Southern Gospel Times Feature Article

Living the Dream - David East


There are people that you meet who leave a lasting impression on you. One such lady in my life was Donnita Heard, a Godly woman who loved being a preacher’s wife and a mother to eight children and one stepchild. Donnita was a member of that special type of people who are always encouraging and lifting others up. The first time I met her, she was going through the house singing. She always had a song on her heart, even through difficult times, and you couldn’t be in a bad mood after you talked with her.

Donnita was married to Rev. Bill Heard, a man we all called, “The Elder”. The Elder was a fun-loving, spirited gentleman who could charm the socks off anyone he met. They were together for 50 years, and they were the quintessential ministering couple. Their marriage produced four ministers who have won countless souls to the Lord, as did Bill and Donnita.

Several years ago, I preached a revival at Bill and Donnita’s home church in Tarkio, Missouri and my wife and I spent a week with them in their home. I can truthfully say it was one of the most fun revivals I have been in, and spending time with them was a treasure I’ll never forget. That week, we joked, kidded and had a great deal of fun playing practical jokes on my wife, Bobbie. My time with them really revived my spirit.

I chose to write about Donnita, not only because of how much she meant to me, but because she was a shining example of how to face the world. No matter what was going on, she praised the Lord continually. She smiled constantly. And, oh, how I loved to hear her sing! Early on in her life, she learned that God inhabits the praises of His people, and she took great advantage of that. Donnita was a praying woman who took everything to God and left it there.

Today, she is walking in Heaven with her loving husband. She’s not having trouble breathing, and she’s not feeling bad anymore. She is seeing things she believed and hoped for all her life. Her family is close and they will miss her terribly, but they have the hope of seeing her again.

In this world of constant political bickering, protesting, fighting, and the dark outlook of most news we receive from the media, the world could use more Donnitas and Bill Heards. Imagine if we could face all these things with a praise to the Lord, either in song or in deed.

I encourage you today to be the Donnita in your corner of the world. Sing, pray, praise, and laugh, all the while shining His light to a dark and scary world. That is the true mark of a believing Christian, and something we should all strive for.

Bless others, and God will bless you!

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David East About David East
David East is an award-winning Singer, Musician, Songwriter, Teacher, and Evangelist who developed his love for music at the age of 8, singing at church and school functions. David travels the country singing and preaching. You can find out more about David at

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