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Raleigh North
Gideon Newsletter

December 2001

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And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus,

for He will save His people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21)


Faith Fund Dinner a Blessing

[Erskin Beasley.]Erskin Beasley
This year’s countywide Faith Fund dinner was held on Thursday night, December 6,
at the North Raleigh Hilton. The Lord truly blessed the 53 people who were there. Raleigh resident John Kinlaw gave a powerful personal testimony. Special music was provided by the Reece family from Friendship Baptist church. And former International Chaplain Erskin Beasley gave a breathtaking account of people all over the world who have been saved as a result of receiving a Gideon Scripture. Brother Erskin has met them personally on his many Gideon EAP trips from Europe to South America, from Africa to Mexico, and most recently, to Chile.


[John Kinlaw.]John Kinlaw
John Kinlaw, age 29, recounted how the Lord saved him after a life of crime. He had stolen furniture and cars, burglarized homes, and had taken part in bank-card scams. He had lied, cheated, stolen—he had done it all. John didn’t even want to hear about God, until one day in 1999 his father, a US Army master sergeant and a Christian, was diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer. John respected and loved his father, and talked with him many times in those last days. His father gave him a Gideon New testament and told him to read Psalms when he was discouraged. Soon after he died in the summer of 2000, John was finally arrested. An old criminal friend, who was now saved, told him to read Romans. John got no farther than Romans 5—then, with tears in his eyes, he got on his knees and prayed to receive Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Today, by the grace of God, he has joined a church and is an Evangelism Explosion team member. He no longer burglarizes, he evangelizes, and has already helped five people receive Christ!


[The Reece Singers]The Reece Singers
Our own Garland Tucker introduced brother Erskin, and after Mr. & Mrs. Dan Reece and son Kiah provided truly perfect music for the occasion, he took the podium. Beyond doubt a compelling and forceful speaker, brother Erskin took us on a jet plane trip of glory around the world. He said, “The work of the Gideons isn’t done by people in headquarters, it’s done by people like us. And it’s important that we are here tonight.” Then he went on to tell many stories about people like us. . . .


About a hotel clerk in Baja who said that over the years, hundreds of people had come to the hotel to take their own lives. But they did not do it because there was a Gideon Bible in the room. Of the 7 that did, 6 killed themselves in rooms that had no Bible.


About a missionary and his wife in Honduras who, after 2 years of preparation, were getting ready to launch their ministry. In the middle of the night God told them to move to the desolate desert country of Choluteca, near the Nicaraguan border. At first dubious, they obeyed God and moved. As a result, some were saved and became Gideons. Soon, that desolate area became a camp for 70,000 Salvadoran refugees. One of the Gideons appealed to Erskin, who saw that 70,000 New Testaments were provided to those refugees. And that’s not the end of the story—eventually 100 pastors came out of that camp!


[Friends and Fellowship]Friends and Fellowship
The Faith Fund offering goal for the night was $7,500, but God surely opened people’s hearts and pocketbooks as $10,431 was given! Praise the Lord! According to camp treasurer John Dillard, the breakdown by camp was $5,116 (Raleigh North), $3,245 (Raleigh East), $1,440 (Raleigh West), and $630 (Wake County South). Praise God from whom all blessings flow!  


Private School Distributions

[Smiles of Joy]Smiles of Joy
Thanks to a SUPER job being done by George Kissinger and Frank Rawley, the private schools served by our camp are probably getting the best coverage ever (see chart). At one school (Sparcs), a child asked, “Where’s Sams.” The teacher said, “That’s a discount store, that’s not in the Bible.” But the child asked again, “Where’s Sams?” Then it dawned on the teacher--the child was asking about Psalms!


[Teacher Carrie Bates]Teacher Carrie Bates

At St. Raphael Elementary School, a Catholic school, Frank Rawley gave out 28 orange Youth Testaments to the children. He said, “I don’t know if I did the right thing but I told the children, ‘This is a Happy Birthday present to you, but Jesus is the present that God gave to us a long time ago.’ When we got finished, we had a little prayer. I momentarily forgot that this was a Catholic school and just gave a regular ol’ Protestant prayer. When I finished, I noticed the students AND the principal were doing the “criss-cross” (sign-of-the-cross)!”


