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Summer 2009 Rapport—web only content:
What Do These Stones Mean?

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by Billie Davis

Billie Davis, Ed.D., (long-time AGTS adjunct professor) has more than 60 years experience as a writer, missionary and educator. At the age of 81 she still teaches, connecting well with every generation. Her dedication to learning and desire to keep current is evident in her time spent researching online and reading magazines like The Humorist Magazine, The New Yorker, The Atlantic and even Seventeen Magazine at the local Barns and Noble bookstore. Her autobiographical story, “I Was a Hobo Kid” has appeared in the Saturday Evening Post, Readers Digest and numerous anthologies. The National Education Association produced the film, A Desk for Billie, based on her life.


As the Israelites approached the Jordan river on their way to the promised land, God performed one of the epic miracles of the Old Testament. He caused the water separate, allowing the entire nation to cross on dry ground. The Lord told the Israelites to build a monument out of stones from the river bottom. “In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them...” (Joshua 4:6-7)

God is concerned with perpetuation from one generation to another. The church is responsible to teach, and thereby disciple, all generations.

As a child of unchurched migrant parents, I was peddling baskets on the edge of our camp and followed some children into a Sunday School class. I was captivated by the surroundings and teachings. There I found my life’s calling. I started helping a Sunday School teacher when I was 13. At the age of 19, I came to the Gospel Publishing House in Springfield, Mo., to work in the Sunday School Department.

My husband, George (M.A. 1981), and I dedicated our lives to Christian education. We traveled the country conducting teaching seminars and Bible camps. As missionaries we established and supported teaching ministries in every part of Latin America. We worked in Europe and Japan, and wrote books that have been translated into many languages.

In my early days Sunday School was a place of togetherness as the congregation met for the “opening service” before going to classes. I recognize cultural changes that cause shifts in the way Christian education is offered and try to build bridges, encouraging churches not to abandon the God-given mandate to teach and disciple all age groups. I want the generations to respect each other and try to help the older generation to see the value of its “stones” and find ways to answer younger generations who are prone to ask, “What do they mean?”

Updated: Tuesday, August 11, 2009 12:42 PM

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