At seventy-six years of age, Barbara Twombley is finding God using her in brand new ways.
Barbara and her husband, Don, joined the Adventist church in the early 1970s. “My husband was an elder and a teacher and did visiting in our local church,” Barbara recalls. “I hung around the edges and took care of the family and did whatever I could to help out. When Don died in 2009, I thought to myself, ‘I’m numb, I’m dumb, I have nothing else.’ A few years ago I had both knees replaced and I thought, ‘There is more to life. I’ve got to do something.’”
Barbara’s desire to serve has led her to a number of widows and others in need of a helping hand and listening ear. It began when her local church, the Newport News, Virginia Seventh-day Adventist company, gave her the name of an elderly woman who had requested Bible studies. “She had a daughter taking care of her, in her thirties,” Barbara remembers. “I visited her a lot, and we kept going to see her because she was so sick. She wanted to join the church but was too weak for baptism, so one Sabbath afternoon a few of us went to her apartment and got her into the church on profession of faith. When she passed away we started assisting her daughter who needed help. We kept ministering to her, including helping her find a job. Now I pick her up every week and take her to church.”
From helping an elderly next-door neighbor maintain her independence to reading the Bible to an 88-year-old with macular degeneration, Barbara keeps busy serving God through serving others.
“After my husband passed away the congregation he had helped start was floundering,” Barbara recalls. “The pastor came up to me and said, `I need you to be an elder.’ I recognized the need for leadership and felt the call, but I said, `I don’t want to speak.’ They said, `You don’t have to’—though this past week I did. It was campmeeting and everybody was gone, so they promised me nobody would be there. We had about 25 in attendance.
“My calling is to nurture and take care of people,” Barbara says. “I look around to see who needs help, who needs a phone call, who needs visiting. I don’t spend money as such–I just help people. I just try to be there and comfort and just give encouragement. What I’ve recognized is that even when you have families you’re alone. It takes someone to recognize, ‘You’re a person. You have a life. We’re not going to dump you. You’re still valuable. You’re still worth something.’
“I just want to serve,” Barbara says. “This is the last chapter of my life, and I want to make it count. I want to make this chapter a chapter of service.”