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As we continue with the story of how God has led His ministry here at Hope, we cannot but praise His name for all of His blessings. There are so many to enumerate that it would be an extremely lengthy article. The greatest miracle of course is God giving His Son to live and die for us. Anything beyond that is in smaller scale of course, and we would like to build on this foundation that God might be glorified and that you might be encouraged by God’s leading at Hope.
As mentioned in our previous notes, the Lord gave us a buyer on the very day we announced we were going to see if God wanted us to sell our previous facilities. We have had some experience with this, as we had tried to sell the place for six months, without a single offer. We knew that if God did not want it sold, it would not sell. So this was yet another test to see of the time was right yet. To have God move in such a miraculous way was extremely encouraging and we were ready to walk in the ways He opened for us. The question now was where.
Galesburg, Illinois was known by none of us but Ron Spear, as he had actually been there many years before when he was looking for a place to start a ministry, and when the call came, he was ready to go. It was arranged that we all met on a cold, blustery, December day in 2001. We then rented a van to take all the board members to the property.
We drove through three hours of flat, barren, windswept cornfields. It was not a very encouraging sight. I was hoping that this was not a few buildings in the middle of a cornfield with a few twigs planted as trees that would be large enough for shade in 30 years. When we turned into the driveway, we were pleasantly surprised to see many acres of full-grown trees and hills and valleys. It was so out of place right there amidst the cornfields we could not believe it.
There in front of us was a beautiful little cottage where Dr. Wang had built his first house. Absolutely huge pine and willow and locust trees surrounded the house. After we passed that house, there was a stately, brick church to worship in, hold meetings and record our videos, replete with padded pews and a large stained glass window behind the pulpit. A little further down a hill was a very large, brick 20-room dormitory building that would work perfectly for offices and storage and Campmeeting rooms. It had a wonderful commercial kitchen and a very large dining room, capable of seating many, many guests. Then, back up the hill was a very large and comfortable house that was nestled in among hickory, walnut, oak, maple, elm and beech trees.
It was enough for us right there to see where the Lord was leading, but there was one other home on the property, or actually was on the property, but had recently been sold. A man had just bought it and ten acres right in the middle of this property. He had bought it less than a year before. We decided to pray and ask the Lord’s leading to see if he might be interested in selling the property to us. Fortunately, or better, providentially, his house in town had not sold and it was hard for him to be making double payments.
He said he would pray about it, as he was a Christian man, and would let us know. We certainly could have worked around the man, but it would have been much better if we could have had all the property back together. He came back to us the next day and said he was impressed to sell it to us and only asked what he had put into it. Another sign from the Lord, in our opinion!
After we had seen all of the property and the surrounding area, and was offered the other house for purchase, we felt sure this was the place, and put it before the Lord. We thought the place to be just what we needed, but we still did not know the price, other than for the one house that was sold earlier. After all, not only was there a great amount of woods, in an area not known for woods, but it was situated on rolling hills and valleys. Then there was a gorgeous pond on the back side of the property. And, of course, there were two homes and a beautiful brick chapel and a brick dormitory.
As we prayed and laid this before the Lord, we said that we know not how to come in or go out, but that He does and if this was the place He wanted us, He would open the doors and make the price affordable to us. When we met with the owners, they were so happy with what we had designed to do with the place, and they themselves wanting to be part of our work, offered the property at a price we could scarcely believe. We knew for certain that this was the location where God wanted us to be.
Even though we loved the location and the trees and pond and all the buildings, we knew that in order for us to get these things, we would have to apply for a zoning change in front of the zoning commission. We had been before a few zoning officials before and they were very suspicious about several families moving in to their area and being very religious and many of them had little knowledge of Seventh-day Adventists. Every one of the previous States and their zoning officials had turned us down, saying they were not interested in what we desired to do with the properties.
With that in mind, we had a scheduled meeting with the zoning commission in Galesburg, Illinois. We did much praying and preparing and tried to be as ready as possible for any questions that might arise, knowing full well that if they turned us down, we would lose the opportunity on this beautiful piece of property. We came before the zoning commission that met in the evening and we were faced with 7 zoning committee members who looked very serious and concerned about what we wanted.
