Sunday, January 20, 2008

Gideon Bibles

My memories of childhood seem to run together sometimes, so I might have some of these facts wrong. But the best I can recall, here is my first memory of a Gideon Bible. When I was just four or five years old, I remember going to Marlow, Oklahoma to visit my Mom's side of the family. I recall Uncle Eddie carrying me on his shoulders as we traipsed back to the back corner of the property, where some baby bunny rabbits were being raised. When we got there, what was supposed to be a happy time for me immediately turned to sadness when we discovered that the rabbits were dead. I have always had a heart for animals, and this delivered a heavy blow to my tender heart. When we got back to the house, My Mom's grandma, "Little Grandma" somehow said the right words to tend to my grief. I remembered her big old fashioned Bible noting births and deaths, and I wanted to somehow memorialize this death. This is where it gets fuzzy because I don't recall how I received the red New Testament, but inside that Bible we memorialized the passing of Bunny Rabbit. I still have it today!

The Bible seemed to carry comfort and hope, although I didn't quite understand it at the time.

When I was in 5th Grade as we left the school building, 2 men introduced themselves as Gideons offered us Red New Testaments. By this time, I knew what Gideons were. My Uncle Bob was a Gideon, and he seemed to have lots of wisdom and answers to life's questions. It was almost like a rite of passage for the older cousins to get to meet with Uncle Bob, one-on-one. He always carried a Bible and they always embraced when they left the conversation. I remember Mark and Keith and Gary all having these heart-to-heart talks with Uncle Bob. So, these men outside our school said they were Gideons, and they offered each of us a Bible. Some refused. Not me! Mom took us to the library frequently, and I knew the value of a book. We owned very few in our home, and I owned even less! I wanted one!

I also have memories of Dad pulling out one of our New Testaments to give marriage advice to either my cousin Tascha or Julie. Considering he wasn't one to attend church, when he had words to share from the Bible, I wanted to hear what they were!

My Mom received a white New Testament from the Gideons either at her pinning or graduation from nursing school. It was then that I learned that these Bibles came in different colors for different missions.

In 1987, I'll never forget the brown Gideon New Testament my Aunt Deanna carried with her to the hospital when my father was suffering the effects of a stroke. Before his 12-hour carotid artery surgery, my aunt began to share with my dad from the Bible, but he surprised us all when he was able to quote John 3:16 to us, even in his compromised mental state from the stroke--a verse he memorized in his childhood. I have a brown Gideon New Testament that helps me remember those last few moments with my father before the unsuccessful surgery.

We just attended our 4th Pastor appreciation banquet with the Gideons. I'll never cease to be amazed at all the good the Gideons International accomplish all over the world.

1 comment:

VBob said...

Thanks for your comments. It's good to be appreciated.