Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Dave and Jodi

Dave and Jodi Burtner at the recent wedding of their daughter
Larry and I recently traveled to Indiana to take part in a wedding.  David had come to Honduras on a mission's team more than 25 years ago and he and Larry had immediately hit it off.  He soon returned with another group and was good enough to bring his wife Jodi along with him.  Now these many years later their only daughter was getting married and we were invited to be a part of it all.

David's first trip to Honduras.  He's in the white coat. 
Ever since that first trip to Honduras, David and his family have remained proactive in staying connected with us.  They came to visit us in New York during our first year home from the mission  field, invited us to spend vacation time with them in the Poconos and after we returned permanently to the States, came from Indianapolis to Alabama to spend  many Easters with us. On Larry's fiftieth birthday they traveled the distance to help celebrate and when Fawn was married, they were there to see her walk down the aisle.  A few years later when we were living in South Carolina, they booked a place at Myrtle Beach and insisted we join them there for a few days of relaxation.   More recently while planning a trip to Niagara Falls,  they urged us to come join them there.  "We'll put you up for a couple of days at the hotel and take care of your meals," Jodi wrote.  Unfortunately we couldn't go, but I was reminded once again of the thoughtfulness and generosity of these good friends.

One Easter in Alabama

Another  Easter in front of our home in Alabama
And another one.  And yes, Jodi loves red.

So when Amanda contacted Larry and asked if he would officiate at her wedding, how could he possibly say no?  What was six hundred miles compared to the thousands that our friends have traveled to be with us over the years.

David was in his early thirties when he started his own business.  It's done real well and his family is able to live quite comfortably.  Several years ago he put a pool in his backyard and built a nice pool house alongside. Equipped with a small kitchen and bath and a place to sleep, it's perfect for guests. And it's private.  We've stayed there a couple of times and couldn't have been happier with all the amenities, including a well-stocked fridge full of cold drinks and a variety of snacks sitting on the counter.  Jodi simply thinks of everything.

David is a mission's guy.  For years he has traveled all over the world with ministry teams, working at both construction projects as well as relief work.  And that was in part why he and Jodi had decided to build the pool house, to make it available to missionaries and their families when they were in the Indianapolis area.   Many have enjoyed their hospitality over the years.

One day a rather stuffy missionary couple needing a place to stay arrived with their children to take up temporary residence.  But the accommodations were not to their satisfaction.  The pool, the large-screened television off the kitchen, the nice furniture, they considered it exorbitant.  So after a few days they packed up their stuff, gathered up their children who were having a great time, and left.  After that the missionaries stopped coming.  I'm sorry for that. 

There's a story in the Old Testament about a woman of prominence and wealth who decided to add a small furnished room on the upstairs of her home so that the Prophet Elisha would have a place to stay whenever he was in the area.  He was so appreciative of her hospitality that he asked what he could do for her.  Her response was selfless.  She needed nothing, she insisted. But a year later God revealed his pleasure by giving her the one thing she didn't dare to believe she'd ever have, a child. 

Wiring our new home in Alabama
When we had our first house built after moving to Alabama, David insisted on coming down and wiring it for us at his cost and wouldn't charge a cent for labor.  Some years later we decided to pull up the carpet and replace it with vinyl flooring.  In the middle of the living room was a floor receptacle that David had installed that had to be taken out.  When Larry removed it, he found a hand-written note underneath with the following words:  Bless all who enter this home in the mighty name of my Lord Jesus.  Thank you Jesus for all you did for me!  And all you continue to do constantly.  I love you.   Grateful.  As we are for you dear friends.  Thank you.