Private Schools





St. Timothy’s-Hale Middle School

Nov 1



Love Christian Center Academy

Nov 12



Sparc Academy

Nov 16



RCC (Raleigh Christian Community school)

Nov 19



Grace Christian School

Nov 26



Faith Lutheran

Nov 27



Friendship Christian School

Dec 5



St. Raphael Elementary School

Dec 5



Totals thus far:





Regional Seminars Scheduled

Recently, revolutionary changes have been made in the Memorial Bible and Church Assignment programs. The purpose is to expand the Gideon ministry. Change is inevitable and someday even “we shall all be changed (1 Cor. 15:51),” but the changes in these two programs will be explained in detail during five 3-hour regional seminars across the state. Each Camp President, MBC (Memorial Bible Chairman) and CAC (Church Assignment Chairman) is required to attend. Auxiliary Area Directors, MBPAs and Camp Presidents are also welcome.


The closest seminar to Raleigh will be held in Durham at the Berea Baptist Church (544-7151), 5011 Fayetteville Road at 9:00 a.m., Saturday, February 9, 2002. Lunch will be provided. Lester Shelton (State CAC) and Phil Williams (State MBC) will run the meeting. Other seminars will be held in Asheville (December 15), Statesville, Fayetteville, and Greenville (dates to be announced).


What are these changes? First, there is a major emphasis on comprehensive church relations. Every Gideon will be involved in scheduling church services or in promoting Memorial Bibles; every Gideon will be involved in improving pastoral relationships. Second, there is a new plan of action for the Church Assignment program and for the Memorial Bible program.


Why should you attend? To help carry out our only reason to exist as an Association . . . to win boys and girls . . . men and women to our Lord Jesus Christ! We have been urged to pray for the Comprehensive Church Relations Program at our weekly prayer meeting. For more details, see the November and December issues of The Information Bulletin.


Remembering Steven Graham

[Steven and Laurel Graham--Christmas 1993]Steven and Laurel Graham--Christmas 1993
Steven Geoffrey Graham, 78, president of the Wake County South camp, died believing in the Lord Jesus on Sunday, November 18, 2001. He died exactly one week after giving a Gideon report at Jenkins Memorial United Methodist Church in Raleigh. On the Thursday following his report, an attack of emphysema sent him to Western Wake Medical Center in Cary. He leaves behind his wife Laurel and family. Please pray for the Wake County South camp as they are currently without a president.


Born in Chicago, Steven retired as professor of finance at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan and moved to Apex in 1988. He was a faithful member and active leader in the Tree of Life Lutheran Church in Cary. He was a tutor for Educational Enrichment, as well as an active volunteer in the Wake County Literacy program, having taught inmates at Central Prison and Women’s Prison in Raleigh for 11 years.


Steven was also a member of Cary Senior golfers. In 1985-86, he and his wife Laurel spent a year in Europe. They lived in Heidelberg, Germany and traveled all over Europe including Scotland and England.


A personal note: I met Steven when I became back-up trainer for Raleigh West camp’s New Member Plan in 1999. As a new member, Steven stepped up to the plate and agreed to be Camp President. He was also the first new member to qualify as a church speaker. I have nothing but love and admiration for this man who, so late in life, literally breathed his last breath working for the Lord. In my mind, Steven is a “Number One Gideon.” In Memory cards may be sent to Laurel Graham, 132 Altair Circle, Apex, NC 27502.


Camp Meeting December 18:

Christmas Fellowship

Our annual Christmas Fellowship camp dinner meeting will be held at Embassy Suites, 4700 Creedmoor Road, at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, December 18. Don’t miss this time of food, fellowship, singing and the sharing of God’s blessings as we come together to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 


If you made a commitment to be at our last meeting but couldn’t attend we were still charged for the meal. Please consider offering your meal cost ($15 per person) to the camp fund c/o Gideons International, PO Box 33635, Raleigh, NC 27636.


Saved Through a Little Red Bible

l. to rt.: James and Lolita Upchurch, Frank Rawley
l. to rt.: James and Lolita Upchurch, Frank Rawley

James and Lolita Esplana Upchurch from Cary were guests at our November 20th camp meeting. During our program on the International Extension Ministry, Faith Fund chairman Frank Rawley introduced Lolita and asked her to give her personal testimony.


