his past Sunday evening, December 11, a very bright light that had shone for only 66 years expired. It was her birthday, but it was also the last day she was to be with us. It was as if a star had winked out. At least, that’s how my wife put it. I was simply at a loss for words.
My memories of Mrs. Barb include the fact that she was the only person I ever knew who actually looked stylish in an AWANA uniform. You could knock on the front door of their house at any time of the day or night and the whole family (including all 8 kids) would come out to sit and talk with you as if they had nothing else to do in the whole world except devote all their attention to you. On those unexpected, crazy-hour visits their house was always in perfect condition. It seemed unnaturaland I believe it was. The Barb home was a Spirit-filled home.
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.
It began at the headBob Barba quiet and unassuming man, but a man who exuded character and strength. And he has continued to display that character and strength over the past six years as his wife, Joan, suffered with dementia.
All of us know adults who try to manipulate teenagers. They sit and watch, ready to pounce with venomous intensity. But few people knew of such a woman as Joan Barb. She sat and watched the teenagers. She looked at the worthless collection of angst, hormones, and dissatisfaction and saw through all of that to the diamonds that were buried down deep inside. Once she spotted the diamond, she made her moveencouraging each teenager to pour all of their effort into those areas of good that lay buried and often dormant beneath the ugly surface.
Joan Barb was a true encourager and she impacted more people’s lives than can be counted.
She left behind 8 wonderful children and almost 20 grandchildren... and a husband who loved her every step of the way.
Yes, it’s true. A star has winked out. But perhaps that’s because stars don’t belong here on earth. They belong in heaven, where Joan Barb is nowshining brightly as she enjoys the company of the one she loved more than her grandchildren, more than her children, even more than her husbandJesus Christ. She had to leave us because Jesus really wanted her to be with him. He’ll bring us along one of these days too. And I hope that when I go I will leave this earth with the grace with which Joan Barb left this mundane place to be with the divine.
Goodbye, our dear friend, Joan. We love you and we will miss you.