Friday, June 26, 2009

A Life That Matters...

Last night I was reading in the Joyce Meyer book, The Secret to True Happiness, and she had included there a poem by Michael Josephson. It is very good food for thought:

Ready or not, someday it will all come to an end.
There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days.
All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten will pass to someone else.
Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance. It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.
Your grudges, resentments, frustrations and jealousies will finally disappear. So too, your hopes, ambitions, plans and To-Do lists will expire.
The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.
It won't matter where you came from or what side of the tracks you lived on in the end.
It won't matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant. Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.

So what will matter?
How will the value of your days be measured?

What will matter is not what you bought but what you built, not what you got but what you gave.
What will matter is not your success but your significance.
What will matter is not what you learned but what you taught.

What will matter is every act of integrity, compassions, courage, or sacrifice that enriched, empowered of encouraged others to emulate your example.

What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you're gone.
What will matter is not your memories but the memories that live in those who loved you.
What will matter is how long you will be remembered by whom and for what.

Living a life that matters doesn't happen by accident.
It's not a matter of circumstance but of choice.
Choose to live a life that matters.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Check Out Another Blog!

The orchestra at Kentwood Community Church, which I direct, sponsored a ZIP Drive (Zambia Instrument Project) a few months back. We asked people to consider donating instruments they own but no longer use, or to contribute financially if desired, so that we could bless a music academy in Zambia with some musical instruments.
We had a great response, and on their recent trip there, the KCC team delivered the instruments.

Go to the KCC Orchestra's blogsite and check it out and see some great pictures!
I am really delighted that this project was able to be brought to completion!
Here's the address:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

He's Back from Africa!

Yes, Tyler returned last evening. As I had said earlier, his plane had gotten delayed and we were expecting him in an his new flight at 10 pm. The phone rang at 6 just as I was about to put dinner on the table, and it was Tyler saying he had been able to leave Atlanta on an earlier flight and had just landed! So we went to the airport immediately and picked him up, brought him home and enjoyed dinner together - the 4 of us again. Afterwards he shared pictures and experiences with us. He had a wonderful trip and a great time! Here are some of the pictures of Africa that he took. Enjoy!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Delayed in Atlanta

Tyler was to have been arriving back in Grand Rapids right now, but instead he's delayed in Atlanta. He called a few minutes ago to let me know.
Some of their team will be getting on a late afternoon flight, and others such as himself will be getting back at 10:10 pm tonight. So we wait a little longer...
It was great to hear his voice and know he's made it back to the good old USA!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Time to Return

Tyler is spending his last night in Africa tonight.
At 8:25 am tomorrow (EST)/1:25 pm in Zambia, he will fly out of Livingstone, Zambia to Johannesburg South Africa, arriving there at 9:10 am (EST), which is 3:10 pm there.
Then he will leave there tomorrow night at 9:05 pm South African time, which will be tomorrow afternoon for us, 3:05 pm(EST).
So after a lenghty wait there in Johannesburg, he will fly all night, arriving in Atlanta Georgia at 7:20 am (EST) Monday morning. Then on to Grand Rapids, getting in Monday at noon.
I will be glad to see my tall young man again!
Pray for safety as they cross the Atlantic!

Looking Up...

Things are looking up. Uncle John was released from the hospital yesterday afternoon. He feels back to his normal self and is cracking jokes, so that's a good sign. He's staying with my mom and dad so he can remain near Aunt Carol while she remains hospitalized in Brooksville. She'll probably remain there until Monday.
Everything's fairly calm at this point. Thank God!

Friday, June 19, 2009

And Aunt Carol Too...

So as promised, I'd like to tell you about Thursday's events and revelations.

When I talked with my Aunt Carol on Tuesday, the day her husband, my Uncle John had a near death experience due to heart problems, Aunt Carol told me that she was unable to drive or do much because she had lost sight in her left eye. She stated that on Sunday she had been getting ready for church, looked in the mirror to assess herself and realized she couldn't see all of herself in the mirror. This alarmed her, however by the time they had left their subdivision and were on the main highway, her sight had returned to normal, so she thought no more about it. Everything was fine with her sight on Monday. But Tuesday, however, she noticed that again, much of her sight in the left eye was gone. This concerned her, but they went on to a couple of doctor's appointments, followed by my uncle's entry into the Emergency Room. On Wednesday, at my uncle's insistence, an appointment was made for Thursday morning to get Aunt Carol seen by an Opththalmogoist.

