Allard leads Boot Camp
Barbara Allard was born in Porterville in 1942 to parents who were farmworkers. During World War II, they moved to Los Angeles to work in factory jobs. She had four sisters and one brother. She was not raised in a Christian home, but occasionally went to church with neighbors.
She was 35 years old when she accepted Christ as her Savior. “God broke my heart, and I was truly saved. I knew it wasn’t because of anything I had done.” At that time, her prayer was that God would use her to help other women who were struggling with the same things she had gone through.
After she accepted Christ, the pastor of the church which she and her husband, Larry Allard, attended asked her to teach some of the older women. When Barbara responded that she couldn’t teach the Bible, he told her to study all week and then tell the women everything she had learned. She did that and eventually went through the entire Bible. Later, the Lord opened the door for her to direct women’s ministries for the church, an opportunity she loved until the family relocated in Porterville.
A few years ago, she started a nondenominational Bible study in Porterville with a twofold purpose: to study the Bible and to love people. At this time of her life, she sees her greatest responsibility is to mentor younger women. She desires to prepare others to take on her teaching commitment so that when she is no longer able to teach they can carry on the ministry. “If you are stringing jewels of truth around their necks, they will learn to love God’s word.”
The Allards have three children — Gerri, Martin, who is deceased, and Rob. Gerri was born a special-needs child. “Through Gerri I learned the importance of mercy and grace when dealing with people. Prior to having her, I was always task-driven and sometimes that would even come ahead of people.”
Their second child, Martin, was hit by a car and died when he was 7 years old. Because of this tragedy, she experienced God’s great comfort, and as God strengthened her, she has been able to comfort others who have lost children.
Barbara was pregnant with their third baby when the accident happened. Rob was born prematurely. They worried about losing him too. “I learned to hold Rob tightly enough to train him, but loosely enough to let him be the person God wants him to be.”
Last year’s Tulare County Christian Women’s Conference came about after Barbara attended a conference in Bakersfield where local women were the main teachers. She had a vision of doing the same thing in our community, but waited for a long period of time before it actually happened. Barbara and the others who planned the Battle for the Family conference were thrilled with the outcome. All of the speakers were women involved in her Community Bible Study.
Her life’s verse is Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Barbara believes that “if anything good is seen it is because of Christ in me. Just remember Moses and the burning bush. The bush God chose wasn’t important. It was His presence which made the spot holy ground. God can use any old twig!”
Thank you, Barbara, for serving the Lord so faithfully all of these years. You are an inspiration and encouragement to the women in our community.
More information will be coming about the second annual conference, Boot Camp for the Battle, which will be held in March at Grand Avenue United Methodist Church.
Judy Lowery lives in Springville. The Good News column appears regularly in The Recorder. You can read more at Judy’s blog, goodnewswithjudy.blogspot.com.