Church greeter’s new teeth reflect his new heart

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IRON CITY – After turning away from a life he describes as “wild,” filled with drug use and sin to Jesus, David Spooner was left with only 14 of his 32 teeth. But his passion for serving the Savior and loving people led him to the decision to get a new smile.

David Spooner, a faithful greeter at Iron City Baptist Church, shows off his new smile while passing out bulletins and warmly welcoming guests and members. DAVID WILLIAMS/Special

Spooner, or affectionately called “Mr. David,” has dedicated himself, come rain or snow, to standing outside his home church of Iron City Baptist in Seminole County, greeting members and visitors with a hug or a handshake and a warm smile, Pastor David Williams shared.

But, “your smile’s never right if your teeth’s not right,” Spooner said. “If you’ve got a good smile and teeth, you’re more apt to smile more.

“I wanted to have my smile back where I could greet people, and sort of just be myself,” he added, attributing his decaying teeth to years of using meth and other drugs, plus too much Mountain Dew.

One day he came to Williams to tell him that he’d be getting a new set of teeth.

“His reasoning? He didn’t want to scare people off as he smiled at them when they came to church. He believed that he was a greeter for the Lord, and he wanted to represent Him and the church well, so he had his teeth pulled!” Williams recalls.

The procedure cost Spooner time and money, not to mention being painful. While his gums were still sore, he had to start wearing and adjusting to the dentures. “Today, he couldn’t be more proud to faithfully smile and greet people in the name of the Lord,” his pastor said.

Spooner described himself as a “slacker and a sinner,” admitting that for much of his life he was a backslidden believer. After making a profession of faith and being baptized at the age of 15, “most of my life was wild, just doing stupid things,” he said.

In fact, he shared that there were people who didn’t expect him to live till his 18th birthday because of his crazy lifestyle.

But about five years ago, in his mid-50s, the Lord made a radical change in his heart.

“The things that I used to love to do, I hate now, and the things that I used to hate, I love now,” he shared.

“It’s just turned all the way around. My love for the Lord has just increased. I love my church.”

His pastor noted his spiritual growth and dedication. Although Spooner never graduated from high school and isn’t proficient in reading, each morning he reads five devotionals.

“It takes him a long time because he just can’t read that well, but he just loves the Lord, and he makes sure that’s a high priority and it happens.”

Now, he’s not only a dedicated believer and greeter, but a personal encouragement to his pastor. “They’re just so faithful,” Williams said of Spooner and his wife, Connie.

“They’re the people that you really know have your back,” his pastor added. “There are other people you know that you love, but [David and Connie are] the people that you know you can call on when there’s something you really need. They just go above and beyond.”

Spooner attributes all the blessings in his and Connie’s life to the Lord. “The Lord, He’s just so forgiving. He can change your heart. Give Him what you got, and He’ll change it.”

“He took me like I was, and He changed me,” Spooner said.

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