There were few smiles and little conviviality. As the meeting started, no one (of the committee) seemed to want to speak. We addressed the issue and what we were asking for and still there were no questions. Finally, one of the members spoke up and said, “I have only one question.” We were praying that we would be prepared for any question that might come up, but we were not ready for this one. We never, ever would have thought this question would come up, and we were totally taken by surprise. Remember, this was taking place in early 2002…
The man said, “Do you believe that Saddam Hussein is the anti-Christ?” We were floored. We never thought that might be one of the questions, but it was evident that “zoning” was not on their minds. We smiled and said, “No” and that was the end of the meeting. Our zoning request was approved and we knew God had opened the way for us to move to Galesburg, Illinois.
Then came the actual moving of all of our equipment and furniture and office supplies and maintenance stuff. It took months to prepare everything for transport, but once we were ready, we led out with two 26’ U-Hauls and trailers, bringing the maintenance man and his wife who did the shipping. They were the first to arrive and “set up.” After that, 5 more 26’ U-Hauls with trailers came with the rest of our things. God miraculously delivered us from all harm and breakdowns and accidents. That in itself was a great blessing to us. And all of these U-Hauls had trailers behind them loaded with vehicles or tractors or farm implements. And not a single thing got loose or fell off or was damaged in the move. We were so very thankful to the Lord.
After moving onto the property, we knew we would need to build additional homes and would need more land to expand the ministry for more workers. We expected that and knew that the Lord would not disappoint. As we went to the various owners of the property we needed, we knelt down and humbly asked for what we felt we needed. Then, as we approached the owners, each one came to the decision to sell to us. That was nothing but the hand of God, since neither one was inclined to sell, but changed their minds. This was yet another evidence that the Lord was with us.
But, we still had to do some building, and we knew we would need building permits from the county. In many States and counties, there are many issues that need to be addressed and dealt with and several inspections and each one depends heavily upon the individual inspector. Again, on our knees, we asked the Lord to intercede and allow the process to go quickly and smoothly.
Just to give you an idea of what building permits and inspections can be like, in some States there are seven different inspections before the building even comes out of the ground! It can be grueling. The first thing we needed to do was set out the four points of where the building would sit. After we set out the stakes for the four corners of the building, we called the inspectors. They came out the same day, (which was amazing to me), looked at the four stakes and said, “Okay.”
We asked what that meant? “What is the next step?” we asked. We had done no digging, no steel for footers yet, no carriages for the steel, no depth to anything yet… nothing. Their answer actually blew us away. We could not believe it. Never had we ever experienced ANYTHING like this in our lives! We were told, “You are done… build your building.” That was literally the last we saw of the inspectors. Praise the Lord!!!
Yet another one of the amazing miracles of Hope was the number of volunteers that came to help build, remodel, clean, repair and work with us to bring Hope International into the place we needed it to be. There is not enough space here to tell you how many came, for how long, and what they accomplished. Suffice it to say that we knew full well that the Lord was working on hearts from all over the nation. Our hearts were overjoyed with happiness, not just for the work that was accomplished, but for the glorious fellowship and the desire of others to help with the work here at Hope.
We needed to have central air and heat put into the dorm and the chapel and we knew how expensive that might be. Providentially, the Illinois conference Campmeeting site was only 15 minutes away and they employed a maintenance man to take care of the campgrounds. We had befriended him and he just happened to be a certified HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) contractor. He bought all of our equipment at his discount and installed it all, including all of the ductwork, for free! Praise the Lord!
Another miracle of the Lord was when we had decided to put in the central heat and air; we looked into the most inexpensive way to heat both buildings. They were all heated by strip heat, the most expensive heating available and we were looking to reduce the heating bills. We looked into natural gas heat and found out that it had just recently been run down the road, just six months earlier, and was now available. The gas company came out and said that it would cost $25.00 a foot to run the main gas line to service each building. They measured what we needed and it was exactly 1,000 feet.
