“You need a better guitar,” the professor told Cara Wiebe during her sophomore year at Calvary Bible University in Kansas City, Missouri.
“How much will it cost?”
“At least $500,” the professor said.
Cara shook her head at the impossibility of the price. Her parents, missionaries in Mexico, struggled financially. She prayed. At the end of the year, she boarded the bus home with peanut butter sandwiches, pretzels, $5 and no guitar.
“When I got to Monterrey, a whole bunch of buses had broken down. I had to wait 10 hours for a bus.” At 3 a.m. one of the bus attendants approached, “An executive bus will be here in 10 minutes. You are not supposed to be on it, but if you can give me something on the side. I can get you on it.”
She looked at him, “All I have is $5.”
“That is all?”
She showed him.
“It got me on the bus where I slept for 10 hours. When I got home, dad said there was barely enough money to get through the summer.” Returning for her junior year would require a summer of prayer.
“Someone had given dad a vehicle. He said he would fix it and sell it for school funds.”
The vehicle sold but payment would take time. Cara had enough money to return to Kansas City, but no money for rent, food or a classical guitar.
The professor’s first question when he saw her was, “Do you have the guitar?”
“You need one that costs at least $1,000 to $1,500.”
“I panicked. I could not afford $500 or $1,500. God had me at the college and I did not have the guitar needed for my major.” (As a double major in classical guitar and music education for all grades in band and choir, Cara had a heavy class load with hours of practice learning to play other instruments, leaving her no time to work.)
“The next day, my mentor from church called. ‘Cara Jean, God has unexpectedly provided for us. We hear you need a new instrument. I am writing out a check. Go get the instrument.’”
“They gave me an envelope with a check for $1,000 plus a little bit more,” Cara said
The professor contacted the guitar shop owner, “I need you to pick one for her. She has limited resources.”
The owner welcomed her, saying,“I have three guitars I want you to try.”
She played one. He shook his head, “It does not fit you.” She tried the second. He thought it was a good match but also had her try the third.
Cara reminded him, “I need to go with whatever is more economical.”
He picked up the second guitar, “This is obviously the one you need. It responds to you.”
Buying the guitar, its case and taxes used all the money the friend had given her. “It was just the exact amount I needed,” Cara recalled.
She had her guitar. But, God had more to give her.
To save money she lived off campus and prepared her own meals.
“I didn’t have money for food,” she said.
That Sunday the church where she served gave her a grocery store gift card that provided food through the semester. Within days, she also received monetary gifts that covered her rent and the first payment of her school fees.
Looking back on that time, Cara says, “It was overwhelming and humbling to know that He cares.” When she had nothing, she experienced God’s love through the people who gifted her with a classical guitar, groceries and funds for school.