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The Well-traveled Silver Dollar

posted on August 16, 2011, under Member by

by Naomi Zalabak

Myrna and Burton Wright at their anniversary celebration. (Photo: Tom Amos)

The location was a beautiful scenic spot, and romance was in the air as Burton Wright handed Myrna Jensen, the young lady by his side, a silver dollar with a request to read what it said.

“E Pluribus Unim,” Myrna softly read.

“What else?” he questioned.

“In God we trust,” Myrna read.

“Anything else?”

“United we stand,” Myrna read.

“Can we make that our motto for life?” Burton questioned.

Myrna was thrilled but a bit hesitant, because, although they had corresponded via letter for some time, they had only been together for a few weekends. With glistening eyes, she answered, “I think we need to pray about this, and I need to talk to my family.”

After Burton’s graduation from college, they were married in the Washington Sanitarium and Hospital Church, Takoma Park, Maryland, on July 29, 1951, with Burton’s father performing the ceremony and Myrna’s father singing.

Myrna Wright shows guests the silver dollar given to her by Burton. (Photo: Tom Amos)

And then the silver dollar began a journey of a lifetime as it traveled with the Wrights as they spent their lives in God’s service as follows:

  1. Mount Pisgah Academy, Candler, North Carolina with Burton as dean of boys and Bible teacher, and Myrna was a hospital supervisor.
  2. Spencerville Junior Academy, Silver Spring, Maryland, where Burton taught.
  3. Forest Lake Academy, Apopka, Florida, with Burton teaching Bible and Myrna serving as school nurse.

The coin then traveled half-way around the world as the Wrights were called to the continent of Africa as follows:

  1. Bethel College, South Africa, with Burton teaching ministerial students and church pastors.
  2. Malamulo Secondary School, Malawi, with Burton teaching academy students.
  3. Northern Malawi with Burton serving as principal of the boarding school and Myrna as the dispensary nurse, accountant for Mombera Secondary School, and home school teacher for their three younger children.
  4. Solusi College, Bulawago, Zimbabwe, where Burton taught ministerial students and Myrna taught home economics to 100 girls.

After twelve years of service in Africa, the silver  dollar journeyed with the Wrights as they permanently returned to the United States in order to benefit their children’s education. They continued to teach or pastor at the following: Holbrook Indian School in Arizona; Joliet, Illinois; Elizabethtown, Kentucky; Lake Placid, Florida; and Arcadia, Florida.

At last, the silver  dollar found a permanent retirement home in Avon Park where the Wrights remain busy in the Lord’s work. Burton has helped with Prison Ministries while Myrna has worked with children’s divisions of the church. For three years, she served as Assistant Director of Children’s Ministries for Florida Conference. She continues to use her storytelling skills to touch the lives of children.

After the church service on July 30, family, members, and friends gathered to help Burton and Myrna celebrate their 60th anniversary. Their four children, Judy, Jim Jeanie, Jon, and their families planned a celebration that included a potluck meal, anniversary cake, and insightful glimpses from the past.

1 Comment for this entry

  • James Wright

    What a beautiful compilation of the lives of a couple who have set as perfect an example as humanly possible on this earth. God has certainly blessed their lives.
    -James Wright

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