Nevertheless, it was an exciting place to live because the Harters met other ministerial couples who also loved the Lord, and many wonderful friendships in the ministry developed from living at Providence Hall. (This building was demolished and a large college auditorium now is constructed on the site.)
The burden of lost souls laid heavy on Brother Harter's life. Many nights going to bed at night, tears would flow down his face as he prayed that God would anoint him to preach the gospel and win the lost to Jesus Christ.
Living in a small apartment in Cleveland, TN, Brother Harter had a dream. In this dream, he had a school bus that was converted into an evangelistic bus. It had a platform on it and in his dream, he saw himself standing on top of the bus, preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The next morning, Brother Harter told his dream to his lovely wife and faithful companion. He began looking for his bus. He looked at many buses but could not feel that bus was the one the Lord wanted him to get.
One day, visiting in Ohio, someone told him that the Church of God in Lancaster, Ohio had an old bus they would like to sell. Brother Harter took his brother-in-law, Kenny Combs with him to check this bus out. Upon their arrival, they found an old 1954 GMC; 66-passenger school bus in the parking lot. It was an old yellow school bus with black fenders. Dust was everywhere throughout the old bus, as well as spider webs, etc. Brother Harter and Kenny knelt down in the bus to pray and as they did, the Holy Ghost fell upon them. Brother Harter believed this was confirmation that God wanted him to have this bus. Brother Harter put his hand on the black fender of that old bus and claimed that bus for Jesus. Then Brother Harter went to see the pastor, Rev. R. J. Varnell.
Sharing his burden for lost souls and his dream about a bus, Brother Harter asked Pastor Varnell what he would take for the bus. Brother Varnell said that the church had used the old bus for 6 years every Sunday, and that it had been setting on their parking lot for several years now without even being started. He told Brother Harter that he would not trust that old bus to even go across town. But Brother Harter was persistent in what he believed God had revealed to him.
A few days later, Pastor Varnell informed Brother Harter that the church board wanted $200 for the bus. Brother and Sister Harter prayed the $200 in and they went to the church to give Brother Varnell their money.
Brother Harter is not a mechanic. All he knew was that you put in water, oil and gasoline. Several friends arrived to help jump the bus' battery, but all to no avail. Several mentioned to Brother Harter that the bus was too old, and that he had made a mistake in purchasing the old bus. However, Brother Harter knew the voice of the Lord and knew that this was the bus. Nothing nor anyone could get him to lose his faith. This was the bus.
Finally, Triple A was called. They tried to do everything they could to get the old bus to start, but again, to no avail. It was as though the devil was doing his job in trying to discourage the Harters. But the Harters were full of faith and knew that God could not lie.
Brother Harter requested the wrecker to pull the bus out into the street in front of the church. The church was on a street called Cedar Hill which consisted of a large hill. The bus was pulled onto the street in front of the church and the wrecker gave Brother Harter a big shove down over that hill. When the speed increased, Brother Harter let the bus' clutch out. A loud bang occurred and smoke went everywhere, but still it did not start. Again, Brother Harter pushed the clutch in until adequate speed was build up and then he let the clutch out the second time. Only this time, Brother Harter said, "Start up in the name of Jesus!" It sounded like the entire bus exploded. Smoke went everywhere, but this time, the motor was running. "Thank you Jesus!"
Brother Harter drove the bus to his parent's home on 16th Road in Stoutsville, Ohio.
"I just knew the Lord had this bus for me and that the devil was trying to stop me before I could even get started. I discovered that it would cost me more for bus tags than what I actually paid for the bus.
I prayed and I felt that I should call the Highway Patrol. I found out that I could convert the 66 passenger school into a motor home by making a few adjustments.
I removed nearly all the seats from the bus. My parents gave me an old sink with a cabinet. I put it in the bus and drilled a hole through the floor. Then I attached a hose to the bottom of the sink and put it through the hole that I had drilled into the floor.
I purchased a small Coleman cook stove and bolted it to the countertop of the sink. I obtained a Styrofoam picnic box and bolted its handles to the floor. This was my refrigerator. I found a plastic milk jug and put water in it. That was my water.
My parents gave me the metal bunk bed that we had since I was a small child, and I bolted them to the floor.
When the Highway Patrol officer came to inspect my bus, he signed the bus off as a motor home. Now I could purchase my license plates for $10. I was now in business for the Lord and the Lord had worked for me. He made the way for me where there had seemed to be no way.
Now I could leave for Cleveland, TN and be back in Bible College again. I drove the bus through Cincinnati, Ohio doing about 20 miles per hour as I crossed into Kentucky and starting up the hill. It was cold and the snow was really blowing. When I was starting into Tennessee, there were not very many automobiles on Interstate 75. It was very cold, the snow was coming down fast, but I continued on my journey.
All of a sudden the bus' motor stopped. I tried to start it again, but it seemed all to no avail. Then, all of sudden I remembered how I started it the first time. I said, "In the name of Jesus, start up!"
I commanded the old bus to start and it did. I was on my way again. It wasn't too long however, when the bus quit again, but this time I was ready. I simply commanded the bus to start in the name of Jesus and it did.
As I was traveling south, I had overlooked the fuel gauge. I now noticed that the fuel gauge was registering "Empty." And I knew there were many miles yet to go before I would find a gas station. And besides all of this, it was in the middle of the night and there were very few gas stations even open. I began to pray and say, "Lord, let this bus keep running on empty until I reach the gas station." I traveled nearly forty miles in a bus that had very little fuel and was registering Empty on the fuel gauge. Finally, I saw a gas station.
Just as I pulled up to the fuel tanks, the bus died. Praise God! The Lord kept His Word and the bus literally ran on gas fumes. God had stood by my side.
Once I arrived in Cleveland, TN, there were several Bible College students who were real mechanics. I remember their very words. They asked me, 'Who brought this bus down here?'
I answered, 'The Lord and I brought it down here.'
They responded by saying, 'It must have been the Lord because you drove this six cyclinder motor 500 miles on just two plugs. There are four plugs that are either broken or not working at all.'"