Ivory Coast, ISB 2016
Please see below a report from Nick Turner of Worcester Branch of The Gideons International in the British Isles which we would like to share with you for your encouragement:
"I joined an international team of Gideon men from around the world to participate in an ISB to the French speaking Ivory Coast in West Africa between the 4th and the 12th November 2016. The team led by US based Bruce Patterson was made up of Clem, Len, Jim and Paul from America, Scott from Australia and Andreas and I from Europe. For most of us this was our first ISB. The Ivory Coast had never had an ISB before and it was a first for me in that I had never been to Africa before.
"The ISB was intended to target the capital city Abidjan, with 200,000 scriptures, a city with four and a half million people within a country of twenty million plus folks near the Equator where the temperature in the daytime reaches 100F (36 degrees centigrade) most days in November and very high humidity. Abidjan is a city of sharp contrasts; some parts are not unlike southern Mediterranean cities of Europe, mixed up with large areas of desperate areas of the worst poverty I've ever encountered and vast shanty style housing districts with no utilities or public services. The people are nominally Catholic or muslim or followers of local pagan religions.
"My first assignment was to speak to a church of a thousand members of very enthusiastic believers. This church was like nothing I had ever seen or encountered before and uplifted my soul. The Lord is very much alive and well in Abidjan!!
"The weekdays were focused on distributions. I followed local Gideons and Auxiliaries to dozens of schools where we handed out thousands of scriptures in French to very excited children of all ages. This was such a blessing. We did the same at national police headquarters and then military establishments followed by placements at hospitals and hotels. The whole thing was so well organised and the drive and determination of the local Gideons was exceptional. Their love for Jesus was so evident and vibrant. They welcomed us into their homes and were so considerate to our every need.
"I must have handed out Scriptures to thousands of men, women and children who gladly received God's Word with appreciation. The experience was so encouraging to me, my idea of heaven would be to be on one constant ISB in West Africa until the Lord called me home. Home is where I had to return after ten glorious days in a wonderful city with amazing men and women of the word. We smashed the pre ISB target of 200,000 scriptures distributed by an additional 65,000 scriptures delivered. The whole event was topped by a pastors' banquet to which 450 people were seated on the last night."