We received a call tonight from our next door neighbor informing us of the death of the man who turned our back porch into a nice room. Now I really don’t want to put it that way because that makes him sound like just a worker, a carpenter, a builder of things. And he is much more than that to us.
You see Mark Purvis not only refinished our back porch, he also became our friend. He was a simple guy, no pretense… what you see is what you get. Just an average guy on the outside. He would throw up his hand if he saw you, stop and talk with you, ask how you were doing. He was mostly always smiling and laughing. His dad, who helped him on his jobs, was usually somewhere near, either waiting in the car or out helping.
Average Joe on the outside, but Mark really shined on the inside. He and his girlfriend, Dawn, were always helping people. Our next door neighbor, Faye, had shoulder surgery and they were always over there helping out… even mowed her yard and the field behind her house on one hot July day. He would regularly come by on a Sunday afternoon and take her garbage to the curb. They didn’t stop there… they would take our garbage to the curb as well. He knew the old wimpy preacher couldn’t do it, so he was helping Shirley out with this kind gesture.
Last winter during a snow storm we heard some noise outside and there was Mark and Dawn shoveling our walkway just a smiling away. I couldn’t believe it. I can’t remember the last time someone did that for us. Needless to say, they won us over again and our friendship grew. We would pick on each other about Duke, UNC and Indiana (Dawn’s school). She even drove over when we beat IU during the NCAA Tournament this year – just to rib us a little, and to apologize for the things she was saying and thinking about Duke. This spring she brought us back from Indiana a IU refrigerator magnet… which we proudly display.
I would be willing to bet you that there were many on their list to help. That was just part of their identity… helpers, good Samaritans reaching out that healing and helping hand. For one… we really did appreciate their help, but even more we appreciated them for their big old loving hearts.
We will miss you Mark. Thanks for being such a friend… ‘cause in you I saw Jesus.
Please say a little prayer for this family and thank God there are people like them in this world… helping to make it a better place by showing us a little of Jesus from time to time.
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