Dr. David H. Burkholder Moves From Here to Heaven

Dr. David H. Burkholder “took his flight” on Friday morning, March 23, 2012 at 3 am from his home on Dawn Avenue, Ephrata, PA. at the age of 90. He was born June 3, 1921.

On Sunday morning March 4th, just three weeks before his death, he announced to his LifeGate family that this would be his final time in church in that “every bump on the road from Ephrata to Elizabethtown was painful”.  We blessed him in that service and received his blessings in turn . Then we released him to “take his flight to glory” which he had so often proclaimed his desire to do.

In the weeks since then, many from the congregation traveled to Ephrata to see him in his home. He passed on the ‘mantle of evangelism’ to those who requested this impartation. As he prayed over one brother on Sunday evening, March 19th, he suddenly paused as he gazed beyond this veil of time. Then he exclaimed, “I feel it passing; the mantle is passing.”  Those surrounding him in his small apartment attached to his daughters’ house where he had spent the last five years of his life, knew that he would soon not need his mantle of evangelism.

Every day of the final week, someone from the congregation spontaneously stopped in to see David. On Tuesday he took a sudden turn for the worse. He became more restricted in his breathing as a result of  congestive heart failure. His granddaughter, Dr. Janelle Martin, a physician, was able to attend him the last days of his life. Hospice nurses also  attended him so he did not need to leave his home.  On Thursday he was not able to speak but he  was able with inarticulate sounds to indicate he could hear and knew who was present and could join in singing through these inarticulate sounds “Amazing Grace’ and “Jesus Loves Me,’ with family and friends from ages 5 to 70. Later that night he stopped breathing here and took his first breath of the celestial air.

David’s final year was marked with multiple celebrations of his life and ministry. On August 27, 2012, he received an Honorary Doctorate in Personal Evangelism from a Bible College in India which specializes in training evangelists.  David has contributed to the Christian community the example of embracing God’s call to “full-time personal evangelism” later in life and faithfully  pursing that call with his total energy for the remainder of his life. From the age of 62 till the age of almost 91, when he died, David systematically and persistently invited his “sinner friends” to consider the good news of the Gospel and to receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Over 300 persons responded to his invitation, many of whom had preceded him in death and where waiting to welcome him.

David was totally focused on his mission. One could not speak with him for five minutes without becoming aware that evangelism was his passion and cause for living. David was a man full of love and grace. He lived with the deep sense that Christ had forgiven him a great debt and therefore he was quick to show mercy to people in all walks and conditions of life.  As a friend stated, “David noticed and reached out in love to people that others would have passed by.”

For the past four years David has been planning his funeral service. He repeatedly stated that he knew he would “die before Christmas.”  Then he would add with a twinkle in his eye, “But I do not know which Christmas.”  Now we can say , “It was before Christmas 2012.”  David’s preoccupation with planning his funeral service arose from a deep desire that his funeral service would celebrate and emphasize and proclaim his life’s message: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”  “My prayer is for my children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and all my friends. If you miss everything else in life, be doubly sure you will not miss heaven, for hell is too hot and too long. If you have not yet, accepted Christ as your Savior, do it today, for we have not a promise for tomorrow. God love you, God bless you and I love you too.”

David’s funeral plan’s called for a day-long service. However the family and pastors planning the funeral service felt led to go beyond David’s plans and honor him with two funeral services. The first funeral service will be on Wednesday morning, March 28,2012, at Metzler’s Mennonite Church ( 515 West Metzler Road, Ephrata, PA) at 10 am. A meal will follow.


A viewing will be held at the Metzler’s church  on Tuesday evening, March 27th from 6-8 pm and again on Wednesday morning, March 28th from 9 till 10 am just before the funeral service.

The second service to celebrate the life of Dr. Burkholder will be on a Sunday evening, April 15, 2012, from 6 till 8 pm at the LifeGate Church, 5636 Bossler  Road, Elizabethtown, PA. A light fellowship meal at 5 pm will precede the service.

All are welcome to attend both these services in memory and honor of our departed brother, who though now gone to be with our Lord, “still speaks”.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Wayne D. Lawton
    Mar 26, 2012 @ 00:18:54

    An excellent eulogy of a man of God. I really appreciated knowing Brother David Burkholder.


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