Pursuing the Good Work

In John 15:5, Jesus taught, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” The truth of this verse of Scripture was powerfully revealed in the life of each team member who participated in the 2021 Côte d’Ivoire International Scripture Blitz. 

Through abiding in Christ each day, the hearts of the men assigned to this blitz were woven tightly together by the first day in Bouaké. Located in West Africa, this city of approximately 850,000 people was the focus of the blitz team. Interestingly, forty-two percent of the 27 million people in Côte d’Ivoire are under the age of 15, making it an incredible place to reach young people with the Gospel. The international team partnered with the four camps in Bouaké. As team leader,  David, said, “It was a joy to work with the local Gideons and Auxiliary who love the work of this ministry.”

Just the Beginning


God provided amazing opportunities for Gospel conversations during the week. One blitz participant shared, “These salvations and testimonies are just the tip of the iceberg; some of the ones that we could see. I am confident there are more yet to come that we’ll never see until we arrive in Heaven.”

Two Gideons with students at a high school in Côte d'Ivoire

At one high school, the students came in waves as classes were beginning and ending. Gideons from the United States and Côte d’Ivoire handed them French Testaments quickly as they passed. In between waves, there was downtime. Seeing a group of students gathered in the shade of a tree, one Gideon named Jim urged two others to join him in witnessing to those students. With the help of a local Gideon translating, Jim asked the students to show him their Testaments and to “please read from this book every day.” He knew it would give them wisdom from God. “Follow what you read, and you will become a spiritual champion,” he encouraged them.

“These salvations and testimonies are just the tip of the iceberg; some of the ones that we could see. I am confident there are more yet to come that we’ll never see until we arrive in Heaven.” —Jim

After having them turn to the last two pages in their Testaments, Jim had some of the students read the verses until they came to the point of decision. A student read the prayer on the last page aloud. Pointing to himself, Jim said, “I have sinned.” Pointing to them, he asked if they had sinned. Several nodded yes. “The consequence of sin upon death is an eternity in hell. But there’s good news: Christ died on the cross to assume the punishment for our – your – sins,” he told them. He then asked all the students to consider the prayer carefully and then join in praying in unison. “I wish you could have heard the beautiful sound of their voices.” When he asked who prayed that prayer, 22 hands were raised. Jim had time to answer a couple of the students’ questions before leaving to resume handing out copies of God’s Word to the next wave of students.

Gideon Teddy shares with students using a Testament

Teddy, a Gideon from Kentucky, had the opportunity to share with boys ranging in age from 10-15 years old at a local school in Bouaké. One of the boys came to him speaking French, and Teddy asked him if he spoke English. He smiled and said, “Yes.” Teddy asked him if he was a Christian, and he said, “No.” Teddy then felt led to ask him if he knew what would happen to him if he died. At that time, a younger boy walked up very interested in their conversation, followed by another young man. Teddy started going through the plan of salvation, and all three boys accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and indicated their decision by signing their names in the back of their Testaments.

David, a Gideon from North Carolina, witnessed hundreds of children receiving Testaments as they passed through the school gate. As the crowd thinned, he handed a Testament to a young man who replied, “Thank you.” When David asked him if he spoke English, he said, “A little.” David then asked if he knew Jesus. The young man paused and said he wasn’t sure. David explained the plan of salvation in the back of the Testament, asking the young man to read the verses. When they finished, he asked if he would like to ask Jesus to come into his life and give him eternal life. Praise God, he said yes and prayed to receive Jesus as his Lord and Savior.

Why We Do What We Do


This was the first international Scripture blitz for Ron, a Gideon from Oklahoma. “What a blessing it was to be a part of God’s work—several salvations were witnessed by the team. To plant the seed of the Gospel and see students’ faces as they took a Scripture from me and others was humbling. They listened intently as we repeatedly went classroom by classroom telling them about Jesus,” said Ron. “I also enjoyed meeting and working alongside the Gideons and Auxiliary in Côte d’Ivoire, many of whom I will remember for years to come.”

Russell greets students and staff at a secondary school in Côte d'Ivoire

One afternoon, two teams headed out to a large public secondary school. When they arrived, several of the local Gideons had gotten there ahead of them and started distributing Testaments at the main entrance. One of the local Gideons then asked Terry, a Gideon from Missouri and Russell, a Gideon from Indiana, to go across campus to the back gate and help with distributions at that location. As they walked across the campus, Terry saw one of the local Gideons enclosed by many students as he was handing out Testaments. They quickly walked over to the boxes, grabbed a large handful, and started distributing. “Several students quickly surrounded me, and all I could see was a sea of empty hands reaching out for their very own copy of God’s Word. As I stood there, the Holy Spirit impressed on me that this is why we do what we do,” said Terry.

The blitz certainly stretched Russell. Fatigue set in early, but he remembered the words of John 15:5—“for apart from me you can do nothing.” He knows every student represents a person who does not have to spend eternity without God. “Something that will forever stay with me is the beautiful faces of the students who received the Testaments. When I would hold up a copy of God’s Word, several hands would grasp for it. Several students signed their names in the back of the Testaments, indicating they had received Jesus Christ as Savior,” he recalls.

Another impactful memory for Russell was the image of one of the estimated 74 firefighters in formation as they presented each person with a Testament. After receiving them, the firefighters resumed their posture looking straight ahead, but one stood with his head focused downward as he read his Testament for an extended time.

“I also enjoyed meeting and working alongside the Gideons and Auxiliary in Côte d’Ivoire, many of whom I will remember for years to come.” —Ron

I Have Set Before You


Each day, physical strength was needed in the prevailing hot and dry climate. Interpreters made the ministry work possible and enjoyable throughout the week. Pastors and church leaders welcomed the team and encouraged their congregations to give and pray for the work of the Association. By week’s end, Gideons and Auxiliary participating in the blitz had hearts overflowing with gratitude to God for the incredible privilege to see His hand so clearly at work in Bouaké, Côte d’Ivoire.

Students hold up Scriptures they received during the blitz

A goal of 100,000 Scriptures was established for the blitz. The local Gideons and Auxiliary compiled a survey listing distribution opportunities in advance of the blitz week. This survey included a large university where it was planned for 30,000 Scriptures to be distributed. However, early in the week, they found out the staff at the university had called a strike, which canceled classes. It appeared the distribution goal would be significantly impacted without this large college distribution. However, God opened doors in 124 schools and nine colleges leading to more than 132,000 students accepting a copy of His Word. Several school administrators opened their school doors and, in most schools, the classrooms for a brief presentation of the Gospel. The blitz team leader concluded, “I could not help but think of Revelation 3:8, which reads, ‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.’”

Along with distributions at schools and universities, members had opportunities to share God’s Word at a local hospital, 52 medical facilities and clinics, 17 hotels, two prisons, and seven police and fire stations. Praise God for the open doors He provided for His Word to go forth. Continue praying for the many students and adults who made decisions for Christ, for without Him, they can do nothing.

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