“And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent.” (Luke 4:43)
A short time after our return from Weatherford TX, I was sitting on a wooden swing in the back yard of my mother-in-law’s house, when I received a visit from God.
I had read about this experience in the Old Testament, when the prophet would say, “And the Word of the Lord came unto me saying…”
I was reading my Bible, meditating on the Scriptures, gazing up at the warm summer sky, when the presence of the Lord came over me and He began speaking.
“I am going to give you a bus, and you and your family are going to travel across the southwest holding revival services in nursing homes. I have much people there. I have called others to go and do this but they would not go. And the blessings I would have given them, I have stored up and will give unto you if you will go.”
I said, “Yes Lord, I will go,” and the presence of the Lord left me. Trembling, I was excited that God would call me to such a task.
I had previously quit my job before we had gone to Weatherford and I had begun working in the ministry full time.
I believed that the same God that fed the children of Israel for 40 years in the wilderness could feed and take care of me and my family if I would only do His will and do the work that He called me to do.
I couldn’t wait to tell my wife what the Lord had said, and we began praying for the Lord to make a way for us to receive this bus.
Knowing the Lord could do anything, I was expecting someone to pull up any day with a brand new Winnebago motor home and say, “The Lord told me to give this to you.”
But God usually doesn’t work the way we expect Him to. His ways are higher than our ways.
I continued to do ministry work through the Christian Outreach Center, going out on the streets during the day and to the clubs and bars at night, witnessing to the patrons in the parking lots and on the streets.
My wife and daughter had also begun to go with me and hold services in nursing homes.
On one particular day, I had taken a brother-in-Christ home from doing some street witnessing, when I passed a field with old junk cars and a white, partially rusted school bus sitting in it.
The bus had a “For Sale” sign in the window and high weeds had grown up all around it, as if it had been there for a very long time. I didn’t think much about it and continued to drive, when the still, small voice of the Lord said, “Go back. That’s the one.”
I thought to myself, “I must be mistaken, that can’t be God’s voice. God’s going to give me a new Winnebago.”
I kept driving, but the further I drove, the knot and the sickness I began feeling in my stomach got worse. Finally, I couldn’t stand it any longer, and I made a U-turn and went back.
The field was behind a rundown mechanic’s shop. I pulled up, got out, and asked the mechanic “Hey, is that old bus out there really for sale?”
“Yeah, it sure is. You want to take a look inside?”
I said “I guess so.” thinking, “What is the Lord getting me into?” and we headed out through the weeds to the bus. When he opened the door, and we walked inside, I couldn’t believe my eyes.
The bus had been completely redone on the inside.
It had a full size bathroom with a shower, a full kitchen, two couches that turned down into full size beds, closet space, two potable water holding tanks, two sewage holding tanks, and a power generator for electricity.
It also had two large butane tanks for heat and two large air conditioning units.
Everything was brand new and had never been used. The rusty places on the outside were from where the welding had been done.
The mechanic told me that it was once owned by a man who worked for Executive Motor Homes, and that he had converted it to take people on ski trips to Colorado when he retired.
He had completed everything, had put new tires on it, and was about to paint it, when he had a heart attack. He had survived the heart attack, but instead of finishing the bus, he used it as a trade in on some real estate.
The real estate agent had placed the bus at the mechanic’s shop hoping to sell it, and it had been sitting in that field ever since.
I was astonished at what the Lord had led me to, and I repented for ever doubting.
I got the information about the real estate agent and hurried home to tell my wife. The real estate agent wanted $3,500 for the bus, so I called my banker and asked what should I do next?
He gave me the name of an appraiser and said that after I had the bus appraised, to come in and we would talk financing.
I called and found out that the appraisal would cost $50. That was all we had in the bank.
My wife Glenda said that if I really believed it was of the Lord, then we should have the appraisal done. We prayed that the Lord’s will would be done, and I met the appraiser at the bus.
He appraised the bus at $2,800. I called the real estate agent and informed her of what the bus appraised for, and she said that she would take $3,000 and no less. This was still $200 more than what the bus appraised for, and we had just spent the last of our money for the appraisal.
Still, we believed that if it was God’s will for us to have it, then God would work a miracle.
I left to go to the bank with the appraisal in my hand, and as I went, the Lord told me to just be truthful.
I sat across from the banker and explained my situation to him. I told him that I had no money to pay tax and title, that I had spent my last $50 for the appraisal, and that I would need to borrow enough money to cover the total cost.
He sat and looked at me for a moment, and then he said something that I will never forget.
He said, “ Raymond, you’re telling me that you are a full time minister, you are going to take this bus and go to nursing homes where you can receive no offerings, that you have no support behind you, and that you don’t even know where your first stop is going to be.”
“You need to borrow more than the bus appraised for in order to purchase it, and add to that enough for the tax and title with no down payment; and yet (he paused), I know that I am supposed to do this for you. I’ll draw up the paperwork.”
We got the bus the next day, and drove it home.
Praise be to God who rules and reigns in the lives of men, and who watches over His Word to perform it.