Lolita said she was raised in the Philippines as a Roman Catholic but her grandfather had become a Baptist. One day, when she was 15, a Gideon came to school and gave her a little red Bible. This was the first Bible her family ever had. She would read it everyday in her room after chores and especially liked the book of Proverbs. Sadly though, she never shared it with her two brothers or three sisters. She was married at 20 and the next year (1981) came to the USA. She became a Christian when she was 30 and joined a Baptist church. She said that God revealed His truth to her through the Bible and she hoped her testimony was a help to us. Rest assured, Lolita, indeed it was!


Auxiliary Notes

For the first time ever, the Auxiliary is in charge of the program at a camp dinner meeting. The Auxiliary cabinet met on Monday, December 3, at Nadine Kay’s home to plan the program for January’s camp dinner meeting. They will explain to the Gideons their purpose, what they do, and what’s new in the Auxiliary.


Reminder: Ladies, please bring your Auxiliary Scripture fund money to this month’s Christmas dinner meeting and to February’s One-on-One meeting. The money will be collected even though there is no formal separate Auxiliary meeting. Please pray that both Auxiliary and Gideons will be able to make Scripture distributions in hospitals and nursing homes soon.


The Visitation

[Charlie Rabb tells cadets about the Gideons.]Charlie Rabb tells cadets about the Gideons.

On Tuesday, November 20, Charlie Rabb, Cliff Merrill, and John Kay arrived at the appointed hour (12:30 p.m.) at the NC Highway Patrol Training Center, 3318 Garner road. Their purpose was to distribute Service Testaments to the latest crop of cadets. They walked into the classroom with their testaments and were preparing to give them out when they noticed testaments at every seat. Somebody else had beaten them to it! A cadet walked up to them and said, “I gave them Bibles this morning.” It turns out his father was a Gideon from the Lee County camp who had given the Bibles to his son to donate to the cadets that very morning. The Highway Patrol knew that Gideons were coming but the cadet did NOT know. 


Charlie said, “Well, praise God—I’m glad you did. And now we’ll tell them why!” So Charlie told them about the Gideon ministry. He also shared a testimony about one of their own who had previously gotten a testament as a cadet. He had come up to Charlie at the State Fair to say how much it meant to him on that day he had received it. John had everyone read in unison the section in the front of the Service Testament about the Bible and then took them to Romans 13:4 to show how God visualized them as His ministers to uphold His ways. He also pointed out the way of salvation in the back and gave a testimony. Cliff expressed appreciation for allowing us to share the love of Jesus with them and then prayed for each of them that God would direct and protect them as they serve us.

Charlie and John and Cliff gave out a few more testaments to cadets that had been missed earlier. The other camp was not following the Gideon guide book, because only Gideons are to distribute Bibles. But Charlie didn’t tell that to the cadets. He smiled and said, “You got double coverage today.” So right or wrong, the cadets were visited by not one, but two camps that day. The Lord, in His wisdom, had put the same idea in both camps.


Church Assignments

Church Assignment Chairman Doug Schmidt reports total church receipts (as of December 2) of $5,304 towards our goal of $14,000. This includes a recent generous donation from Providence Baptist Church, for which we praise God. Please be in prayer on how to implement the Gideons’ new approach to building stronger relationships with pastors.


As a reminder, you may want to line up a church service on Rally Sunday, May 5, when many Gideon speakers will be attending the State Convention here. The convention goal is 100 local area church services that day. How long has it been since a speaker was at your church? Contact Doug at home (782-5311) or work (781-0304).


Church Speaking Opportunities


Praise for these churches and speakers:

Nov 11: Baptist Grove Baptist

Nov 18: Stony Hill Baptist

Nov 25: Ebeneezer Baptist 

Nov 25: N. Raleigh Church of the Nazarene

Pray for these churches and speakers:

Jan 27: Six Forks Baptist Church



Richard Justice

Cliff Merrill

Tom Hopper

Jim Knox


Richard Justice


2002 Dues

If you have not renewed your dues for this coming year, please do so today. They are due no later than December 31, 2001 for you to remain a member in good standing. Pay now and get a tax deduction in April!


A Wonderful way to Say “I Love You”

With Living Memorial Bibles

New! “In Memory,” “In Recognition” and “Thinking of You” cards are now available. Contact Memorial Bible Chairman Garland Tucker at 785-0404.


Garland says: “There is no more appropriate thing to give to the Lord in honor of His Birthday than Bibles!” Give 1 Bible or 10 Bibles, or even 100 Bibles, but give Bibles. How can we remind others that it is Jesus’ birthday? Among the gifts we give our loved ones (saved and unsaved) we can send an “In Honor” card saying, “Gideon Bibles have been donated in honor of your being created in God’s image and for His glory as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord.”


