A young lady in a wheelchair. A grandmother attempting to provide the necessities of life for her two granddaughters and herself while living with chronic physical problems. An old car that had seen better days. This scenario spells NEED—a need that could be met through the acquisition of a wheelchair-accessible van.
This need was presented to the Kalispell (Mont.) Church board in November as a possible Christmas project. The board voted to make this need one of two projects, and fundraising began.
Shirley Lightfoot and her granddaughters, Jennifer and Crystal, live in Battle Creek, Mich., where Shirley is a church member. Their need became known through Gail Metzger, a friend who previously lived in Michigan and now lives near Kalispell.
We started to search for a good used van that could be purchased for approximately $15,000. A Kalispell Church member suggested Clark’s Orthopedic and Medical, a medical supply dealer in Great Falls who also does van conversions and lifts and who might be able to help. A telephone call was made to Clark’s, and Melinda Schultze (also a church member) answered the call. She stated she had previously seen a notice for a van for sale posted on their bulletin board. She didn’t know if it was still available, but she would check.
She placed a call to the number listed on the notice, then advised the Kalispell contact that the van was available and was owned by Millie McCann, a church member living near Great Falls. When contacted, McCann said that the van had been for sale for awhile, but it had not sold (this type of van is usually sold very quickly). She was asking $17,900, but when she heard the story behind the desire for the van, she stated she would sell it for $12,000. We praised God and continued fundraising.
God was definitely leading in the project. During a conversation with McCann in January, she stated that she had been praying about the project and wanted to sell the van for $8,000—less than one-half of her original sale price.
The Kalispell members wanted to provide not only the van, but also to pay the tax, license and insurance fees, and have it delivered to Michigan. Again, God had every detail planned. The day before the van departed for delivery to Michigan, funds were received from a church in Michigan that helped to cover the delivery costs. After arriving in Michigan, it was determined that new tires would shortly be needed. Going forward in faith, a new set of tires was purchased. When the license and taxes were being paid, there was an unexpected decrease in the amount due because the van was to be used for someone with a disability. This $250 in savings almost covered the cost of the new tires.
The church members felt very blessed and privileged to have been chosen by God to help answer this prayer.