‘God brought me through’

by Linda Foxworth ’92

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Linda (Loiseau) Foxworth lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband, Derrick, where she is the Rocky Mountain Regional Oncology Manager for Exact Sciences.

There are three distinct times in my life when I should have been dead, except for the grace of God. The first time was in a near plane crash when I was 10 years old. The second time was when I was a student at Walla Walla University.

My first year at WWU felt miserable. I couldn’t believe my parents just dropped me off in the desert with not a lot of people who looked like me or had similar interests to me. “Just try one more quarter,” begged my dad, who is a WWU alumnus. After winter break I didn’t want to go back, and my parents said, “If after this quarter you don’t like it, you can transfer.”

During that next quarter my girlfriend said, “Let’s borrow our friend’s beater car and run down to Loma Linda.” Being adventurous and naive, I said, “Sure.” While there, we went to a concert at La Sierra University and heard a student-initiated gospel choir, and we thought, “We can do this when we go back to Walla Walla.” That is how we started the LIBERTY gospel choir, which was made up of anyone who wanted to sing gospel music. We thought this would be a “Black choir,” but it was definitely multicultural—made up of Black people, White people, Asian people, Hispanic people, and more. My friend left WWU after one quarter, but the Lord blessed me to continue leading the group. The choir traveled throughout the Pacific Northwest recruiting other students to attend WWU. I developed friendships with many different people merely because we performed in the gospel choir together. I had found my passion, and I continued my education at WWU. I also sang in other groups, played percussion in the college band, and furthered my piano skills.

I was part of the Ski Club at WWU, and one day every sign was telling me not to go skiing that day. I missed the bus; my car wouldn’t start; and my friend’s car battery died. But we got a jump and headed to the slopes. We had almost made it to the lodge when the car skidded off the road, rolled down an embankment, and was stopped by a tree just before we would have rolled into a creek. That was the second time I should have been dead. We crawled out the front windshield with just a few scratches. At my piano lesson later that week my teacher told me she had been skiing and had seen the most horrific car being excavated along the road, and she knew the people in that car were killed because the roof was smashed to the floor. She described the car, and it was the one we had crashed. I don’t know how we walked away other than God had a plan for my life.

After graduating from WWU with a bachelor of science in nursing degree, I joined the music ministry team at Sharon church in Portland, Oregon, where I have served on and off as the minister of music for the past 25+ years. One of the other local churches—Your Bible Speaks—that had sprung out of Sharon had been searching for ways to unite the two churches. We decided to do a joint musical workshop to celebrate Black History Month. We titled the workshop Lift Every Voice—LEV for short. We taught various genres of black music to the choir during the week and then performed on Saturday evening. LEV unified those two churches.

After the success of the first LEV concert, we thought, “Why not unify our Christian body of believers in Oregon by doing the same thing with more churches.” LEV is now an annual event in Portland, and the choir has grown to more than 60 various interfaith churches and organizations. I serve as the coordinator. It’s such a blessing to minister through music. In 2021 we had a virtual event showing “The Best of LEV” from the past 20 years.

The third time I had a brush with death was in 2014, after an LEV concert, I was taken to the hospital with a severe fever and sepsis. I was rushed in for emergency surgery with blood levels that were extremely dangerous. Once again, God brought me through.

My spiritual journey and love for music grew right there in College Place, Washington. I know God has spared my life on several occasions, so I have become open to what He has in store for me. Music has been my way to witness and give back to Him for the numerous times He’s spared my life knowingly and unknowingly.

Posted April 5, 2021

Lift Every Voice choir of approximately 80 people with hands in the air
Foxworth's work with the Lift Every Voice choir has included bringing together individuals from more than 60 interfaith churches.
Linda Foxworth wearing black dress with large light blue flower.
Linda (Loiseau) Foxworth started the LIBERTY gospel choir with a friend when they were students at WWU.

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