The Green Gideon Bible: A High School Story

The Green Gideon Pocket Size New Testament Bible

My high school career started in a place 2 hours away from my home. I lived on the western part of the island: Montego Bay, Jamaica. I went to school in what would be considered the mountainous region of the island in a town called Mandeville. It was a school for expats, originally, but later many locals began sending their children to the school. It had facilities for “boarders”, so many children that attended the school, like myself, came from many miles away.

Because the school, Belair, was initially established for the many expats who worked at the Bauxite Company, Alcan, it had many features of a typical American high school. Belair had lockers, for example, and students moved from class to class rather than remaining in a homeroom. Additionally, the cafeteria had offerings such as pizza, hamburgers, and fried rice in addition to local fare.

Belair was coeducational. I mention this because I experienced some of my first crushes in my 7th grade year; they all ended horribly. Let’s just say I learned about unrequited love first hand. My experiences at Belair came to an end at the end of my 9th grade year after problems with the family I was boarding with arose, a story for another post.

I was back in Montego Bay, my hometown, facing a summer of daily beach visits, music festivals, and hanging out with friends. Like with all good things, the summer came to an end. My 10th grade year, I was enrolled in a local high school, Cornwall College. Cornwall had quite the reputation: it was a public high school that housed over 1500 boys, and was known for violent incidents.

Needless to say, I was filled with trepidation on that first day of school. I had heard all the stories about Cornwall- Belair seemed a paradise when compared. Regardless, I had no choice but to attend- there were not many options for schools in Montego Bay, and I didn’t want to go back to boarding school only to live with another set of strangers.

Before leaving for school that first morning, I saw a green, pocket-sized Gideon Bible on my bureau. It looked familiar, but I do not recall having seen it there prior to that morning. On impulse, I picked it up and placed in it my breast pocket of my khaki shirt. I was a child of faith; I figured if anything could help, it would be the Word of God.

So, there I was on the first day of school standing in front of a series of buildings on the top of a hill, a pocket-sized Gideon Bible tucked away securely on my person. I walked towards the building and was greeted by a tall, lanky kid who informed me that I would be bringing him money daily. I told him I wouldn’t be able to do that, but he insisted. He told me he would meet me the next morning to collect the “tax.” My heart pounded heavily as he turned and walked away casually. I was scared, completely helpless, and desperate for a solution. I remembered the Bible.

It was here that my real relationship with Jesus Christ began. I would pray daily for protection. Each day, going to school was a test in faith. For about 2 weeks I would hear whisperings that “Mighty” , the tall, lanky kid, was looking for me. He never did find me, and I never saw him. The 3rd week into my 10th grade year, Mighty was implicated in activities that resulted in his expulsion from the school. My first encounter with him was my last.

The real win of this experience was my constant reliance on God for protection and guidance. I read that green New Testament Gideon Bible every morning and at every opportunity throughout the day. I began to trust Jesus Christ more and more and relying on Him minute by minute. I even prayed that “Mighty” would be guided in his own life. I do not know what became of him, but my prayer is still that he be guided by the Almighty.

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