Finding Bibles on Vacation

The prophet Gideon from the Book of Judges.

More than two billion bibles have been distributed in hotels, jails, schools, hospitals, nursing homes, colleges, and medical offices around the world through the work of one organization. Gideon International is the oldest association of Christian business and professional men in the United States. It was founded as a missionary arm of the church in 1898 by John H. Nicholson and Samuel Hill. Both men were Christians who did a lot business travel. That’s when they formed an association to get Bibles into hotel rooms across the country. They held their first meeting the following year on May 31, 1899, and named their organization Gideon, from the biblical reference in the Book of Judges verses six and seven. Called the Bible Project, it was adopted nationally in 1908. The First Presbyterian Church became the first sponsor to pay the cost of printing the bibles. More than a century later, Gideon International has a presence in more than 190 countries. The Bible and the New Testament are printed in more than 90 languages. Gideon’s work in Santa Fe began in 1968 with Jack Horne and Nina Beaty.

Salvation in Spirituality

One group that follows the bible’s teachings is the Salvation Army who came to Santa Fe in 1974. They set up shop in a converted garage and single-wide mobile home on a property at 525 West Alameda Avenue, where they’re still headquartered today. The mobile home became their Bible School. The Salvation Army began to identify the physical needs of people and established a corps (church). Their goad was to administer the spiritual, social, physical, and psychological needs of the community. The group also began a children’s ministry to teach Bible lessons through songs, puppets, and prayer. Christmas toys were given to struggling families, and residents in care facilities and jails received gifts. A weekly Bible study was conducted in the city jail. For the past 47 years, the ministry’s motto, “Heart to God and Hand to Man,” has resonated with the community of Santa Fe. The motivation of the organization is love of God and a practical concern for the needs of humanity. This is expressed by a spiritual ministry from the Gospel to help all people regardless of race, color, creed, sex, or age.

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