Elvis Durrill’s Story: A Garden of Growth


Elvis Durrill retired from the pastorate after 36 years to care for his wife the last six years of her life. Heart problems, then an episode of cancer, meant around-the-clock care, and Elvis soon found his savings depleted.

That’s when he decided to apply for assistance himself. Approved in short order, Elvis is grateful for God’s timing in helping him see the need to reach out to others about his situation.

“It’s hard to ask for help,” he confesses, “but God always takes care of me.”

With his financial burdens being relieved through a Mission:Dignity grant, Elvis is able to focus on his new ministry — right over his back fence. “Every year I plant a vegetable garden in my backyard. I use my crop as a tool to witness to my neighbor.”

It all started one summer as he was working in his garden. He noticed his next-door neighbor was struggling with starting his lawn mower.

“I picked a basket of red-ripe tomatoes and went to the fence to share. God used the garden and me to plant some spiritual seeds,” he recalls.

Elvis saw his other next-door neighbor walk a similar path to his own — caring for a wife struggling with cancer. His service as a hospice chaplain and his own journey gave him the experience to walk alongside the neighbors, praying with and encouraging them. Once again, the garden opened the door.

“Every morning I pray, ‘Lord help me today to be all that You want me to be,’” Elvis says. “The greatest blessing comes from knowing He is not through with me here on earth. There is no end to the opportunities to serve.”

Grateful to the Mission:Dignity ministry for what it has enabled him to do, Elvis recently told us, “I cannot put into words what is in my heart. You have helped me through a very difficult time. God bless you!

“If I had one request of the Lord, I would pray if it was His will that I meet, rejoice with and shake the hands of the people God is using in this ministry,” Elvis wrote.

Take the next step.

Take the next step.