About the Ouachita Speaker Series

The Ouachita Speaker Series was launched September 2012, in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas.  It is presented in conjunction with the Ponce de Leon Center, the Village’s cultural center. 

The creation of the Ouachita Speaker Series was inspired by other communities across the country that offer speaker series as open, thought-provoking forums for intellectual and educational enrichment, and the exchange of ideas.  Distinguished speakers covering an exciting range of topics are invited to share their knowledge and observations, introduce new ideas, and inspire conversation. 

Named in honor of Hot Springs Village’s mountainous geographic location, the Ouachita Speaker Series is held appropriately in the Ouachita Activities Building at 1101 DeSoto Boulevard.  The public is invited to attend. 

The project is envisioned as a way to bring inspiring and stimulating guest speakers to Hot Springs Village several times a year to complement the outstanding musical and theatrical performances offered throughout the year. 

Ouachita Speaker Series is held at the Ouachita Activities Building, at Ponce de Leon Center (next to the Woodlands Auditorium), at 1101 Desoto Boulevard, in Hot Springs Village. 

Tickets are available online at www.hsvticketsales.com or at the Ponce de Leon Center office, 1101 DeSoto Boulevard, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

The Ouachita Speaker Series is a proud member of the Hot Springs Village Arts Council and the Hot Springs Village Area Chamber of Commerce. 


  • Ouachita Speaker Series. Fall 2015 Ouachita Speaker Series - 2015 Fall scheduleNow in its fourth year in Hot Springs Village, the Ouachita Speaker Series has announced its 2015 fall session with three fascinating speakers. All ...
    Posted Sep 27, 2015, 5:44 PM by Susan Elderton
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About Lu Holwerda

Program Title: Commitment, Faith and Courage

Lu Holwerda eagerly shares the ZAMZAM story in the second session of the Ouachita Speaker Series, on Thursday, October 15, at 7 p.m.

The ZAMZAM was a passenger ship, which sailed from New York on March 20, 1941, bound for Africa. Aboard that ship were Lillian Danielson and her six children. They were excited to be traveling to join their Dad, Pastor Danielson, who was already serving as a missionary in Tanzania. He had left his family in Kansas the previous July because the need for missionaries in Africa was so great!

Shortly before dawn on April 17, 1941, the ZAMZAM was attacked and sunk by the Tamesis, a German Raider. The peaceful journey was instantly turned into a nightmare, but Mama Danielson encouraged and calmed her children with “Little kiddies, be brave. Remember, Jesus loves you just like Mama and Daddy do!” Mama’s faith and courage never wavered as she chided her children toward their lifeboat, spoke softly to them as this lifeboat sank, protected and prayed with them as they were plucked from the water and made prisoners by the German Raider captain and crew. She nurtured them with constant love for the rest of their lives. Pastor and Mrs. Danielson’s tombstone at the Lindsborg, Kansas, cemetery is a testimony to this faith and courage as it boldly states, “Saved to Serve”!

During the past seventy-four years, thousands have been inspired by the ZAMZAM story. Books and materials have always been geared toward adults until Holwerda felt compelled to write “Faith in the Middle.” She wrote it in the first person - for children. Relying on her years of teaching elementary school, she was able to capture the dynamics of suspense, excitement, danger and family love and faith. Hearing her tell the ZAMZAM story makes the entire adventure come alive.

Holwerda is well-known as a public speaker. She passionately tells the ZAMZAM story with animation and excitement because she feels it is God’s story. She knows that God’s protective hand and her Mother’s faith and courage were major factors in the survival of the whole family. And it cannot be denied that the kindness of the German crew aboard the Prison Ship helped ease the terrible act of war which had been committed. It is a fascinating story!  

 Holwerda and her husband, Jim, have been residents of Hot Springs Village since 1999. They both are quick to say that moving to the Village was the best decision they’ve made, since their marriage, soon fifty-seven years ago.

Even though Pastor Elmer and Lillian Danielson both died in the 1990’s, their legacy of faith lives on.  Mrs. Danielson, as well as all of the six children, are graduates of Bethany College, Lindsborg, Kansas. Furthermore, an Honorary Doctor’s Degree of Divinity was bestowed on Pastor Danielson from Bethany. The six children are all still living.