayer and accepted Jesus Christ into his life.
The Gideons claim Isaiah 55:11 and know that His Word does not return empty. I witnessed many individuals intently reading the New Testaments they had been given, and know that lives and hearts will be changed. Ariel’s was, and he had yet to read his copy. The Gideons plant the seed; God works to change lives.
Thank you for loving the word of God, Robert, and for faithfully sharing the good news of Jesus life, death, and resurrection with those who have never heard it before. We are grateful for your example!