We kind of choked when we heard that number and began calculating how long it would take to get a return on that investment. The engineer that came out and measured said it would not be that bad, because they give you 200 feet for free. We were very pleased at that, but it still looked like a pretty steep bill at $20,000. Then he said, no, you don’t understand… it is 200 feet for free… for every building that you hook up. We had five buildings. Five times 200 feet was the 1,000 feet we needed. The entire gas line was run for… that’s right… free! Again… praise God!
Now, we are comfortably ensconced in our dorm building, with all the offices set up and running and everything was going along swimmingly. One day, a visitor came by and said that everything looked very nice, but our offices were not very representative of God’s work. I told him that we did what we could for the money we had and that if he really felt strongly, we would accept any and all donations he would like to make to improve our “representation” of God’s work. He said he had no money to give, but that he would pray about it.
Miraculously, within the month, the caretaker of the Illinois Conference Camp, the one who had helped us with our air conditioning and heating, called and asked if we would be interested in a log home. We assumed that it would be some kind of Lincoln-log kind of old structure, but we were never ones to turn down an offer without checking into it. He said that we could have the building for free! He said it was offered to the Illinois Conference, but that they had looked at it and were not interested. He was asked by the owner of the structure if he knew anyone else who might be interested, and he thought of us.
We took the fifteen minute ride to where this building was, expecting to see some old, broken down building that someone needed to get rid of. Never, ever, in a million years, would we have expected to see what God had provided for us. It was a brand new log home that was constructed on this farmer’s property. It had never even been lived in. There was some problem with the contractor not building the basement and some of the home they way he wanted it and he sued them. They paid him off, but he had to give away or burn down the home.
Below is the picture of the building:
The farmer wanted nothing for the home, and legally, he couldn’t receive any remuneration. It was complete with hardwood floors, all the lighting, ceiling fans and plumbing fixtures, water heater, outside decks, air conditioning… the works! And all for free! Praise the Lord!
Now, we began to look for house movers. We were given a price of $50,000 to move the structure the fifteen minutes from our property. That was not bad, considering the value of the building. But then we ran into a problem. We had to have two sets of electrical lines, from two different electric companies, moved or cut, for the moving process. The two companies wanted a total of $60,000 to move the utility lines. We now would have $110,000 invested in this building. Still a far cry from actual cost, but we were not prepared for that kind of expense.
We knelt and prayed, as we always did, for the Lord’s leading and what He wanted us to do. We then looked for other ways to move the building that did not require moving the power lines. We met a building contractor who lived just down the road from us and he said that as it was nearing winter, when he had a lot less work on schedule, that he would give us a bid to tear it completely down and move it and rebuild it on our location.
He said that he would take it apart, stick-by-stick, log-by-log and move it by trailer and then re-assemble it just like it was. We could not imagine how that would be cheaper… until he said what he would do it for… $35,000! We were absolutely floored. Not only would we not have to pay the electrical companies fees, but is was $25,000 cheaper than having the house movers do the work! Hallelujah!
Now we had a new office building and an absolutely gorgeous one at that, and we had the building for free and for way less to move it than we thought, and it was right out in front of the property, making it very, very “representative”. We could not be more thankful!
Now, we had more employees than we had housing for, so we started looking into building, buying or renting a place for our employees to live. Someone told us of an old woman who had recently died and she had owned a modular home that the family was trying to dispose of. The modular home was fully furnished and had a garage, a shed and a full, covered porch. The home had central heat and air and all of it was to be sold together, and we were able to get it all for just $35,000. A full, complete home that was completely furnished! And not just the home, but out buildings as well. Once again, the Lord provided miraculously for our needs.
When we had moved to Illinois, we decided we needed some signage on the roads leading to our property to direct people to us. The county did not really want us to put signs on their right-of-way, so we looked for other options. There was this perfect spot up on a hill right next to the road you turned on to come to our property and we prayed that the owner might be willing to let us put up a large sign directing people to Hope. When we approached the owner, we told them where we were and what property we bought and the woman asked if it was the property owned by the Wang’s. We said yes. She then told us a story of how she had come to this area many years ago and had no money and was destitute and how the Wang’s helped her and housed her for a time. She said, “Whatever you need to do, you go ahead and do. It is the least I could do for friends of the Wang’s. Once, again, the Lord had intervened and this time, it was over 30 years before we got there!