In the morning yesterday, then, my aunt did see this doctor and upon testing her, although he had anticipated a torn retina, he realized there it was not a torn retina but something else, and sent her to the hospital for further testing. Meanwhile yesterday my aunt's sight had continued to deteriorate a bit more, affecting the right eye as well as the left.

[Here let me insert that my uncle was admitted to the hospital in Tampa, which is an hour away from their own home, and was where my uncle and aunt had been for appointments on Tuesday. Aunt Carol had been staying the nights with my parents in Brooksville, and that is where Aunt Carol was seen by the eye doctor and the location of the hospital she was sent hour and a half away from the one my uncle is in!]

Aunt Carol was admitted into the hospital there in Brooksville where they did many tests....and this morning is was confirmed to her that she experienced a stroke on Sunday morning....Fortunately her vision was the only thing affected!

These are unusual times: Uncle John is in a Tampa hospital at the same time that Aunt Carol is in a Brooksville hospital. Uncle John has yet again, seemingly escaped death's call. Apparently God is not done with him yet! 22 years ago this dear uncle of mine had a massive heart attack, was dying, and on a list for a heart transplant when God miraculously healed him and extended his life for all of these years. Aunt Carol, whose hardly been ill a day in her life, has now had a stroke, of all things....and both of these significant health breakdowns occured within two days of each other. What a week!

By the way Aunt Carol told me on the phone this morning, that the doctor had told them that if Uncle John had been only 3 minutes later in arriving at the ER on Tuesday, he would not have made it. Three minutes. Wow. That's cutting it close.

God is in all of this, and watching over each one and each detail. He has a good plan...we're trusting. Things are super crazy and a bit stressful right now, and are right on the heels of several tense months with my dad, following his stroke in November, followed by two serious surgeries. But look how blessed we all are. We all are enjoying the great gift of a new day, of being together for how ever many days the God Lord sees fit to allow. We're going to make it! Indeed, we're very blessed.

Please continue to pray for Aunt Carol and Uncle John! Thanks!!

Friday's Update from Zambia

I was excited to get another update from Pastor Jeff Eckart about how things are going for the team in Zambia and am happy to share that with you as well!

Jeff writes:
We've been out of the city of Choma (the place we've been staying, where World Hope HQ is) in the village of Jembo for the last 2 days. The village is where our KCC sponsored orphan trust is. We stayed there the last 2 nights at the home of American missionaries who run the Bible college there and just returned back to Choma about an hour ago.

We had lunch at the village and had the opportunity to eat goat intestines. (I was the only brave soul)

In the afternoon we visited several families with "patients" through WH who are HIV+. One that particularly impacted all of us was a 3 year old girl named Fanitee who lives with her grandparents. Her father abandoned her and her mother died of AIDS. The family lives in a place so remote it is a 5k walk just to get water. We are all changed deeply through these experiences.

Yesterday we were able to participate in another Hope Fest assembly at Jembo High School. There were 400-500 students there and the celebration was focused on sexual purity and the benefits of Reach 4 Life being in the school. We were able to worship together and perform a couple songs as well as meet many many students.

Our American hosts who are based here in Choma and have been with us for our entire trip let us know last night that we were the hardest working group they had ever worked with. They said we have such servants hearts and have been very thoroughly culturally prepared and have behaved very properly in all the situations we have been in.

The Zambians have been so welcoming to us and singing and dancing follows us wherever we go.

Tomorrow we travel to Livingstone and see Victoria Falls, stay the night there, do a game drive (mini safari) on Sunday morning and then board the plane back to the States Sunday afternoon. This may be the last update as I'm not sure I'll have internet access until we land back home.

Everyone is doing very well and our team has bonded and grown like crazy while we are here. The trip has been filled flexibility and changes but it has been very smooth and uneventful as far as anything not going according to plan. Everything has been going very well. We appreciate your prayers!

Jeff & team

New Soil for Planting Greater Faith

It's late; I definitely should be in bed. But I tried it earlier and couldn't shut down my mind. Tomorrow I will post more on what a day Thursday was, but for now suffice it to say, it brought some challenges.

