It was the eighth grade. As his classmates sat at their desks, he watched as a man walked through the door with a stack of New Testaments.
Richie says the man was from The Gideons, and was there for the sole purpose of presenting each of them with a New Testament of their own. At the time, he thought nothing of it. So he brought it home and promptly forgot about the book.
The next year, in grade nine, he quit school and started working in the fishing industry to help support his habits.
That is, until Christmas 1978. Richie, now 21 years of age, walked home with a heavy heart. His years of trying to hide in the bottle and the drug pipe were starting to take their toll—and deep down, Richie was looking for more. But as he walked into his room, there, lying on the table in plain sight, was a book that hadn’t been opened since it was presented to him in a grade eight classroom.
Picking up the New Testament, he started reading in the Book of Matthew. He kept reading, continuing the next day, and every day throughout the Christmas season.
In January, Richie began to feel the weight of his life choices. Grabbing his shotgun, he headed to the wooded area near his home. His plan? To end his life. A life that had been destroyed by a cruel trauma at a young age, and scarred by years of substance abuse trying to hide his hurt.
Standing in the forest with his gun, evaluating his life, Richie’s heart suddenly began to stir. He started thinking about the month before—the words in the Gideon Scriptures he’d read during Christmas. The stories of a man whose love for sinners like him made him think there was still something worth living for.
And shortly after the day when he nearly took his own life, Richie was delivered from his addictions. A few years later, Richie, along with his future wife, dedicated his life to Christ, crying out to God on the same beach where his addiction began as a 12-year-old boy.
From there, he says, his life changed forever. Suddenly he didn’t need alcohol or drugs to hide his pain. He’d found a new hope and purpose in what Christ had done in his life!
Perhaps most remarkably, Richie quickly embraced his gift of evangelism. He has spent years telling people what the Lord has done in his life. He’s had an opportunity to lead hundreds of people to the Lord in personal conversation.
Each of the people Richie witnesses to receives a Gideon copy of God’s Word—like the one that started his journey toward redemption. Today he’s personally distributed over 1,300 Scriptures to people from all walks of life.
Richie’s had the opportunity to share his story with other Gideons in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, but most importantly, his desire is to continue to share the story and hope of the cross, to whomever he can, every chance he gets.