Another wonderful blessing from the Lord was that of close proximity to international airports. We were within an hour of two of them. Since we did a lot of traveling and speaking back then, it was extremely advantageous to us. Also, the town we were minutes from had Amtrak running right through it, and Amtrak had 5 stops through the town each day. That was the most stops for a town of that size in the nation! We were also centrally located, about three hours from Chicago, IL, St. Louis, MO and Des Moines, IA. All of these were easy access within a day for our meetings and programs, making it very accessible by car.
The original Wang property was 80 acres large. We had now owned 60 of those acres and decided that the 20 acres that had previously been sold, we would try to procure. It was bought a few years earlier by a man who had decided to build a subdivision. We did not want a subdivision right next to us, so we approached the man. He was willing to sell, but his wife was diametrically opposed. He said he would talk to her. A few weeks later, even though his wife was still against it, he sold it to us. That prevented anything from being built right next to us. And… when we sold the property in Illinois, we tripled our money!
When we had chosen to move to Galesburg, Illinois, we had no idea of another huge blessing that God intended for us. There is a businessc located there that takes all unwanted or unneeded inventory from companies all over the United States and then gives the merchandise away to not-for-profits. The place is called NAEIR. You can go into these warehouses and pick up anything and everything you want… for free. There is a program to join for a few hundred dollars a year, but then everything else is free. We are talking about building supplies, cleaning supplies, art supplies, furniture, tools, home furnishings, medical supplies… the list is virtually endless. And there was only one place in all of the United States where this was available… in Galesburg, IL. We received, over the time we were there, over $350,000 in free merchandise, from all the types of building supplies, greenhouse supplies, furniture, cleaning products, etc., etc. It was absolutely like Christmas five times a year! What a huge blessing that we are still benefiting from!
Then, while we lived there, a lumber company was going out of business and they had all sorts of odds and ends, from hardware to lumber and they offered it to us at pennies on the dollar and we still use those materials to this day. Things that we would have had to go to the lumberyard for, we have for just about nothing. The Lord blessed us to the point where there was literally not room to receive it all! ☺
Additionally, there was an elderly woman who had lost her husband and was ready to divest from some of her farm and acreage. She had a small 5-acre lot with two huge barns on it that she no longer needed. We agreed to a certain sum and we now had room for all of the Lord’s blessings. Little did we know, (but the Lord did) that farm land was going to almost triple in price because of corn, wheat and soybean prices, and farmers now needed more equipment to turn more land into farm acreage so they would need buildings to store that equipment in. All of a sudden, our barns were worth much more than we had invested in them. And, a farmer across the street from us said that he wanted those barns and that he would bid up the price very high, because he wanted them so badly since they were so close. And just as he had said, the price for the barns went way higher than anyone else would have expected. Another huge blessing from the Lord!
And yet one more miracle that the Lord provided… not so much because of living in Illinois, but because our God is so good… across my desk one day came this advertisement to do cheaper printing. The prices were much better than anything we had gotten before so I wondered what the catch was. As I looked at the fine print of the brochure, I saw why the prices were so much better. This was a large printer that did printing for smaller printer companies. The advertisement was not for individual printing needs but for printing companies. I threw the brochure away. For some reason, I felt that I should dig the brochure back out of the trash. I held on to it for a few days and then felt impressed to give the company a call. I reasoned that the worst that could happen was that they would tell me that they could not do business with us unless we were a printing company.
