Local Gideons met Tuesday night, Sept. 12 for their annual pastor appreciation dinner at Beacon Park. The food, fellowship and music was enjoyed by the group.
The organization strives to hand out copies of the Bible or place them in strategic places so lives can be changed by God’s Word.
Chris Brown told the group that the organization has always partnered with the church and they appreciated the responsibilities the pastor has.
“If we are at your church and you donate to the Gideons, we take those Bibles and we go where you can’t go. Sometimes that’s on the other side of the country. But we also do it right here in Boone County as well. That doesn’t mean you can’t help those folks, but we take God’s Word and put it in their hands. And we thank you for being able to do that. But I also recognize that you as pastors have a huge spot in our hearts as Gideons — and that’s pastoring your church and leading those folks to trust you and believe in God and that you are going to give them God’s Word.”
“We are business and professional men,” Brown said. “We talk numbers. We can help you place Bibles in more than 200 countries around the world and in 108 languages. Your church may not be able to do that, but we can partner together. This year, from June 1 through August 31 Gideons placed 18,658,016 scriptures throughout the world. But when it comes down to it, the biggest number is “one.” It takes one copy of scripture to reach a person and have an effect on their lives and we don’t know how many others that affects. So from a Gideons’ perspective every time we hand out one copy we are doing what God asked us to do.”
“We like for our speakers to be someone who has gotten saved through our ministry. And tonight our speaker was saved through our local ministry,” Cocky Barrett said.
Wesley Johnson said he was born in San Diego, California and moved to Arkansas as a small child. His mother died when he was five years old and his father traveled around the states. “I learned a lot of wrong ways to do things that led to a life of destruction. I was in and out of jails and institutions and that’s where I found the Gideons. I smoked out of a Gideon Bible, used them as note pads, but in the end that’s what God used to change my life. Every facility I was always in had Gideons who would come in and hold a service.”
Johnson said he followed the path of his earthly father who didn’t teach him well. “But David in the Bible is listed as a man after God’s own heart. But he wasn’t a good father, either. That stuck with me. Most of my decisions were caused by my father’s and I turned out just like him. But my Father in Heaven rapidly changed my life.”
In 2012, he backed out of his driveway and his little boy was killed. “God used that to rattle me so hard. I had to lose something so important to get my attention. I had searched the world my entire life to fill that void in my life. Instead of manning up, I crawled into a dope stack where I stayed for three years and ended back in jail.”
“I eventually got on my knees and begged Jesus to save me from my wicked heart — not save me from jail or my circumstances but to fix this broken person. For 32 years I had done nothing but cause destruction and I became the person I didn’t want to be.”
Johnson laughed because after studying the Bible for about three months with Barrett, he knew he needed to be baptized, and Barret brought a horse trough into the County Jail.
Johnson is grateful for his mentors and the fact God’s Word changed his life. “I have a beautiful wife, six children, homes and a business. I get to go back into the jail and tell men what God has done. I have a story to tell. I want to be obedient and tell the whole world about Jesus.”
To make a donation, the address is Gideons International, P.O. Box 2846, Harrison, AR 72602. For questions or information about becoming a member call local president Jack Hardcastle at 870 391-1168.
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