History of Bible Basics International — 1984-1989

“It Just Happened” — Part II

Map from 1984In the last installment, we related the “wrong turn” the Priddys and Prudens took in Tampa on their way to Bradenton to look for property so Bible Basics could relocate in 1986. Are you ready for some more “coincidences?”

While the Prudens looked at houses, Eugene and Glenn looked for suitable commercial land for our new offices. Guess what. Commercial land is expensive! Everything was either far beyond the budget, in a run-down area, or swampy and unusable.

One day, it just happened that Eugene saw what appeared to be a mission agency on Tarpon Springs Road. He was curious how they got zoning permission for that use in that residential area. It just happened to be a church rather than a mission agency — a church that just happened to have two acres of land for sale only two miles up the road. In fact, it was two acres with three buildings we could use for offices. Incredibly, the church accepted our offer and the zoning board just happened to approve of our use for the property. Do you see the hand of God in this yet?

The Lord led the Prudens to a house that had been greatly reduced in price just before they had to return to their parenting responsibilities in New Jersey. Eugene’s wife Monna Dean and Glenn’s wife Eunice joined their husbands in the house hunting. They saw many houses that were either just the house they wanted but in the wrong place or the other way around. One day their agent called another agent to get a key and asked if they had any other houses. It just happened that they did and when Monna Dean saw it she said, “This is like the house we saw yesterday that I liked so much.” And this one was in a perfect location. The Lord made similar arrangements for Glenn and Eunice. “It just happened?” We think not. Clearly, God was at work in this relocation!

History of Bible Basics International — 1984-1989

“It Just Happened” — Part I

When we rely on the Lord, He does amazing things. In 2 Chronicles 16:9a, Hanani the prophet reminded King Asa: “the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” When that happens, the so-called coincidences begin to accumulate.

Confusing road sign

In 1985, we became convinced that the Lord wanted us to move to a location that would be less expensive and more efficient than our original New Jersey offices. Our research led us to begin looking for property near Florida’s Gulf coast. After contacting friends and realtors in the Bradenton area, Eugene Priddy and his son Glenn headed south accompanied by Gerry and Sharon Pruden. Along the way, they took a wrong turn and “just happened” to find themselves in northern Tampa. They stopped for lunch and asked some of the locals about the area. As they made their way back to southbound I-75, they resolved to come back after their appointments in Bradenton and look more closely.

Bradenton seemed to be too much of a retirement area, so they drove back to northern Tampa where they “just happened” to stop at a Christian bookstore to ask if they knew of a Christian realtor nearby. It “just happened” that the proprietor’s Sunday school teacher was a realtor with an office only four miles up the road. The Sunday school teacher was busy that afternoon, but it “just happened” that his wife was also a realtor and she “just happened” to be free to help them get started.

As the searchers narrowed their focus to the northern part of Tampa and explored options for office space and housing, the so-called coincidences continued to mount. But we’ll save that part for our next installment.

History of Bible Basics International — 1984-1989

First BBI Banquet — March, 1984

Banquet Cover ImageBy our tenth anniversary in late 1983, Bible Basics had grown in multiple ways. We held a banquet on March 30 of 1984 to celebrate what God had done in the previous decade. The banquet theme expressed the spiritual need addressed by our ministry. It comes from Hosea 4:6. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

One of the remarkable ministries of BBI was our outreach into eastern Europe, which was communist at the time and ruled by atheist leaders. There was no Internet in those days, so access to the Gospel was difficult for people living behind the Iron Curtain. But the communist governments could not stop the radio waves as Far East Broadcasting Company and Trans World Radio beamed BBI material into countries otherwise closed to God’s Word.

In spite of the oppressive regimes in Eastern Europe, we still received letters expressing gratitude such as this comment from a Czech listener: “I value greatly the programs Bible Basics Teaching (sic). I copied nearly all of them. It seems to me we Christians are missing out on something like an encyclopedia of our creed and these programs offer just this. The last ones were very precious to me because I could share them with my Catholic friends.”

Praise the Lord for the ways He used Bible Basics in those pre-Internet days to disciple His people in the communist block as well as South America and India and keep them from being destroyed for lack of knowledge.