Open Doors to Go

Gloria and her husband, John

What breaks our hearts often leads us to act. John, and his wife Gloria, have been members of The Gideons for over 50 years. Their passion for helping people find Jesus Christ through the truth of Scripture has fueled some of their greatest moments in life and ministry.

A Pardon for Their Sin

In 1976, after hearing the testimony of Mary Kay Beard, God began leading Gloria toward jail ministry. She listened to some training from other Auxiliary and started preparing to go. “What pricked my heart about jail ministry was when I read verses about God cleansing us from all iniquity. I knew God could give these women a pardon for their sin. Even though they may have to remain behind prison bars, I wanted to tell them they could be forgiven,” says Gloria.

She started training other Auxiliary in her camp and encouraging them to join her in jail ministry. Around that time, John came home from a Gideon prayer meeting and said, “Gloria, the Gideons have obtained permission for y’all to go to the parish jail.” The door was open. Gloria was reminded of Isaiah 65:24, “Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.” And so, they started to go once a month to the parish jail in Shreveport, Louisiana, and God gave them excellent opportunities to share about Him.

“I knew God could give these women a pardon for their sin. Even though they may have to remain behind prison bars, I wanted to tell them they could be forgiven.”

When John and Gloria moved to Texas in 1991, the Auxiliary told Gloria, “We’re going to continue the jail ministry.” They knew that was a concern of Gloria’s—she didn’t want to leave those women without having someone coming, sharing the Good News with them.

A Call to Faithfulness

Jail ministry hasn’t always been easy or fruitful for Gloria. “At times, I tell God, ‘I quit…I’m not doing this anymore.’ Then He reminds me He didn’t call me to be successful but to be faithful and leave the results to Him.”

She will never forget meeting Ginger in a county jail. “As I talked with her, she told me she was a prostitute,” says Gloria. “She didn’t accept the Lord during that first visit. But as I would see her from time to time, she finally accepted Him as her Savior.” She would get out of jail, and then she would get drawn back into the old lifestyle. “I can remember when she saw me pass by, she wanted to hide from me. And I said, ‘Ginger, is that you?’ She finally came to the bars to talk because she was so ashamed that she had fallen back into the old pattern of life.”

Ginger was finally able to go to a Christian women’s job corps where she was trained and doing well, she was giving her testimony at churches, and Gloria connected with her again. “She was living for the Lord! We brought her home, and she lived with us for a year. She was like a daughter to us but was drawn back into her old ways.”

Throughout her years of ministering to women like Ginger, Gloria has seen many accept the Lord. “Some of them do well, and then sometimes they do well for a time, but that’s not my responsibility. Jesus commands us to go and tell. And that’s what we must do.”

I Know You!

In 2015, Gloria and some fellow Auxiliary were on a distribution at a rehabilitation facility. “When I walked in, I saw the name Vera printed on a lady’s name tag. I recognized her because she had made a great impression on me when she was in the county jail.” Gloria recalls her story:

I remember going up to the cell, and I asked the women, ‘Do you know if you died tonight that you would go to Heaven?’ Vera knew that she wouldn’t but told me she would sure like to. The other women in the cell said the same thing and accepted the Lord that day. The following week, I was at another cell, and there was Vera. She began to tell the girls what had happened the week before. It seemed like every week that I went, Vera was in a different cell, and she was telling people about Jesus and how He had transformed her life. When she was sent to state jail, she asked me if I would pick up her clothes and belongings. For 14 years, I had a box in my storage room with Vera written on it.


Vera and Gloria had a joyful reunion that day at the rehabilitation facility. The administrator said, “We couldn’t do without Vera around here.” Vera replied, “I couldn’t do without this place—it holds me accountable.” God is effectively using her as she shares her testimony with others going through drug rehabilitation.

They are women who are broken and need to know Jesus. “They need help and love, which I like to give them,” says Gloria. “Being an Auxiliary provides us with tools to use with these broken women. It also provides us with the confidence that we need as we approach them—it opens the door for us.”

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