|SERMONS, ESSAYS AND OPINIONS||
Gideons International is an evangelical Christian organization dedicated to distributing copies of the Bible in over 80 languages and more than 180 countries of the world to those who might not otherwise encounter it, most famously in hotel and motel rooms.
The organization was founded in 1899 in Boscobel, Wisconsin as an early American parachurch organization dedicated to Christian evangelism. It began distributing free Bibles, the work it is chiefly known for, in 1908, when the first Bibles were placed in the rooms of the Superior Hotel in Superior, Montana. The local railway station at the time was named Iron Mountain, causing confusion as to the name of the town.
On it's website Gideons tells its mission:
- The Gideons International serves as an extended missionary arm of the church: Our sole purpose is to win men, women, boys and girls to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ through association for service, personal testimony, and distributing the Bible in the human traffic lanes and streams of everyday life
The name comes from the Biblical judge, Gideon. His story is told in Judges 6-7. The organization describes its link to the story of Gideon
- Gideon was a man who was willing to do exactly what God wanted him to do, regardless of his own judgment as to the plans or results. Humility, faith, and obedience were his great elements of character. This is the standard that The Gideons International is trying to establish in all its members, each man to be ready to do God's will at any time, at any place, and in any way that the Holy Spirit leads.
On Christmas Eve 1968, the astronauts of the Apollo 8 mission read from the first part of Genesis (Genesis 1:1-10) during a live television broadcast from lunar orbit. A Japanese correspondent staying at a Houston hotel while covering the mission called NASA Public Affairs to request a copy of the speech that the astronauts were reading. The Public Affairs official asked where he was staying and then told him that if he opened the desk drawer in his room he would find a book and that he should open it to page one. The reporter found the Gideon Bible and later reported that "NASA Public Affairs is very efficient - they had a mission transcript waiting in my hotel room."