A building collapses and a new life is built

Laymon was working on a construction site in Arkansas when a building collapsed, injuring him and killing two men by his side. While recovering in his hospital bed, Laymon encountered the truth of the Gospel through a Gideon-placed Bible. Here is Laymon’s story, in his own words.

My trade was ironworking. I would climb up tall towers and big structural buildings. It was dangerous work. When I was up walking on those narrow beams, I would ask the Lord to help me and commit to live for Him, but when I got back on the ground, I never followed through on my promises.

My wife, Virginia, urged me to go to church with her, but I went just a few times. During the church’s revival, my wife gave her heart to the Lord. I did not.

Two months later, I was working on a large building on the University of Arkansas campus. We were connecting a five-ton beam over 60 feet in the air when there was a big jolt, and the entire building came down.

“I thought if I died and went to hell it would be what I deserved.”

The two men standing beside me were killed. My back and right leg were broken in several places. I thought about calling on God for help, but I had broken promises to Him so many times before I was ashamed. I thought if I died and went to hell it would be what I deserved.

In the hospital, my mother inquired if I’d ever asked God to save me. I couldn’t talk, but I shook my head “no.” I purposed in my heart, however, if God would spare me and let me raise my little boys, I would live for Him. From that moment, I began to improve.

About three weeks later, the doctors put a ten-inch rod in my right leg. The pain was so severe I would break out in cold sweats and couldn’t sleep. One night, my wife found a Gideon-placed Bible in the table next to my bed and began to read John, chapter 16. When she got to the last verse, it seemed as though God was speaking to me, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world.”

Oh, I wanted the peace Jesus could give whether I lived or died!

That night I fell asleep without pain medicine. I later discovered my wife had slipped that Gideon-placed Bible under my pillow and prayed, “Lord, save my husband before he leaves this hospital.”

God answered that prayer in mere hours. I woke up in severe pain and thought I was going to die. I began praying earnestly, then I heard a voice say, “Turn over on your stomach, and that pain will leave you.” I thought, “This is the Lord speaking to me, and I’m going to try.” Then it seemed as though two big hands gently turned me over.

Suddenly the room was filled with the presence of the Lord. I was standing, jumping up and down in the middle of my bed, laughing, and crying uncontrollably. Then a nurse rushed in. She told me not to move because I was all broken up. I told her I had to tell my wife what had happened, and the only way I would stay in bed was for her to call my wife.

For over 50 years now, I have preached the Gospel all over the world. I’ve pastored eight churches and held many revivals. And it all began with that Gideon-placed Bible.

Thank you, Gideons, for what you do.

     —Laymon (Fort Gibson, Oklahoma)

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