What is The Gideons International?
The Gideons International’s name comes from a bible story of a man by the name of Gideon who was willing to obey God’s instructions to the letter, regardless of what he thought it was intended to accomplish. Gideon’s best characteristics included obedience and faith. The Gideons International wants the same characteristics of faith, obedience to God’s Word, and humility to form part of our ethos and of the principles according to which members operate. In line with the symbolism of choosing the name Gideon, the organisation has the emblem of a two-handled pitcher with a torch that depicts the victory that Gideon had over the Israelites’ enemy, the Midianites, as described in the book of Judges.
Who are the Members of Gideons International?
The organisation’s headquarters are in the USA in Nashville, but it has an international presence that extends all the way to South Africa. The members consist of Christian men dedicated to the distribution of Bibles across the globe; their wives are called Auxiliary of Gideons and they support the work of the men through prayer and participation in the work such as bible placement. The Gideons International trusts in God to use the bibles to reach people and increase His kingdom.
Where it All Started
The organisation was started by two Christian business travellers who had the vision of placing bibles in every hotel room across the USA. The two men, who didn’t know each other, happened to share a Wisconsin hotel room. There were actually three men at the initial meeting, but two went on to work towards fulfilling the dream of spreading the Word of God. The free distribution of bibles began in 1908 with the placement of the first bibles in Montana at the Superior Hotel.
From Then to Now
Since then, Gideons has, with donations from the public in terms of property, stocks, bibles, and money, been able to distribute two billion bibles in 90 languages across the globe by the grace of God. We reached the two billion milestone in April 2015 and Gideons currently places over 80 million bibles and New Testaments per year. We have been able to reach places in Asia, India, and Brazil, which previously remained unreached. A bible is placed about every two seconds, which also explains how the first billion could be doubled within a span of a mere 14 years, when the first billion took more than 92 years to reach.
What Gideons International Does with Donations
The largest part of the donations is used for the printing and distribution of bibles. Members have been able to place bibles in places that are difficult to reach for missionaries. They have also placed bibles in schools, nursing homes, prisons, hospitals, military and refugee camps, and even at colleges and universities. Members never tire at sowing the seeds of hope through bible placement and in many countries where we are present, the people will not be able to ever afford a bible of their own. It is thus a privilege to become involved in helping to bring bibles to those people as well.