It's been quite a week, really. It started last Saturday when Tim came home from a board meeting with the unwelcome news that one of the pastors at our church, Mark Wilson, a 42 year old man in seemingly great health, had experienced not only one, but two heart attacks. We've seen him hanging on for his health this past week, as he has suffered from congestive heart failure and awaits a triple bypass this coming Monday.

Tuesday my Uncle John, as you know from the previous two posts, experienced a nearly fatal episode of congestive heart failure as well.

My Aunt Carol is having troubles with her vision and is in fact undergoing testing to pinpoint exactly what is the cause of this vision loss...and to answer the question of: can her vision even be saved?

Reading on websites about congestive heart failure has caused me to reflect on the fact that my heart has its own set of problems. Oh, I get along just great from day to day with never a symptom (thankfully!), but I do have a congenital defect, and was hospitalized in December 2006 for endocarditis.

So, what I am saying is: this is all very terrifying to assess the fragile state of a human being's physical health. Just last week three people were seemingly just one week later a 42 year old man is facing open heart surgery, and my aunt and uncle both may be facing major changes to life as they knew it prior to last weekend. Major changes can come so quickly. And worry creeps in...and wants to stay.

But I'm realizing tonight that in these life challenges I'm observing, I have yet another chance to grow greater faith. The seeds for growing new faith have been planted by these events that have happened due to living in a fallen world. We're not home yet! We live here where sin and death still infect... While I walk down here on this rough and rocky road, I can look up to God and fully trust him in these situations that can look so hopeless to me.

And furthermore, how forgetful I can be of the many times he has brought me through similar situations! God has shown himself to be a Healer time and time and time again. Thank you God! In my own life, I was not even expected to live to be 12 years old, but I've made it (plus 33 years)! I had a heart valve balloon procedure done when I was 24, the youngest patient at that time to have that procedure done here in Grand Rapids, but God used that to bring healing to my heart. God also healed me of a speech defect when I was 7 years old. And most recently God spared my life from death and from potentialy devastating problems with endocarditis. I am thankful for his healing touch on my life.

So I am digging deep, and planting these new seeds in the soil, expecting God to do great things as I trust him in each circumstance. Whether I see it or feel it, or not, still I am confident that new faith is going to grow. Because down deep I know that God is good - all the time - and all the time - God is good. And I can trust Him. That's the bottom line.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Uncle Update

It appears that my Uncle John almost went home to heaven yesterday. The doctor told him that if he had not gotten to the Emergency Room when he did, he would not have made it. So we are grateful beyond what words can say that my uncle is still with us. He is weary and still needs prayers for the fluid to keep leaving his heart and lung area, but reports from family and friends who have been with him today are that he is doing much better.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Prayers Needed for Uncle John

My dad's younger brother, John Davis, dear beloved uncle of mine, needs your prayers. He is in ICU at a Tampa Florida hospital tonight with congestive heart failure. God has touched this man many times before with a physical healing and I am praying that he will do so again. My Uncle John is an absolutely wonderful man and he is like a second father to me. Thanks for praying for him.

Tuesday's Update From Zambia

We've heard from Zambia today! Please see the email below from Pastor Jeff updating everyone on what's happening in Zambia.
After reading this letter my eyes are filled with tears and my heart is thankful, because I can tell that this trip is without a doubt making just as much impact on Tyler and the others on the team as it did on Tim and me as we were there last year. I have to agree with what Jeff said in his email that the worship there is one of the things that impacted me the most....indeed, unlike anything I had previously experienced. The people who have nothing....worship God with their everything!
Everyone needs to go on a trip like this if given the opportunity!

Here's the update from Pastor Jeff:

Hey there,

Still no phone access. Micah arrives tomorrow and he has a phone.

Things are really good. Everything has been smooth and World Hope has been great to work with.

We visited some AIDS patients yesterday and were able to dialogue with them and ask them questions. It was very powerful. When we reflected last night as a team each person powerfully saw God at work on this trip. I can see each student grappling with how God is speaking to them individually. Today we held a school rally and worked with Reach 4 Life at a girls school. There were 900 students packed in this chapel. We did 3 songs, a skit, and I spoke. Many students came forward and God moved so powerfully. When they worshipped it was unlike anything we've ever experienced. They sang so loud we could hardly hear. Quite amazing.