Sure enough, when I called, my assumptions were correct and I was told that they could not print for us. I told them that I understood and that we were a small, Christian ministry that was just trying to cut printing costs so we could reach more souls. Upon hearing this, the secretary said that her boss might be interested in talking to us. The owner called me back the next day and we discussed our needs and what they could do for us. She said she felt she could save us some money with our printing and agreed to do our work. She said that she could save us 25 percent on our printing costs, but when we received the first bill, there was no charge. When I called to ask what had happened, the owner and her husband said they had decided to do a little more than 25 percent. They did the printing of our magazine, “Our Firm Foundation” and our “Good News” newsletter for free. The next month the bill was the same… free. The next month and the next month and so on for two full years the bill was always the same… free. And in addition to the free printing, the design work for both the magazine and newsletter were done at their cost and is still that way today! Only God could work in such wondrous ways! Hallelujah!
Hope spent ten years in Illinois, enjoying all the blessings God chose to shower down upon us, but in those ten years, many things had changed. Gone were the days of large campmeeting tents and services. Gone too were the continual trips all over the world and specifically, the U.S. We were now strongly into our Monthly DVD program and Sample DVD program.
In addition, there were so many complaints of the high cost of coming to a health retreat, wherever it might be located, and people wanted a way to help themselves. That’s when the idea of a health message, dealing with various illnesses and ways to use natural remedies at home, came to fruition. We have employed many healthcare practitioners over the years and when we decided to offer free healthcare counseling, it was an overnight success. There were those who requested meetings from around the globe, but we determined we could help more people if we recorded the programs and then offered them free of charge to all who were interested.
And, just like in Washington State, over the years, the city crept closer and closer until we were close to too many subdivisions again. The decision was made to begin looking for another location, that we might be further out in the country. And since our campmeetings and our almost weekly travel to various locations had come to an end, and the health DVDs and monthly DVDs were such a success, we determined to try to locate a place that would never get too populated.
Another thing we were really impressed with is the need to get closer to the mountains. We have been told that the day will come where we will need to get to the mountains to be away from many prying eyes as we try to keep our holy religion pure and can keep the Sabbath as the Bible directs. Of course, we have much counsel as to country living and we have always tried to follow those injunctions, but now we were looking to get even further out. Since virtually everything we did now was on the internet or by mail, many more “country” locations were possibilities now.
As we laid these considerations before the Lord, we were impressed to look for a place that had a good growing season for gardens; a good supply of water, and if possible, from a location above living quarters so the natural gravity flow of the water would negate the need for electricity for water pumping; higher elevations for cooler weather; a location with plenty of timber to heat the homes with wood; and, if possible, an established location that already had electricity, water, telephone and lots of fruit and nut trees.
We realized this was a lot to ask, but the Lord said that we have not because we ask not, so we went boldly unto the Throne of Grace to see what God might do for us. Our desire, all along in this ministry, has been to do God’s will. Whatever He wants us to do is what we want to do. Our goal has been simply to follow His leading and do as He commands. This has kept us close to the Saviour and has helped us remain humble and obedient. And as a result, God has very often, as you have read already, given us the desires of our hearts.
Our initial searches sent us to Colorado; Wyoming; western North and South Dakota; Montana; Oregon; Idaho and Washington. Most of what we were looking for was available, but for extremely high prices. Then there was the issue of being at a higher elevation but then, that meant there were gardening considerations. We did not know it at the time, but the higher the elevations, the worse for gardening. Also, in many of the locations, water was either scarce or you had to have a legal right to it. For instance, we were told by people who live in Colorado, that you were not allowed to keep the rainwater that fell on your roof. Now, whether that was a State-wide rule or by the city, we were afraid of going somewhere that water might be an issue.
We knew what our property in Illinois was worth, yet also knew that the economy was not doing well and that we might not get the full value for the homes and buildings we had. So, we were very careful in what we searched for that we might stay within a very circumspect budget. Another consideration was weather. We did not want to locate in a potential drought-stricken area or a floodplain or tornado alley or fire zone, earthquake zone, hurricane zone or any other place where there were extreme fluctuations in temperature. All of us at Hope have lived in very hot or dry or wet or cold regions of the U.S. and we strove to locate a place where it might be more temperate.
