Sowing and Serving

If you drive through the scenic rolling hills southeast of Farmville, Virginia, you’ll come to the Sandy River Reservoir, part of the Bush River Watershed Project initiated in 1967. You’ll also see a marker there commemorating the dedication of that dam in 1994 to two men—one of those men is David Farmer Jr., who has been a Gideon for over 50 years.

David grew up on a farm in Vernon Hill, Virginia in Halifax County. Growing up, he attended church and accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior at the age of 13.


From an early age, David took a great interest in agriculture. He went to college and received a B.S. in Agricultural Education from VPI (Virginia Tech) in 1948. The next year, he married Katherine. The couple settled in Farmville and are members of Farmville Presbyterian Church. They raised three children—David S. Farmer III, Allen B. Farmer, and Ann F. Richardson. In addition, they now have six grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.


Sowing Seeds for the Kingdom


David spent his career with the USDA Soil Conservation Service, serving as the District Conservationist for Prince Edward, Amelia, and Nottoway Counties. He has also spent a major part of his life sowing seeds for the Lord’s Kingdom with The Gideons.


“The first time I remember hearing of The Gideons was sometime in the 1960s when they came and gave a presentation at the church I was attending.” David was later invited to the Farmville Camp’s new member event. It was at that event in 1972 where he felt God’s call on him to become a part of what The Gideons were doing and joined. Katherine joined the Auxiliary at that same time. 


David says serving in The Gideons strengthened their marriage and their family relationships.

“Since joining The Gideons, Katherine and I have read the entire Bible through each and every year and had our prayer time every night,” says David. “If something kept us from our Bible reading one night, we made it up the next night and tried to not get behind. The couple has been married 72 years. And while they always did things together as a couple, David says that after joining The Gideons, they found themselves doing even more together.

“Since joining The Gideons, Katherine and I have read the entire Bible through each and every year and had our prayer time every night.” —David Farmer, Jr.

Katherine, who spent her career in education, enjoyed many blessings serving in the Auxiliary. “I’ve always supported David in whatever he was doing. The Auxiliary would meet and have prayer times. We prayed for many things for our husbands, including that they would have good relationships with the churches.” She recalls many times when God would deliver on their prayer requests in greater ways than they could have ever asked. She also enjoyed when the Auxiliary would visit local doctor’s offices to place Scriptures. “Over the years, I met so many good Christian ladies in the Auxiliary who made such an impact on me.”

Membership in The Gideons opened the couple’s eyes to the opportunities around them to help people going through problems. They also served as volunteers for 16 years at their local hospital. “That was very rewarding for us, and we hope it helped our community, too.”

David and Katherine next to the marker commemorating the dedication of the dam in honor of David and another Gideon, Hugh Jenkins.

Serving with Like-minded Christian Businessmen


From associating together for service to personal witnessing and placing and distributing Scriptures, David has enjoyed the many activities conducted by Gideons. He has served in camp officer roles, engaged churches as a church speaker, and has seen the Lord could bless those moments in unexpected ways.


“I remember arriving at a church after a long ride to find only six people present for the meeting. I was initially a little discouraged by the small turnout and thought it was going to be a waste of time. However, it turned out to be one of the best meetings.”


David stayed after that meeting and visited with those who had come. It turned out some of the folks who were there had served in World War II. They shared with David that the Service Testaments they received from Gideons during the service had provided them great comfort.


“I feel that, because of this more personal interaction, we were able to make a greater impression on this smaller group than we might have if it had been larger. It was a real blessing.”


 Katherine and David Farmer, Jr.

The community of like-minded Christian business and professional men striving side by side in The Gideons for the faith of the Gospel helped increase David’s commitment to The Gideons. “In my professional life, I worked with many people who were Gideons,” says David. One of the Gideons he served with was the late Hugh Jenkins, who also was a member of the Farmville Camp. Hugh was the other man honored in the dedication of the Farmer-Jenkins Dam back in 1994, as he was chairman of the Piedmont Soil and Water Conservation District for much of the project.



David and Katherine are no longer able to get out to attend camp meetings and place Scriptures like they could when they were younger. However, they know the difference they can still make by praying for the ministry and renewing their memberships each year. Much has changed in the world since the Farmers joined The Gideons 50 years ago. However, one thing that hasn’t changed is the supreme need of every individual for a Lord and Savior—a need that can only be filled by Jesus Christ. And throughout the world, members like David and Katherine are committed to reaching the lost before it’s everlasting too late.

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