In 1911, The Gideons was founded in Canada. And exactly 110 years later, a name change has occurred. For some of the members who have been involved with the ministry for decades, this transition has come with both excitement and hesitation. Jeanette, an elderly woman from Medicine Hat, Alberta, became a member of the organization during the 1950s. She has an insightful perspective about the recent name change from The Gideons International in Canada to ShareWord Global.
“My uncle was the one who originally talked to my husband about becoming a member, then the two of us discussed it. That’s how it worked in those days—your husband could apply, and then the woman could follow as a helper. Leroy and I were both active in our church and we were willing to give more time to the Lord, working a different way. We both felt that this was a wonderful mission, so we applied, and we were accepted. And that’s how we got started.
A lot of things have changed since then. When I first heard about the new name, I found it hard to think about the way things were changing. Who likes change, really? But whether we like it or not, change is inevitable, and we must be ready to respond to the necessary changes to accomplish what the organization feels led to do. If we want to be successful in our mission, we have to do whatever it takes to accomplish the goal, provided it is within God’s framework.
It's good we have people in positions for the jobs that need to be done. I like to think that those who are in leadership have carefully considered this. I also understand that part of the struggle came when we became very much more involved with other countries, and we couldn't be called “Gideons in Canada” everywhere! So, it was not ‘willy-nilly’—there were reasons for the name change. But regardless, it's always hard to change and build trust with the community at large. That doesn't happen overnight. We just have to trust those who made these decisions, and that the right thing will happen in the end, for the right reasons. This will happen as long as we continuously pray for the staff and board.
We didn’t change for the sake of change, we changed because it was a necessity. And I’ve seen things progressing! So I think we have to accept this change for what it is. There comes a time when we (the older generation) should move over and allow the next generation to do what they feel they need to do. And pray that God will give them the wisdom to make the right decisions.”