A Look Back (2001 to 2008)
Called by Jesus Himself, being the cornerstone, to be His hands extended to the Needy across the world by the building of Orphanages, Medical centers, Schools and Churches. While others are called to speak with their mouths the message of the love of Jesus and His saving power, our message is spoken through the work of our hands. In 2001, Jim and Regina Bell of Franklin NC, stepped out into the vast world of Missions, for the very first time in their lives. With a deep sense of curiosity, and a yet deeper sense of the call of God, they ventured to the Island of Barbados WI, on a short-term Missions trip. Jim, a local Builder in Macon County NC, had known this day would come for some time. What he did not know, was that the Lord's plans for him would many times draw him away from his small hometown, where family ties were well rooted, to later cross Oceans, and deepen his call to Missions on foreign soil. He had no idea that God would later direct Jim and Regina, through much prayer, to form what is now known as The Carpenters Hands. With a Board of five area Businessmen, dedicated both to the Lord and the Organization, a Team of Workers has been established, and though now well-seasoned in their travels, they continue to heed the call, and go where the need requires them to.
Our March issue shared much of this story, and we have chosen to highlight some of the countries that the Team, under Jim's leading, have set their hands unselfishly to work, to bless the people.
Here is their story...
The beginning! Jim made his first Missions trip to Barbados, and the rest is History. That same year he returned to the Island twice, with a Team in May and then again in September, to supervise and build Dormitories, for Youth With A Mission, at the request of Dave Harper, then Barbados YW AM Director.
His heart is now sold out to Missions!
The Carpenters Hands has become a reality!
It was May, steamy Honduras, the Team were in the progress of
building a Medical clinic, in San Pedro Sula, when Jim's scaffolding gave
way under him and he fell several feet to the ground. Narrowly missing
Re-bar which was protruding from the foundation below, his life was
spared. God had his hand on Jim all the way. He immediately returned
home alone, to seek medical care, leaving the Team to complete the task,
due to severe but not life-threatening injuries. After a painful
recuperation, he would make another trip back to Honduras, with the
Team, to La Mesquita and, to build a School for the Children there.
Return again to Honduras! This time the Team visited El Progresso, where a Church was built.
Haiti … The Team builds a Medical Clinic. Their first trip to Haiti.
March saw Jim leading a Team of 7 men to Sudan, their first trip,
where they teamed up with Dennis and Lilly Klepp, founders of Harvesters, a Yei based Christian Organization, (see Article on Harvesters in March BTG magazine) to erect two much needed 80ft long School buildings, in a total of four days. Mission prayerfully accomplished!
That same year, a trip to Honduras saw the building and completion of a
Medical Clinic, and School, and later that year a Church, all tremendous
blessings for the people of the area.
Zambia … another blessed accomplishment took shape in the
building of a Church and School.
Return to Sudan … Harvesters revisited. This time the men tackled the building of two Dormitories, 80ft long, with a Team of 6 men which included our own Scott Knebbs and Michael Ramey, Church Accountant.
The temperature was a comforting 125 degrees, it was May in Sudan!
Two Buildings to be used to house the Orphans, were also completed by the Team later that year.
Honduras revisited ... El Progresso ... July saw the Team laboring in the summer heat to build a two-story Hospital unit.
An evaluation! Jim made a trip on behalf of Carpenters Hands, that would later help a local Ministry in Kampala, to buy, build, and complete a vision of a local Pastor for an Orphanage on 10 acres. Fund raising begins!
A visit to Panama ... another evaluation for further fund raising for a Church site.
God challenges us at home! Though no physical work was done this year at any Missions site, at home or abroad, God used the time to
accomplish His will in many ways. The Board and Team learned that
waiting on the Lord indeed brought not only blessings, but much needed provision for the many project needs represented in prayer.
Two projects mainly needed desperate funding. The Kampala project and Panama Church site.
The blessings of God for Kampala Orphanage! The project there actually gets underway, after much prayer, fund raising efforts began to prove fruitful. However, the full amount required remained unsecured. Sufficient funds are raised for land purchase and some building efforts begin, but for completion more funds are required.
Panama Church also receives funds from Carpenters Hands, to get their Church building started.
January saw Carpenters Hands travel to Panama, taking funds to purchase materials and accomplish completion of Church. Praise the Lord!
This was another special time of thanksgiving for everyone concerned. God's people have been faithful in their giving again!
February of 2008 saw the Board meeting to discuss the lack of continued funding for the Kampala project. The Pastor in charge of the project had first given Jim a figure for the completion of the Orphanage, but now that figure had been raised by several thousand dollars. Trusting the Lord and the Pastor in charge of Kampala project entirely, the men knew God would have to do it, they were at a standstill ... Divine providence would have to be the answer!
As time passed, it was now June of this year, and the planned trip to both Kampala and Sudan were at hand, departure just days away. The intent here was that the Team would visit the Kampala site, and give whatever funding they had on hand, and view the project themselves, that was all they could accomplish there. Jim was heartbroken at the thought of no extra funds available at this time.
One day prior to the trip, he expressed his heart with fellow members of Prentiss Church of God, the local assembly where he and Regina fellowship. God was at work, Jim was in for a surprise move of the Lord.. Within hours of sharing the need, the Church delighted Jim with gracious funding towards the amount he lacked, for Kampala. The amounts the Kampala Pastor required, and that which Carpenters Hands lacked for the project, was now Divinely provided, abundantly! With just hours to flight time for the Team, again ... God is faithful!
How can we not trust such a wonderful all loving, all knowing, faithful God?
God moves in miraculous ways, we just need to trust Him more, no matter what time frame or deadline we think we are to meet, by submitting all our plans to His Will, we are walking in submission and will hear from God in His perfect timing!
Jim and the Board, along with the Team members, would gladly testify of this.
The Team flew to Kampala, met with the Pastor, and placed in his hands the necessary funds for completing the project. Being satisfied that all that was to be done had been done, a couple days later they made their way to Sudan and the Harvesters Complex, to erect a playground whose Banner name would read "Six flags over Sudan", amusingly enough! There is a great joy in hearing the laughter of children at play. These Children.
whose lives have been redeemed and whose safety is secured, whose well being is in the hands of the Lord, and a group of loving Caregivers.
For Jim and the Team, indeed there is no greater joy than this.
This is why they leave their families, venture into foreign war scarred lands, face uncertainties, trials and hardships, knowing each trip could be their last.
They serve a Mighty God, in whose hands they willingly lay it all down, to their very lives, if that is what it takes!
As Jim says lovingly ... "It's all for the Children, one Child at a time".
In conjunction with Prentiss Church of God, Jim will be accompanying
several from the Church on an Amazon trip, 10-12 hours upriver, to
Minister at an Indian Compound there. This trip has a twofold purpose
He will actually be assessing a site for a future Church building there,
making plans for a date which will be disclosed later, after prayer and
funding is completed.
Liberia … A possibility for the Team to build a Medical Clinic and a School.
Much prayer again, and funding required.
As with all trips, interested persons may contact Jim at Carpenters Hands, at the address below.
How can we help?
Prayerfully consider becoming a part of this Ministry by a one time gift contribution, or monthly support.
Pray for these men, they and their families need this covering daily.
These are our own Hometown folks, let us stand with them supportively.
Pray for the lost of this World.
Our thanks to Jim Bell for the history of Carpenters Hands, as shared with me on a recent visit with him.
Cullasaja Assembly of God Missions Coordinator