Our students are serving their guts out. World Hope staff has commented to me several times at how much they are impressed with our students and how they are adapting and serving.

Tomorrow we go to Jembo and stay the night there and then do a major event Thursday where Reach 4 Life will be launched in a school there.

I'll keep you posted.

This has been a very powerful trip for all of us.

Monday, June 15, 2009

America to Zambia

Tyler has arrived in Zambia. I know this because Pastor Jeff Eckart, KCC High School pastor and leader of the trip sent a brief email telling us that the group has arrived safe and sound with no glitches. :)

This morning the KCC team met with the local World Hope team and the afternoon was spent shopping and checking out the small town of Choma.

The plans for the next few days, Tuesday through Friday involve participation in some "Hope Fest" and dialoguing events. These will be led by Micah Kephart (check out his website at who is flying to Africa today, arriving tomorrow.

The purpose of these events are to inspire and encourage African young people that they can change things in their country as it pertains to the terrible AIDS epidemic which currently infects 1 out of every 4 Zambians. The team will travel to the villages of Njase and Jembo for these events.

It seems that as I look at the clock almost always I am adding 5 hours, thinking of those in Zambia and what they are doing at this hour. I miss my boy but am so glad he can be there and involved in such great ministry and meeting such tremendously wonderful people!

If I hear more I will update here!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Plane Has Landed...

According to the Flight Tracker at Delta Airlines the flight which Tyler and the rest of the team have been on since last evening has landed! :)
[By the way, I am so grateful for the internet with features that tell you such things....]
So they're now in Johannesburg, South Africa.
As I write this on Saturday at 1:30 pm, it is 7:30 pm there.
The plan is for them to stay overnight at the hotel there at the airport, then tomorrow morning at 11:05 am their time (5:05 am EST), they will board a British Airways plane for a two hour flight to Livingstone, Zambia. From there they'll drive to Choma where they will be staying for most of the coming week, and get settled in to their new surroundings.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Africa Bound....

....Tyler and the team are Africa bound!!!
Here are some photos from the airport here in Grand Rapids as they were getting ready to leave.

His plane flew out of Grand Rapids around 2:30 this afternoon. He'll arrive in Atlanta around 4:30 pm, then leave Atlanta at 8:05 pm this evening and fly overnight and all morning tomorrow to Johannesburg South Africa, where he will arrive around noon EST tomorrow, which will be 5 pm there in Johannesburg.

The team will stay overnight tomorrow (Saturday) night in Johannesburg then have a short flight from Johannesburg, South Africa to Livingstone, Zambia at 11am-1pm on Sunday, their time, which will be 6am-8am EST Sunday morning. Then they will travel by bus to the place they'll be staying for the week, Choma, and then the real adventure will begin!

There are 10 members on the team from KCC (Kentwood Community Church), 6 teens and 4 adult leaders. This is a tremendous opportunity for all of them, and one that Tyler has been planning for and excited about for over a year and a half!

Please keep Tyler and the entire team in your prayers during the time of this trip. He'll be back home on June 22, ten days from now.

Meanwhile, I'll keep the blog updated with what activities they will be involved in, based on the schedule we were given, and any news I hear as they are away.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Graduation Season

Two of my nieces graduated from High School this year.
Here is Ariel with her parents, Dave and Louise.

And here is Roshanah with Tim, Tyler, Emily and me.

Ariel, Shanah and Tyler were born each within 6 months of each other. Ariel first in July 1991, then Shanah in September, and Tyler in January 1992.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


"Every day I will bless You, and I will praise Your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is UNSEARCHABLE."
~Psalm 145:2-3~

Back on June 1st I read this verse in a devotional book....and the word "unsearchable" stood out. In this day of computer technology it would appear that nothing is "unsearchable". Truly, there is nothing that we cannot find out in a matter of seconds at the tips of our fingers on our computer or phone screens.

Do you need to know if there really is a place called Timbuktu? Google it. In less than 20 seconds you will have over 2 million possible sites where you can discover all you needed to know about Timbuktu - and much more. You'll learn that not only is "Timbuktu" a city in western Africa, but it is also a board game, and the name of a Maryland seafood restaurant.