In Memory:  T. Michael Hardee, 23, grandson of camp member Ray Jernigan, died of cancer and went to be with the Lord on November 15, 2001. He attended Western Carolina University and was a member of Bay Leaf Baptist Church, where he participated in the music program and in mission activities. In Memory cards may be sent to Ray and Jean Jernigan, 11609 Coachman’s Way, Raleigh, NC 27614-8413.


In Honor:  Luke Robert Atkinson, newborn son of Robert and Ginger Atkinson. Luke was born October 29, 2001 in Durham, NC. He is the grandson of camp member J.P. Morris and former camp members Ted and Nancy Atkinson. In Honor cards may be sent to J.P. Morris, 4841 Edgerton Court, Apt. 615, Raleigh, NC 27612-7124 or to Ted and Nancy Atkinson, 5613 Partridge Lane, Raleigh, NC 27609.


In Honor: 

[Last day at work with Bible study group]Last day at work with Bible study group

John Kay who, after 27 years of service, retired on Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 2001 from Research Triangle’s bioMerieux Inc., known as the Organon Teknika Corporation until July 1st of this year. Prior to that, John was with Abbott Labs for 9 years. In Honor cards may be sent to John and Nadine Kay, 5628 N. Hawthorne Way, Raleigh, NC 27613-6011.


The 100-Year-Old Gideon Testimony

When I first put that Gideon button on some men said to me: “Well, a little jug?” They began making sport of me, and don’t you know, at first I hardly knew how to take it. Now, I think it is the best thing we could have had, that emblem, because it gives us an opportunity to talk for Jesus that we wouldn’t get in any other way.


Now, brothers, wherever we are, if we are Gideons, let us stand up for Jesus. Tell of His love no matter where we are. We can talk to the liverymen, we can talk to the hotel clerks and the proprietors. just get the love of Jesus in your heart and go to work. Jesus will do the rest.—W. H. Teetzel


—From “1901 - Witnessing - An Opportunity to Talk for Jesus (as published in the December 1901 GIDEON Magazine and reprinted in Sowers of the Word, by M.A. Henderson, Gideons International, 1995, p. 369)


State Convention Planning Continues . . .

[VP Mike Steiner and Raleigh North Gideons.]VP Mike Steiner and Raleigh North Gideons.

North Carolina Gideon Vice-president Mike Steiner fellowshipped with us recently at our camp’s Saturday morning prayer breakfast. The occasion? The second planning meeting of the NC State Gideon Convention’s Local Committee. Mike met with the committee for two hours on the morning of November 10 at North Raleigh Church of the Nazarene in Raleigh.

[New Convention Banner]New Convention Banner


Mike also brought a large sign for the convention (pictured) and presented it to John Kay (photo), Local Committee Chairperson, and Malcolm Hawkins, Facilities Committee Chairman, for safekeeping.
The committee will meet 3 more times: January 12, March 2, and April 6. Praise God for willing and able hearts that God can use.


Butner Prison Ministry

Prison Chairman Tom Wallace reports that attendance continues to increase in the Friday night Bible study at Butner Prison led by Gideons from this camp. There were 24 attendees on November 16. Among them were Patrick, who has an American father and Vietnamese mother. Patrick is a former Buddhist and still has to serve 4 months in the state prison. Jerry had wonderful testimony. He says his charges are melting away and he and his wife are now getting along.


The prisoners are finishing up their study of Deuteronomy and will soon jump to the New Testament and the book of Matthew. The class usually starts with 3 hymns and is followed by devotions, prayer, 2 more hymns, and then Bible study. If you feel led to this ministry, call Tom Wallace at 919-782-0903. PRAY for this ministry and the prisoners.


Jail Ministry

[Night at the Jail]Night at the Jail
Praise the Lord for the Gideons and Auxiliary who came to help at the jail on Sunday night, November 25. Participants were: Charlie Rabb, Richard Justice, Steve Blackmon, Malcolm Hawkins, Ray Cooksey, Monte Daniels, Tom Wallace, Frank & Dot Rawley, John and Nadine Kay and Wake County Jail Chairman Cliff Merrill. Altogether they placed 91 PWTs, 15 Ladies PWTs and 33 Spanish PWTs. Two residents gave their hearts to the Lord.

