Pray for anything long enough and you will convince yourself it will never happen!
Yes, I said that. Twenty-two years I silently prayed, "One day I will be able to teach in a Life-Size, outdoor display of the Tabernacle of Moses."
"Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For the vision waits its appointed time; it hastens to the end - it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay."
Talk Yourself Out of it.
Pray about something long enough you may talk yourself out of it! On April 4, 2022, I realized a 22-year-old prayer had been answered by a soft-spoken man named Howard Vanderpool.
Not the Desire of Your Heart?
Psalm 37:4-5 is translated into English in various ways.
“Delight thyself in the Lord, and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” KJV
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust him, and he will act.” ESV
“Delight yourself in Hashem, and He shall give thee the desires of thine lev. Commit they derech (road, way) unto Hashem; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.”
But the English mistakenly emphasizes our “desires” as if the desire originated with us. The Hebrew conveys a more profound message. The reason why you cannot, not do some things is found in verse 4 with the Hebrew word, naw-than’. The desire did not originate with you. That desire you cannot not do - naw-than’ is often translated as to give, to entrust, to impart, to set, to bestow, and to place. You cannot get away from it even if you talk yourself out of it. It will keep rising from your heart.
The desire was imparted to your heart from the Lord.
It is your assignment. Your mission. You’re calling.
22-Year-Old Prayer Comes to Life
In my previous post entitled, “Building the Life Size Tabernacle of Moses – Humble Beginnings,” my journey teaching the Tabernacle began in 1984 while working as a chaplain with the Developmentally Disabled at a state institution in Illinois and then one day building a full-size model of the tabernacle for display indoors only to be asked to give it up to another ministry.
In early March of 2022, I released the tabernacle and the furniture I had gathered over many years. Down inside, I was grieving and angry. “Lord, why would you do this to me? I’m called The Tabernacle Man. My website is named The Tabernacle Man. My videos are part of The Tabernacle Man. Now I have no tabernacle, so you just want me to be a man.”
The Ministry, “Come and See” in Champaign Urbana, Illinois offered a monetary donation that would enable me to rebuild another tabernacle but on a much smaller scale. The donation would not cover the original price of the materials of the tabernacle they just received. But this is what I believed the Lord laid on my heart. It made no rational sense, but I followed his prompting. That was around March 15, 2022. I was heartbroken, sad, and disappointed and a part of me said, “Well I’m 65 years old so maybe the Lord just wants me to retire and let go of this “Tabernacle Dream.”
Give an Irrational Gift
On March 26, 2022, a friend invited me to a special program at church. I reluctantly agreed to attend. While I was there, a special need was presented. My heart prompted me to give toward the need. My brain told me, “Don’t do this. It’s not your problem. The donation you received is to build the small model of the Tabernacle. Others will contribute to this need.” But my heart won out. I took a portion of the donation received and donated to the special need presented that day. This was not a “cheerful gift.” It was a gift because I knew it was the right thing to do even if I did not “feel it.”
The Email that Changed Everything
After the service, I went to lunch and then went home. When I checked my "Tabernacle Man" email, here is what unfolded. A guy named Ron in New Braunfels, Texas knew of a ministry in Merritt Island, Florida who was connected with a man named Howard Vanderpool from Missouri. Howard had an outdoor full-scale “Old Testament Tabernacle of Moses” looking for a new home!
What just happened? Twenty-two years later my prayer was answered. I contacted Howard and arranged to meet him at Fort Victory Baptist Church in Crowley, Texas on April 4, 2022. The Old Testament Tabernacle of Moses was parked in a field during the entire pandemic. The grounds where the semitrailer was parked needed to be cleared within two weeks.
Meeting Howard Vanderpool in Texas
I flew to Dallas, Texas, and then drove a rented car to meet Howard in a field. “Lord, what are you doing to me?” I’m 65 years old. Why didn’t you make this happen when I was 40?” I arrived early and inspected the outside of the trailer. I noticed at least three dry-rotted and flat tires. The front of the trailer had sunk into the ground by six inches. I was still excited to see what was inside. I waited for Howard and his family to arrive.
Howard, now 95 years old, and I climbed in the back of the semitrailer to inspect the contents. The silver sockets and gold walls were dusty, but everything looked intact. It needed a little TLC but wow!
Reminiscing with Howard
Howard told me the history of the Old Testament Tabernacle of Moses. He grinned as I told him about the former tabernacle I built and how I was asked to release it. He chuckled when I told him about the special offering that made no rational sense. I confessed my broken heart and sadness. Then I said,
“Howard I’m still trying to figure out why the Lord waited till I was 65 years old to bring me to this point. He said, “Son, I was in my 60s when we started building the Tabernacle. This was my retirement project!”
We laughed together as I told the Lord, “Hey just forget about my bellyaching over releasing the tabernacle and that special offering. I had a momentary lapse of sanity.” He shared that his ministry partners talked to several ministries about receiving the Old Testament Tabernacle of Moses, but no one was interested. Pastor Bill Keisling of Fort Victory Baptist Church had graciously stored the trailer on the church's property. To no avail, Pastor Bill too worked tirelessly alongside Howard to find a proper home for the Tabernacle. Now it had to be moved within one week. Howard said, “I guess the Lord had your name on it and it just took us a few years to find you.” I made a promise that day to Howard and his family I would honor his life work and I would write this story for many to read in the years to come.
Howard Passes Away
Howard Vanderpool, 95 years, 9 months, and 2 days old, passed away on, November 13, 2022, at his home in Mansfield, Missouri, with his loving family by his side. His wife, Mary Alice Vanderpool, 90 years, 10 months, and 26 days old, passed peacefully, joining her husband, Howard, in Heaven on December 18, 2022, at her home with loving family by her side.
From Texas to Indiana
Miracle after miracle transpired. The Old Testament Tabernacle of Moses made its way to Indiana within four days of the repairs. The cost of storing the trailer during the entire pandemic was zero thanks to the goodness of Pastor Bill. The cost of moving the trailer to the shop is $300. The cost of the repairs is $2,125!
Family Christian Center in Munster, Indiana arranged for Herman Jackson to be the driver. The truck that made the round trip was volunteered by Grace Logistical Services. Take a look at what is posted near the door of Grace Logistical Services' truck - Psalm 119:105. You can't make this stuff up.
Howard's work with the Tabernacle touched thousands of people over three decades. He had a vision. He heeded the call. He was obedient. His legacy lives on. The work of his hands continues. The cry of his heart was heard and the Tabernacle found a home.
"Well done thy good and faithful servant."
Your Help is Needed
If your heart was touched by reading this blog, please consider helping. The Tabernacle and trailer require some basic repairs and cleaning. Some of the veils need replacing. The wood storage racks in the trailer need replacing. The trailer is in good working condition with the repairs and is roadworthy. There is a need for a truck to haul the 53-foot trailer.
Your help would be greatly appreciated.
Contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 219-448-2673.