One day I got a text from a former coach of my daughter’s basketball team at church. He is African-American and he goes on missionary trips to Africa periodically. He wanted to know if I have eight computers that his brother David can take to Ghana and build a computer lab. I gave him some old laptops that I fixed up before, but I didn’t any supplies at the moment. I told him I’ll look into it.
I contacted a friend who sells refurbished computers. He gave me a list of some old desktops. I told him missionaries can only take laptops because they are smaller and can get thru customs more easily. He said he is getting a supply of 27 decent laptops suitable for students, but they cost $200 each if I pay cash. They are really light and powerful enough for educational uses. I searched online and found the market value is $400 currently. If I want any, I need to let him know as soon as possible because another buying is waiting to take whatever I do not take. I told David about it but had not heard back. So I told my friend that I’ll take five of those laptops for $1,000 total. I was nervous to promise more. I figured that if I need to come up with $1,000 to help with this effort, I could probably do it.
My friend got the laptops and notified me to get them. I didn’t have spare cash and David had not responded by that time. But this is a deal too good to pass on. That Thursday night, my carpool partner asked to swap our Friday drives so I’ll be doing Friday morning. That’s the perfect time to go get the computers and save some driving and time. I asked the Lord to provide $1,000 so I can get five of those laptops. I didn’t have spare money and the money I have in my bank account needs to pay some upcoming bills. I firmly believe that when God wants us to do something for Him, He needs to provide the resources. But I need $1,000 next day and could God deliver? I had to make that decision very soon because I was getting the computers the next day.
Facing with that deadline and not getting a response from God nor David, I bit the bullet and borrowed $1,000 from a relative on Thursday night. I figured that the impact on those students is worth more than $1,000, and I’ll come up with the money one way or another. On Friday morning, I went to the bank after dropping off the kids, and withdrew the $1,000 in cash (which I found out at that time that $1,000 is the limit I could withdraw from an ATM anyway). I went to the bathroom at the adjacent Target store and when I got back to my car and sat down, I noticed a text from an app saying that a friend had sent me $1,000. The time stamp is exactly one minute after I withdrew the $1,000 from my bank. I know that because the bank also sent me a text about the ATM withdrawal. I was shocked at the timing. It seemed as if God wanted me to take a leap of faith to do something for Him, and He will provide the resources afterwards to teach me a lesson about trusting Him. I was very impacted by this experience. What if I had not taken that leap of faith and order the five laptops? Would I have missed that chance to make a difference in the lives of those Ghana students? Would my friend send me the $1,000 at that exact moment? (He later told me that he was going to send me the money earlier but forgot about it… So obviously God controlled the timing.)
I happily picked up the laptops that day and started updating them for David. They are truly awesome computers for students — compact but with high resolution (1920×1080), enough RAM (8G), and sufficient storage space (128G). Shortly after, David contacted me and said he’ll get the laptops in a few days and pay for the laptops. So I didn’t need to spend my own money for them after all. I just got a valuable lesson about trusting God to provide the resources we need to do His will.
Looking back, maybe I should have gotten more of those laptops. Oh me of little faith.
Sometimes, God will do things at the last minute (or even one minute later!) to teach us to trust Him. That’s life on the edge but He is teaching us about faith. Remember, “Yahweh Yireh” — “the Lord Will Provide” — is one of His names.
But the story didn’t end there. My friend then told me that he could get more computers for me, and this time those are free. Those computers will likely go to a Mexican orphanage because they have Spanish keyboards. I haven’t picked up the machines yet, but I’m full of excitement at the thought of making more difference in people’s lives. I’m also asking the Lord to provide some funding to get memory modules, SSDs, mice, and USB drives for the machines that I want to upgrade. Let’s see how God provides this time…
March 22, 2023 update: I picked up the additional computers on March 20. Four of the more light-weight computers with Spanish keyboards have been prepared and given to David as well, so he can take all the computers he wanted to Ghana. And a friend at church paid for 18 mice to go with the ones going to Mexican orphanage.
April 2023 update: My friend who gave me all those laptops also called weeks later. I had initially asked if he could get some extra chargers for the $200 laptops because they are use a charger head that I do not have and may not be in some universal charger kits. Since those are hard to find, I want the students to have backup chargers. He said those are expensive but he will try. A few weeks later he said he got them from the manufacturer. The Lord provides, once again!