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withdraw from her classes as she stayed in the burn unit at the hospital, but she was never lonely. Friends and family were con- stantly by her side. Brown was one of those friends. He came to visit Durano in the hospital, though Durano admitted she couldn’t see him because of her blindness, but remembers reaching her hand out to him while he was in the room.

Durano was released from the hospital within a few months, but her skin was still regenerating, and it was months after her release before her vision was partially restored. “The difficult part, I realize now, isn’t the months in the hospital

in the ICU,” Durano said. “I was unconscious for most of that. The hard part is waking up every day and being in pain and to have it hurt to go outside. So it’s the day-to-day endurance that is the hard part. That’s where I have been blessed by the support of community and the prayers of people all over the continent pretty much. It is unbelievable to see the family of God come together like that.”

By the time she was back at school, Durano still faced many difficulties, including not being able to drive or see at night. Brown became

a devoted

friend. He drove Durano to the places she needed to be or would just sit with her to keep her company.

“Hunter was extremely faithful as a friend in that season of

suffering, so that’s what won me over,” Durano said. About six months later, Brown and Durano started dating, but

it wasn’t an easy transition. They were friends for so long, it was hard to make the jump to being in a dating relationship, but God worked on both their hearts, revealing what his plan was for them. Brown began to feel called into ministry, and Durano realized she was idolizing missions. During their whole relationship, Brown and Durano focused

on serving together. They taught first grade at their church, volunteered with a homeless organization and helped plan a kid’s club for a refugee organization. “Serving is something that Amberle and I have always done

together,” Brown said. “It’s really just from becoming Christians and seeing the love shown to us from God that makes us want to serve.”

It wasn’t long before they were engaged. “I always tell my friends, don’t rule [people] out. Don’t make assumptions; you just never know,” Durano said. Another thing Durano could not foresee was their future doing mission work as a couple. Brown transitioned out of professional golf, though he still plays and uses golf as a means for ministry, but one month after their wedding, Durano and Brown moved to Baltimore to start a church.

“I’m definitely thrilled about doing the church plant,” Brown said. “It’s going to be very new for us, but it’s a cool opportunity and so very clear that’s where we need to go. It’s been an easy decision because this is what God wants us to do.”


At Buckner Family Pathways, about 10 children gather around Brown as he pulls out a children’s book by Max Lucado. Sitting in Durano’s lap, two girls cuddle close to her as Brown reads the story, encouraging the children to know how special they are to God. Afterward, they gather at tables to decorate wooden boxes filled with uplifting Bible verses.

Sarah Jones, Buckner ministry engagement coordinator for Dallas, said it was a special time for the children. “It’s just a constant reminder to our kids that they are loved,

valued and important,” she said. “We love giving them the opportunity to feel treasured.” Outside of actually getting married, Brown and Durano admitted that volunteering at Buckner was their favorite part of their wedding weekend. “I loved when the kids started to open up and be more comfort- able with us, so we felt like they were our friends and were sad when we left,” Brown said. “We were sad to leave them too.” “It was just a wonderful opportunity and so meaningful to us,” Durano added. “I think it was a great way to set the tone for what we wanted our whole wedding weekend and marriage to be like.” n

SUMMER 2015 ISSUE • Buckner Today 23

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