(Conway, SC) – If I asked a group of people what their first thoughts are when I say the word Gideon, I imagine most of the people would say, “Oh, they’re the ones that put Bibles in all the motel drawers. Never fails. You check into a motel; open a drawer, and if no one has stolen it, there’s a Bible with the Gideon lamp on it!” And those people would be correct.
In fact, according to The Worldwide Ministry of The Gideon International summary literature called Together We Go published in 2010, the Gideons “now provide Bibles and New Testaments in more than 190 countries—and over 90 languages.” According to the Gideon International website, “around the world:
As can be seen in the graphic to the upper-right, most of the Gideons’ US concentration is on Bible distribution within the US, but not just in hotels and motels. They also concentrate on New Testament distributions to hospitals, medical personnel, college students, youth in middle and high schools, service workers, personal and special workers, and developing countries and those that may now be closed to the Gideons.
Internationally, the Gideons use what they call Bible Blitzes in foreign lands. For example, on Thursday, May 10, 2012, I had the privilege of listening to Richard Graves share his presentation of the Brazil International Bible Blitz he participated in March 2 – 18, 2012. Their goal was to distribute 1,000,000 Scriptures in 2 weeks with a team of about 15 International Gideons. They would visit universities, high schools, prisons, hospitals, and the military to distribute the Testaments. According to Richard Graves, “People were always eager to receive the Scriptures that we were giving out and except for maybe five people, everyone they offered the scriptures to accepted them.” One of the places they were most accepted was in the prisons, “where we were the only ray of hope the prisoners had.”
On this particular Bible Blitz, Graves and his colleagues were able to meet all of their goals: in Rio de Janeiro, they distributed 629,214 testaments; in Porto Alegre, they distributed 182,354 testaments; and in Salvador, they distributed 336,512 testaments for a grand total of 1,148,080 testaments which was well beyond their original goal. Graves presentation was very entertaining and the inclusion of some real life stories of people who had been affected by the testaments they had received made the work that the Gideons are doing very important.