Do you have physical symptoms and want to know what medical condition you may have? Google the symptoms, or simply go do a search on WebMD. Who needs the doctor? We have the internet, we can search this ourselves. And once we know what we have, we can enter a new search for how to treat it and make ourselves well and comfortable once again.

Honestly, is there anything that we cannot find out by searching on the internet? Whenever I don't know something - I go do a search. What power. What a tool. What knowledge we as a human race possess!

Yet, there is at least one thing that we cannot ever gain the answer to.....something that even Google...perhaps we could say 'especially not' Google, or Yahoo, or Wikipedia, or anything else!... will not ever fully comprehend or express, and that unsearchable thing is: How Great God Is!

The verse above states it very well..."his greatness is unsearchable"; and as another translation puts it "His greatness no one can fathom."

The first few verses of Psalm 139 say it this way:
"O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord.
You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain."

Even, though we will not ever be fully able to grasp or describe the greatness of God, the best place to even begin to get a gain an understanding of His greatness is to do the search by opening up the Bible, and learning more about Him.
Jeremiah 29:13 says, "You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart."

And then to take the next step of applying the power he offers us into our daily lives. That also allows us to have a window into HOW GREAT he is, despite our human weaknesses and frailties.
As 2 Corinthians 12:9 states, "He has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.' Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me."

Romans 11:33 "Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How UNESARCHABLE are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!"

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

And the report on speech therapy is....

...good news! He likes it. Dad likes his new therapist, Dee. Their personalities 'clicked' at the initial meeting last week. Beyond the initial consultation not much interaction has happened yet, but so far, it's positive news. He'll be going back!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Married for 59 Years...

Happy Anniversary today to my mom and dad, Paul and Ruby Davis! On June 2, 1950, Mom and Dad were married in Battle Creek, Michigan! Fifty-nine years is a long time! Congratulations!!! God has certainly been good to them...together after all these years!

Here are the lyrics to a song that I wrote for them, nine years ago for the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary. It sort of tells 'their story'.

A little girl from Oklahoma
Moved to Michigan.
Mom and Pop and brother loved her
She meant the world to them.
Grew into a fine young lady,
precious ruby rare.
Charming grace, radiant beauty,
Gentle spirit beyond compare.

A little boy, son of a minister
in a West Virginia home
With sister Nel and brother John
Life was filled with so much fun.
Music called him, and he answered;
Moved to Michigan.
Went to study, met a beauty;
Won her heart and she won his.

Two hearts, One love
Carried them through the years
Down life's road together
In storms and sunny weather;
God's love has guided these two hearts.

A travel trailer for a home,
So many miles they roamed.
One week here, another there,
Sung the gospel everywhere.
Some years later, came a daughter,
Made a family.
Three hearts to love, three songs to sing;
How they made God's praises ring.

Year have changed things
But still remaining
Are golden memories.
The best is yet to come, they say
"Heaven will be mine someday"
Where God leads them, they still follow
Blessings overflow!
How many souls they've led to Jesus
Only Heaven knows.

Two hearts, One love
Carried them through the years
Down life's road together
In storms and sunny weather;
God's love has guided these two hearts.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Countdown to Africa.....11 days....

No, I'm not going, but I wish I were! However, my son, Tyler, is going! He and nine others, mostly teens, from our church (Kentwood Community Church) are going to Zambia for a week of missions work. The dates of their trip are June 12-22.

It's going to be an incredible, life-changing experience for them all, I am sure!!! Tim and I went in April 2008 to the same area of Zambia where they will be going, and I can truly say that the people they will meet, the scenery they will see...the things their hearts will's indescribable.

In addition to getting my son all ready for international travel, I am getting fifteen various musical instruments ready to send as gifts from our church to the Choma Music Academy, a music academy in a small Zambian city where children can learn musical skills. Our KCC teens will take these instruments with them and deliver them personally to the children at the academy.

The photo above shows some of the children who attend the academy, which is led by Richman Syabambba, who is pictured in the photo below along with his wife Regina. The Syabambbas became dear friends to Tim and me when we met them in 2008. Richman is an amazingly gifted musician himself and is doing great things in Zambia!

So, as you can tell, Zambia, Africa is on our minds and hearts a lot these days as we prepare for Tyler's trip. It is exciting!
I'll be sure to update you as the trip takes place and especially after Tyler and the group return!