Charlie Rabb said that a group of about 15 prisoners prayed with him. They all got on their knees and held hands and prayed. And there was a first that night-the deputy sheriff on duty announced on the PA system that the Gideons were there. Each time he made the announcement, more prisoners came for prayer, for devotionals, or to receive a free PWT. Frank Rawley later dropped off about 25 recovered Bibles to Chaplain Poole to distribute.

Cliff says, "I can only say how much joy it is to join these individuals in witnessing to the residents about our Lord Jesus. The energy, commitment and joy our brothers and sisters exhibit in faithfully visiting the jail each month is a blessing to be received. I am truly thankful to God for this blessing and for being a part of this ministry. The next jail visit will be December 23 (Christmas "Eve-Eve"). Please call me at 844-1418 or e-mail me at if you would like to share the true story of Christmas with these prisoners. I will also call those who have participated before."


It is reported that the old jail will be closed and converted to office space soon; the Hammond Road annex will be expanded to hold 250 more inmates. Remember to pray for our jailed brothers and sisters in Christ that they will grow in Christlikeness as they study His Word. Pray that when they leave they will be His people on the outside. Also pray that they will be such a positive witness for Christ in jail, that their fellow detainees will trust Christ.  


New Member Training Continues

Our camp’s One-on-One New Member Meeting is scheduled for February 19, 2002. Membership Chairman Cliff Merrill promises that it should be the most exciting camp meeting of the year! Our inspiring speakers will be Mike Steiner (Gideon State Vice-president) and Juanita Vickers (Area 8 Auxiliary Memorial Bible Program Assistant). Folks, it doesn’t get any better than this! Don’t miss this meeting and please bring a new Gideon. (He just doesn’t know it yet!)


Please forward the names and phone numbers of prospective members to Membership Chairman Cliff Merrill at 844-1418. He will extend invitations and begin calling and confirming guests and attendees in early January. (No applications from prospects have been received to date!) Now is the time for all members to begin to obtain commitments from those who have shown interest in our association and ministry. Please remember to include their wife-our Auxiliary is an important part of our ministry. You wives of Gideons who are not yet Auxiliary members-please consider joining! Please prayerfully consider this opportunity to serve our Lord. Pray for God's blessing for a successful membership meeting.

The Wilmington camps kick off their New Member plans with dinners on December 10 (North) and December 11 (South). Continue to pray for Richard Justice and Juanita Vickers, new member training leaders for the Roxboro camp. Richard is busy appointing officers and training the 11 new members.


MEPS Recruits Need You!

A need for backup volunteers exists at the MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station). Gideons are needed to present Service Testaments to new recruits and to witness for Christ. What do you do? Offer free copies of God’s Word to new recruits while expressing prayers and appreciation for their service to our country. (Read “U.S.A. Military Distribution Guidelines” in your Gideon Guide Book.) Working hours are terrific—7:30-8:00 a.m. on weekdays only. Call Carl Nanney at 876-1973.


Saturday Morning Prayer

Join the Gideons and Auxiliary at 7:30 Saturday morning at the Sheraton Four Points Hotel in Crabtree for Scripture reading and prayer. Stay for a great time of fellowship and breakfast! Ladies, please call Nadine Kay at 870-9266 if you plan to attend. Also, please come to the monthly meetings with your husband.


Camp Calendar


Dec 18:

Camp meeting—Fellowship

Jan 12:

State Convention planning meeting—10-12 noon, N. Ral. Church of the Nazarene

Jan 21:

Camp meeting—Function of Auxiliary (Ladies present the program.)

Feb 19:

Camp meeting—One-on-One New Member Meeting. Speaker: NC Gideon Vice-president Mike Steiner.

Mar 2:

State Convention planning meeting—10-12 noon, N. Ral. Church of the Nazarene

Mar 19:

Camp meeting—State Convention planning

Apr 6:

State Convention planning meeting—10-12 noon, N. Ral. Church of the Nazarene

Apr 16:

Camp meeting—Camp elections

Apr 21-27:

Bible Blitz—Chicago. Contact Ivan Dremann at 815-379-2380

May 2-5:

State Convention—Raleigh

May 21:

Camp meeting—State Convention returns


A Very Merry and Blessed Christmas to All,

Pat Simpson, Newsletter Editor

(919-877-0434 or e-mail

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[December 2001 charts]