Never failing to set everything before the Lord, we searched and asked and prayed and searched and prayed some more. Another consideration was finding a suitable location that would allow for the construction of a business and several homes and what the zoning restrictions might be. It might not seem so, but that is a huge hurdle in many locations. There are many, many counties that do not countenance families living together in one location. Many counties stipulate separate plots of land and/or individual wells and many other considerations.
After months of research, we began to look at the Eastern mountains rather than the Western Rockies. As we began to look, there seemed to be a lot more possibilities. And, to our complete happiness, the prices for acreage were much better. There were many, many properties to choose from. We had decided that, if it were possible, we would like a property that had springs that came directly out of the mountain and did not go past fourteen other homesteads and their farm animals before it came to us.
It was also very important to relocate to a property that had lots of established fruit and nut trees so we would not get there and have to wait for years before we could get any produce. As we looked into the Appalachian Mountains, we noticed how temperate it was, especially in the higher elevations. And the growing season was very long and some people there were growing vegetables all year long. This was especially exciting to us. As we looked at properties, we also needed a location that trucks could get to so we could get our paper and health products easily.
As we looked at our list of needs, and even our wants, we began to pore over the listings and were finally led to our new location here in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina. As it ended up, through no intent on our part, we were now only 30 minutes from Clark Floyd, a speaker and board member of Hope International. We couldn’t have asked for a more convenient location for Clark to be able to come over the mountain so we could do our recording. Praise the Lord!
The location, which was once owned by an extremely nice veterinarian from Florida, who still came back to the “Big Pine” area each year, was absolutely perfect for us. The veterinarian, Bill, and his wife have come by and given us all sorts of information about the property and where lines and pipes were buried underground. He and his wife were the ones who had planted over 60 different fruit trees, blueberry bushes, nut trees and asparagus roots. He had even drawn up a map of every bush and tree and what kind of tree or bush it was.
There was a very nice, or what they call here, a “strong” spring that provides all of our water needs. We do have a well that Bill had drilled, just in case there were ever a problem or we had a really bad dry spell. We have since found four more “wet” springs that have water most of the year, but not all. And the temperature is so nice here in Big Pine. Our 80-acre property has very nice elevations and we don’t need air conditioning for our homes very often. The average highs in the winter are in the 50’s. We get some snow, but not enough to so slow us down or cause us any problems.
And just like in Illinois, the miracles of the Lord have been coming at us over and over again. One huge miracle was being able to find this land. Not only was it a beautiful location, but it was bank-owned because the previous owner, (not Bill) could not keep up the payments, and we bought it for an extremely good price. Then we needed to build a road higher up into the mountain. We met an eceptionally kind man, who lived just over the mountain from us, who agreed to help us out at a much lower price than normal, because we were a ministry.
A miracle we did not even understand at first, was how the road was being built and we did not hit any rock. It was dirt, virtually all the way up the mountain. The excavator, Ray, could not believe it. He said normally, you would be blasting all over the place. There was only one, single spot we needed to have a rock removed. All the rest of the road was easy-to-work-with dirt and as soon as we had the road width we needed, then the rock appeared. This was seen again and again and Ray said, “You must be blessed by God to have no rocks in the way.”
Another fabulous miracle was the weather. As you can imagine, building, especially in roadwork and building sites, need good weather for things to go well. There were literally scores of times that we prayed and asked the Lord to keep the rain away until after the day’s work was done. He honored us so many times we cannot even remember them all!
If you remember the gas line blessings we had in Illinois, we had the same type of experience here in North Carolina, except with the power lines. With this particular electric company, they allow you 1,000 feet of free, underground service to bring power to your buildings. We had picked several building sites to build on, and as you might have guessed, each one was less than a thousand feet apart, so that there was not a dime of cost to us to provide power to each structure. This was huge, as it might have cost tens of thousands of dollars on some properties we looked at, simply for power!
Another miracle was made apparent to us when we decided to get the water on our land tested. We took vials that were given to us by the health department and tested our well along with two of the springs on the property. All three of the tests came back with some of the purest water we had ever seen. Praise the Lord! We have since found out that the water in these mountains is some of the purest found anywhere and there are several locations where the water is bottled right from the springs, and sold all over the world!
