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A tough road for this Gideon

Rocky path in life guides man toward Gideon Society
Many people have wondered where the Bibles placed in hotel rooms come from. John Biggs, a member of the Ellis County Camp of Gideons, spoke to the Ennis Rotary Club about the Gideon Society, which distributes Bibles to prisons, hospitals, hotels and many other places.
“We place Bibles in steam ships and airplanes,” Biggs said. “They’re in a lot of places you wouldn’t expect.’
The Gideon Society is made up of men who come from different evangelical churches. Currently, there are 200,000 Gideons, Biggs said, and last year the group distributed 77 million Bibles. Since the Gideon’s founding, they have distributed 1.4 billion Bibles in more than 170 countries. The Bibles have been distributed in 89 languages.
Biggs joined Gideons in 1970, but his journey to that point was long and difficult. He was born in Pecos, Texas, and raised in a family that was not religious. His father was a construction worker and worked on pipelines, which meant Biggs and his family had to move several times every year. Biggs said since he went to seven or eight different schools a year, he did not have the opportunity to cultivate lasting friendships.
“I became a loner pretty much at a young age,” Biggs said.
When Biggs was 11 years old, his mother died. Biggs and his brother and sister got passed around between relatives and never had a permanent home. Biggs said he started spending time with the wrong crowd.
Eventually, quitting school after eleventh grade to work full time, Biggs said at 16 he lied about his age and joined the Air Force. He was sent to Anchorage, Alaska. Biggs told Rotary members while there, he again hung out with people who weren’t good influences. He robbed a convenience store and went to prison for two years.
Upon his release, he went back to Texas and started working on a shrimp boat in Freeport. The ship docked in Brownsville, where Biggs started living with a prostitute and trafficking narcotics into Texas from Mexico. He was eventually arrested and sent to jail.
Biggs said while in prison his brother came to visit him, and brought a Gideon Bible. At first he was reluctant to read it.
Biggs said, “I told him, ‘I don’t need a Bible; I need a bondsman.’”
But Biggs kept the Bible his brother brought, and after four months, he finally opened it. Biggs read the Gospels and remembers wondering “How could God come down from heaven and die on a cross for someone like me?”
Every Sunday, Biggs said he would listen to a man who would come to the jail and give sermons. Even so, Biggs continued to get in trouble. He was placed in solitary confinement where he did a lot of thinking about the sermons and the stories in the Bible. He said at this point he decided to give his life to God.
“I had such a peace and joy like I’ve never had before,” Biggs said.
He knew he should stop smoking, and prayed to God to help him quit. Soon, the desire to smoke went away for Biggs.
He called his brother to tell him about his transformation. His brother brought a bondsman immediately. When the time came for Biggs’ trial, he was granted probation.
“That was God making way where there was no way,” Biggs said. “I’d had numerous felony charges and I shouldn’t have been eligible for probation.”
Biggs said he still returns to jail often, but this time just to share his story with inmates. He joined the Gideons, and helps them on their mission to bring others to Jesus.
The Ennis Rotary Club meets Tuesdays at noon at the First United Methodist Church.

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Posted by on Feb 25 2009. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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