For OBU Mathematician, Bible Distribution Adds Up

An admirable leader and associate professor of mathematics at OBU, Dr. John Nichols has made a difference all across the State of Oklahoma through The Gideons International. Nichols' mission, along with other Gideons since 1899, is dedicated to bringing people to a saving faith in Jesus Christ through personal witnessing and the distribution of God's Word. The Gideons International serves as an extended missionary arm of the church and is the oldest Christian business and professional men's association in the United States, according to the organization's website. Gideons are active in more than 190 countries around the world. Members come from many Protestant/evangelical denominations. Last year, Nichols was part of the group's efforts to pass out 7,500 Bibles in Pottawatomie and Seminole counties. Gideons distributed 180,000 Bibles across Oklahoma. Worldwide, they circulated 80 million Bibles free of charge. Nichols' journey toward the Gideons organization began in 1995 while living in Alabama. Attending a men's ministry conference, Promise Keepers, the focus was staying faithful to God, family and country. That same year Nichols took part in the Alabama Prayer Group and Accountability Group. The group's goal was praying for one another, performing an act that praises Jesus Christ and reading the Bible daily. "Our main focus was to stay accountable to one another in everything we do," Nichols said. After moving to Shawnee in 2000, Nichols and his family joined Immanuel Baptist Church. He also became involved in a men's prayer group that consisted of professors and students. They met every Saturday morning for prayer and fellowship. As students graduated and professors retired, the group dismantled. In January 2001, a friend invited Nichols to a Gideons' prayer breakfast, and he has been with the evangelical group ever since, becoming active on both the local and state levels. His titles include ministry chairman and state secretary. He keeps tabs on elections and paperwork and also contacts local churches to let pastors know the Gideons care and pray for them. The Gideon men meet every Saturday, and they pray for six different churches each meeting. In 2004, Nichols was named Area 3 director for the Oklahoma Gideons, and in April 2007, he was selected as state chaplain. Nichols' said his involvement in the Gideons is great for both his spiritual life and his family life, and his family is a huge supporter of his Gideon ministry. His wife, Edna, is a member of the Gideon Auxiliary, and they both travel and speak to local Gideon organizations. "It's a real joy to travel halfway across the state and speak in a church or banquet and have her there by my side," he said. His children, Chris and Cynthia, are OBU graduates; Cynthia teaches at Oklahoma State University, and Chris started an editing and proof-reading service to help writers. As an educator, Nichols teaches all levels of mathematics and focuses on helping new Christians grow by studying the Scriptures distributed by the Gideons on campus. He shares a testimony of an OBU student who said he came to faith in Jesus Christ after receiving a Gideon Bible from Nichols. "It's important to pass out testaments and to witness because you never know when you're going to touch someone's life with Jesus Christ," he said. "I am very grateful for OBU's support in pursuing this ministry." For more information about The Gideons International organization, go to www.Gideons.org To learn more about the Promise Keepers go to www.promisekeepers.org