The zoning commissioners here in Marshall, North Carolina were among the nicest people we have ever met and went out of their way to accommodate us in any way they could. They met us and received us as friends right from the start. They were so kind we felt they needed special mention in this article. We absolutely believe the Lord was in this as well, and of course, He already knew what they would be like to deal with.
Then, after moving here, we found that right next door to us was a couple who grew organic vegetables in their acreage and greenhouses. They were more than willing to give us any advice and suggestions for our own gardens and needs. And speaking of vegetables, this area of North Carolina is very heavy with farmer’s markets where fruits and vegetables are in ample supply.
And thinking about the move, another glorious blessing of the Lord was that we were able to move everything from Illinois to North Carolina without any accidents or breakdowns at all, except for a flat tire on a trailer! We made many, many trips, and went tens of thousands of miles, with loaded trucks and trailers and saved many thousands of dollars in moving our things with our own staff, all the while keeping the business open and running and not missing a beat. This was ALL the Lord’s doing.
The property we moved to has an asphalt road all the way to the property line and dead ends just a couple more miles up the road. This means that virtually no one drives up the road towards our place unless they either live here or are lost. This keeps traffic at a minimum and allows for a more relaxed atmosphere. The mail carrier is a friend who lives just up the road from us, and this has kept us from making trips to the Post Office which has meant additional thousands of dollars saved going back and forth to attend to our mailing needs!
As our first Spring arrived in Big Pine Valley, we were ecstatic to find that there were endless supplies of blackberry and black raspberry bushes. They grow in great proliferation here in the valley. In addition, there are many black walnut trees and every kind of hardwood you can imagine. In addition to the deciduous trees, there are also a great many pine trees of different varieties as well, keeping it continually green all year long. In addition to that greenery, there are huge thickets of rhododendron and also wild azalea bushes. This adds to the beauty of the area. Also, running the entire length of the Big Pine road to get to our property is a beautiful creek, fed by all the springs in the mountains surrounding the valley. It could not be more picturesque. God had indeed given us the desires of our hearts!
Our goal, and desire, was to be able to sell everything in Illinois and move to North Carolina and build everything we needed to build, including all the infrastructure, and yet have the same money in the bank that we had before we decided to move. God blessed us with that and we are now fully functional and working exclusively from North Carolina. Everything in Illinois has sold and we are in a position to do more gospel and health work than we ever have thought possible. Praise our holy God! We did not lose a single cent in the move, nor did we have to borrow any money to buy the property or make the needed improvements.
One of the reasons we were able to stay within a very tight budget is that when the building contractor came to look at our needs, he said he would reduce his and all of his employee’s salaries by $3.00 an hour. Believe me when I tell you that this was a huge windfall for us because there were three homes to be built and then work on our office building as well! That was a huge savings!
Another fabulous blessing from the Lord was that there is a IKEA store in nearby Charlotte, NC. We were able to purchase all of the cabinetry for the homes and office for almost half the cost of what we could get it for at the lumber yard, and then, at that particular time, there was a 20% off sale going on, and we reduced the cabinet costs even more. It was a huge savings off the regular cabinet prices!
And finally, we must mention the neighborhood of the Big Pine residents. These are some of the most friendly, outgoing, kind and thoughtful people you could ever imagine. They are so ready to help out, to offer their garden produce, to share flowers and seeds and anything we might be able to use. They are mountain folk who have grown up with the idea that we help each other. We have been blessed to make their acquaintance and we hope and pray that they will be blessed by our friendship as well. Many of them have already benefited from our understanding of natural health remedies and appreciate not having to go to the doctor as often! ☺
Hope has been the blessed recipient of a brand new Wood-Miser saw mill, which will make any future building projects much less costly and will be a help to the neighborhood. This has greatly expanded the ability of the ministry to create the dimensional lumber needed for our many future plans. And this was provided with a diesel engine, tow package and many other options, entirely free of charge. Hallelujah!
More to come!