Joan

'This "rolling stone' had no time to gather "moss"—no time to feel "at home" or settle in at a new school—no time to make lasting friends. In fact I spent most of my life just "not belonging" anywhere. Everywhere was like a transit camp!..."

I’d like to share with you how this little book (Gideons New Testament) gave me new life. 

My entire life has been spent ‘moving’ it seems! My dad was in the Royal Air Force and he was stationed at different places for most of his service. So the family would “up stakes” and transfer to a different RAF base quite frequently. 

One of the earliest photos I have of myself is sitting in a carry-cot, six months old, on the docks at Southampton waiting to depart to a far off overseas posting in Central Africa. Then, within a few years, we’d be transferred again!

This ‘rolling stone’ had no time to gather ‘moss’—no time to feel ‘at home’ or settle in at a new school—no time to make lasting friends. In fact I spent most of my life just ‘not belonging’ anywhere. Everywhere was like a transit camp!!

We went back and forth until my dada’s service time was up…which just meant we were going to move again!!!...but this time, migrate for life!! (or so we thought!).

At last!…carving out a new life of some permanence—attending a junior school to completion—and attending senior school with new found friends. 

It was at this senior school that pupils received a Gideons New Testament. Because it was given to me personally I kept it as a sort of ‘souvenir’ of my status as a permanent pupil at this senior school. 

The stability was not to last and due to world and political events I was once more on the move, migrating again!

Even though this ‘rolling stone’ gathered no ‘moss’ I still held on to the little New Testament given to me at school. It was too small to even bother throwing away and it seemed easy enough to carry, fitting in any small bag. So it travelled with me—a small treasure, a reminder of my sojourn with stability!!

I didn’t actually read it—I just treasured it as a symbol of ‘belonging’!! Little did I know how this New Testament was truly the story of belonging!!

More than 30 years were to pass since receiving the little book. For 30 years I carried it with me on yet another migration, through many more moves and through a few broken relationships and a couple of broken marriages. I still had not read it.

It seemed my life was in a mess. I still did not belong anywhere!! I got to a point of physical and emotional exhaustion, practically crippled with a lower back condition that brought me to the floor…literally!!

Suffering severe back pain I had an entire regime of exercises prescribed.

One day I was lying flat on my stomach (as prescribed) trying to read a book…and the only book small enough to focus on right in front of my nose was the New Testament given to me at the school by the Gideons more than 30 years before and which I had not even read up until then.

I was reading Ephesians chapter 5 and I got to verse 14 “Awake, O sleeper and Christ will give you light”.

Well! It took more than 30 years but when I finally did get to read that little book Jesus’ words jumped right out at me. 

As I read those words it was as if I had literally been jerked to attention! It was as if Jesus Himself was standing close by and speaking directly to me. 

After this experience it was as if I had literally been shaken ‘awake’! I came to see that after all

There is a purpose to life. God is in control. He has a plan of salvation. His plan includes me!

I’ve been given new life, I’m getting discipled in a local church and I’m looking forward to seeing Jesus one day face to face!

Thank you, Gideons!