Ever since first arriving at the Bangla Hope campus nearly five years ago, I have had a dream of using a set of handbells to both teach music and to use for outreach. About two years ago I began praying for a set, knowing full well that I was praying for a $20,000 project. However, I thought that perhaps there was a church or school that had lost their interest in bells and were willing to donate them to our orphanage. I posted notices but nothing materialized.
In January of this year I returned to the States to visit my family. One Saturday night I was struck with the inspiration to check on eBay for a set of handbells. This was nothing new…I had looked there before, but never found any possibilities. Within minutes I was looking at a 3-octave set of Schulmerich bells which looked practically brand new. Upon further investigation I found the set included top-of-the-line bell cases used for traveling, upgraded tables with adjustable legs, acrylic music stands, 4 inch foam and foam covers, foam traveling cases, two sets of table covers, a set of bell mallets, bell polish, polishing rags, three boxes of handbell gloves, bell music binders, and at least six boxes of music most of which was brand new. The asking price was $10,000. I knew…I knew that that was a bargain, figuring the cost would be somewhere between $18,000 to $20,000.
The post also stated that they were for “local pickup only.” Scanning the listing I found they were located in Erlanger, Kentucky, just five hours north of Chattanooga where we were visiting.
As we were preparing for bed, I casually mentioned to Myrna about what I had found online stating that perhaps we should purchase it ourselves with a credit card and pay it off a little at a time.
As we closed the day with prayer, we gave the bells to God asking for His direction and went to sleep.
The next day I received an email from eBay stating that the owner was now willing to take offers. Immediately I offered $7500. Moments later I received a counteroffer of $9000. I counteroffered $8000…they responded at $8500. That same night the American board at Bangla Hope had a conference call meeting. During the meeting I shared with the group the bell possibility. A few of the members became seriously interested in starting a fund to acquire the bells. A few days later, Ruth Squire, the board chairperson, called me on the phone to ask whether the bells were still for sale. I told her that they were. She said that we should get them…she had called a number of people who were interested in purchasing them. She immediately pledged $2500 and instructed me to get the set by card and we would raise the remainder of the funds.
The following weekend Myrna and I traveled to Erlanger, Kentucky, just below Cincinnati to pick up our handbells, tables, music, etc. The next concern was how to get them to Bangladesh? We held that question up to God in prayer and before long the answer came. Remove the adjustable legs from the plywood tops, remove the covers from the foam pads and pack all these things in our suitcases and purchase plywood tabletops and foam in Bangladesh on which to attach the legs.
God never lets us down when we sincerely request His wisdom. The plan worked perfectly. Everything has arrived safely in Bangladesh and we are now waiting for March 15 when the new tabletops and foam will arrive on our campus and the handbell choirs will begin rehearsal. To my knowledge, this is the first set of handbells in Bangladesh so the response will be interesting.
One note regarding this trip to Kentucky…we made the ten-hour trip to acquire the bells…the very next day while driving five miles to the post office our water pump went out. We were close enough so we could nurse the car home…had the operation that night...and were back on the road the next day. God saved us a lot of money by being able to do the job ourselves. Praise the Lord! God is so remarkable…what a joy to serve Him.
If you feel inspired to aid us in this purchase, then please mark your donation “Handbells”. Once again…thank you for your love, prayers and support!